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Why Chris Como was a great choice for Tiger Woods

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Well here we go again… Tiger Woods’ new swing coach has been announced and the speculation is in full force. Will Chris Como help Tiger? Will he help Tiger break Jack’s record? How will he compare to his other teachers? Blah blah blah.

First of all, I want to say how much I appreciate what Butch Harmon, Hank Haney and Sean Foley did for Tiger’s swing and knowledge of the game because it was fun to watch. Each teacher was presented with an interesting set of variables to contend with and a media circus unlike anything previous teachers have faced to date. Butch took Tiger to heights only Bobby Jones and Nicklaus had known. Hank refined an age-old issue of “getting stuck” that Tiger consistently complained of during Butch’s tenure and Sean helped Tiger to understand more about the swing than ever before. So who was right? They all were!

You have to remember that Tiger has always been inquisitive and wanted to learn more and more, so each teacher had different tasks in order to appease Tiger. Sean will be forever bashed for making Tiger too technical, but was that really the case? Maybe it was Tiger who was too interested in the mechanics and the “new” ball-flight laws and if Sean did not give him the information he wanted then Tiger would have found it elsewhere. As we in the teaching world all know, the player is the boss!

Now that Tiger has moved on to Chris Como, there are a few questions that everyone is asking. Will Como’s age, 37, and lack of experience – at least compared to Butch, Hank and Sean — affect his ability to coach Tiger? Is Como too technical for Woods?

I know Chris, his background and his personality, so I think I can offer a pretty good guess as to what will happen in the future. So here are my reasons why Chris and Tiger will be successful.

  • Chris is smart and has studied under some of the best teachers in the business.

Chris’ tutelage under legendary instructors Hank Haney, Mac O’Grady and Mike Adams — three people I have also learned and studied under – will serve him well with Tiger. They are some of the brightest minds in the golf instruction world and have made it their job to learn as much as they can about what it is that they do. Of course they have their detractors, but who doesn’t? He is armed with a ton of practical information in order to handle any mechanical issue Tiger may have.

  • Chris’ understanding of biomechanics and his study under Sasho MacKenzie. 

In the golf teaching world, Sasho MacKenzie is the man. He is the Head of Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University, and his research in kinetics and ground reaction forces has been revolutionary to our understanding of how the body works during the golf swing. His research has helped us to learn more about how we twist and turn and move weight during the golf swing.  We now know more about lateral, rotary and vertical motion in the lower body through his work with ground reaction forces.  I think this is one of Tiger’s issues and always has been in my opinion. His lower body motion causes a ton of issues with how his upper torso and arms move on the downswing. It will be interesting to see how his balance and lower body action changes during his time with Chris preaching Sasho’s work.

  • Chris’ friends.

Chris has a great coterie of friends in the golf instructional and educational world, more so than most Tour teachers to date. This is because at a young age he spent time with the best teachers and learned from them. He has never been egocentric or a jerk to be around and for this reason I feel that if he ever needs help or an extra opinion on Tiger, he WON’T be afraid to ask his friends. At times, we as teachers all need another set of eyes — a sounding board, if you will. Chris will take advantage of his contacts within the industry.

  • Tiger is the best player in the world.

Let’s face it: Tiger has more talent than any golfer to date and if he can just make a few changes he will be right back on track. It’s easy to kick him while he’s been injured etc., but a refocused Tiger is a scary one if he sees some quick success! I have no doubts it will come sooner than everyone believes.

The last thing I will say is good luck Chris, enjoy the ride — don’t let the media get you down. If things don’t go well at first, remember that you are one of the best in the world at what you do. I’ll be watching!

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Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction and Business Development at Punta Mita, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (www.puntamita.com) He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and has been honored as a Golf Digest Best Teacher and a Golf Tips Top-25 Instructor. Tom is also a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 15 people in the world. Punta Mita is a 1500 acre Golf and Beach Resort located just 45 minuted from Puerto Vallarta on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the Bay of Banderas on three sides. Amenities include two Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses- with 14 holes directly on the water, a Golf Academy, four private Beach Clubs, a Four Seasons Hotel, a St. Regis Hotel, as well as, multiple private Villas and Homesites available. For more information regarding Punta Mita, golf outings, golf schools and private lessons, please email: tom.stickney@puntamita.com

97 Comments

97 Comments

  1. Steve Wozeniak

    Feb 4, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Chris is a horrible choice for Tiger and you are seeing this already…….There are quite a few people that “claim” to be masters of biomechanics that have NO CLUE how to relate it to the golf swing. You can certainly see this in the guys last “tips” in golf digest……wow…..
    Also he says I am getting Tiger back to his old swing, well it would take two days for someone to do this, his swing sucks now and there is no end to it with this guy, sorry Tiger, try again…..

    Steve Wozeniak 425 533 4711

  2. goodatgolfblog

    Dec 4, 2014 at 5:04 am

    It’s really exciting to see Tiger getting back into the game.
    Hopefully Como will be the right choice to help him bounce back from his uneventfull season of 2014.

    I just released a blogpost discussing Chris Como.
    Check it out if you’ve got the time and let me know what you think:
    http://www.good-at-golf.com/you-dont-have-to-be-tiger-woods-to-learn-from-chris-como/

  3. Dpavs

    Dec 2, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Yawn… less news worthy every year… the clock is ticking.

  4. mark d

    Dec 1, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Thanks, Tom. Always go for your articles on GolfWRX. As for Tiger… wow, short memories, at least from the comments. Dude blistered everybody for a decade, amassed a record that absolutely blows every modern player out of the water. Is Rory or whomever the “next Tiger?” I dunno. Show me a stretch of several years when anybody wins like Tiger did and we’ll talk.

    Meanwhile, I’m with Bradley. Mechanics can only take you so far, and he’s had the best in the business and he still ain’t happy.

  5. Rus

    Nov 30, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Tiger is a lightening rod period! The haters will continue and the lovers’ will still love. I be live in karma – If Eldrick misses the flag on 15 @ Augusta the major drought ends and folks are looking at him as a factor. Instead he had no good-will with the Golf Gods and we all saw the outcome.
    I have never met Chris Como having lived in Dallas for 6 years. I am intrigued to see what and how he can influence what Tiger does on/ off the course.
    I refuse to join the Rory – Tiger Debate – My only point is the body of work is the measurement of success or failure. When Tiger is long gone and Rory is in his twilight will he surpass all of the Tiger benchmarks of an extremely successful career.
    As always great article Tom… Keep writing and I’ll keep reading.

  6. Frank "FREE-RELEASE" Drollinger

    Nov 30, 2014 at 8:47 am

    We all know that TW – I like him – has a very long story of injuries. He changed his instructors because of the injuries. Also TW said that he do not know “if it work or not”. All former instructors are teaching Dys-Balance and no 3-D Coordinates. TW´s Center of Gravity moves to the left to the right and up and down. This blocks his muscles and joints and is the key reason why he is not able to repeat ball hits. His DA and GIR are “poor”. Or in other words. Tiger has space and the quality!!!! to improve this #´s more than 25%. That would be the key precondition to win. Additional TW need to minimze shear and torsion force. Both bio-key-points would be possible for TW. It has nothing to do with the point working with Butch, Hank, Sean or Chris. It is the Dys-Balance Swing System TW should change. Because at the end of the day TW´s health allows him to be competitve or not. TW had more than 6 injuries. The possibility to get the next injury grow more than 50%. Golf needs TW. Golf needs a healthy TW.

    • Tom Stickney

      Nov 30, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      Hopefully Chris will use his work with Sasho to address the issues you’ve brought up.

  7. Bradley

    Nov 30, 2014 at 1:07 am

    Rather than get involved in a discussion of what’s above, I’ll just post my thoughts from the day after the news was announced based on my 30+ years teaching experience.

    The golf world is abuzz with the news that Tiger Woods, who announced a few weeks ago he was moving forward in 2015 on his own without a swing coach, yesterday announced he has hired Chris Como as his “swing consultant.” I’ve been asked to weigh in with my thoughts.

    Not much is known about Como other than he is another scientist in the game who specializes in biomechanics. I will only offer this. I’m a firm believer that the mind is the greatest invention ever and your mind can will you to produce the greatest results ever when it comes to sports. When the round is played, the mind weaves you through the ups and downs. Your mind harnesses the feel of each motion you create and you repeat learned processes with confidence, harnessing adrenaline, and the only calculations are playing high percentage shots with a vision for the shot at hand. You don’t worry about shots already played. They cannot be changed. A poor shot does not portend another is coming. Every shot is a chance at greatness. When the round is done, the mind NEEDS to replay the good and bad. It needs to cleanse itself and prepare for the next round with conviction in what works and what doesn’t. It’s the ONLY way a player can even attempt to “get in THE ZONE.” That rarefied air of sport where everything is possible; all is on cruise control; you completely dominate the competition.

    Sitting down after a round to analyze specific body movements on a computer screen or even attempting to introduce a physics based model or theory in a round of golf is disastrous at best. It robs the mind of the proper rationalization and reasoning powers you need to move forward by leaps and bounds; not by millimeters or degrees where no such thought to those was made during the action of the sport. Think about it. I’ve yet to see a tour professional jump up and thank Homer Kelly’s The Golfing Machine for all his success or for maintaining a physics formula over those crucial shots when it counted.

    You only have to look at the tour in general to see what’s happening here. Jack, the greatest ever, played by feel. It wasn’t perfect. It just won, and won a lot. Bobby Jones, inside, across the line, over the top did it exactly the same every time and it won. So much so, he retired at age 28. He won by feel. Lord Byron won 11 in a row; a record never to be beaten in our lifetime. All by feel. Norman adopted Jack’s physical and mental approach. It won a lot. He did it by feel even though he was one of the first to introduce the physical training side to golf fitness. Phil has won a lot with Butch and working the “feel” side of the game. Tiger won all of his biggest with Butch and Hank, again emphasizing the feel side of the game. If there was one to become a bit technical it was Hogan, but imo, only as it related to himself BY FEEL! The first noted mechanical player that was entirely over the top was Mac O’Grady. I haven’t found a major victory for him and it seems he retreated as quickly as he appeared; to the shadows to churn out disciples of a mechanical mind unable to learn feel, only formulas.

    Yet we have all these biomechanics, physics based scientists out there now. Why? No clue whatsoever other than the fact it takes a very special talent to learn to teach feel. Rather than work to develop that talent required to become an expert in teaching “feel” it’s much easier to take the “There’s an app for that” approach to teaching golf. Great golf will never be paint by numbers and today’s tour proves it. There is no dominant player anymore. They are all the same. Robots. A career lasts 6 weeks tops.

    In 1986, Jack’s mind willed him back to 1975. The “feel” magically returned on that one Sunday in April. His 6th green jacket. Johnny Miller last won in ’87 and limped away from the tour with the yips. He overcame it in his mind and the hole became a bucket again. Never did he sit staring at computer models. He willed his mind back to that 63 in the US Open. In ’94, he emerged at age 46 also and took them down at Pebble Beach. Norman obliterated the TPC record in ’94 with 264, 24 under par with likely the greatest display of golf ever played. A record likely to never be broken. He did it by feel. The Tiger Slam, four majors in a row, of 2000 was accomplished purely by feel like Bobby Jones. Since then, the majors have been scattered. None since 2008 since he became completely immersed in the physical and biomechanic side of golf; if one can really provide evidence that there is a side for this at all. The records and the numbers do not prove it.

    Mr. Como doesn’t have a stable of winners tearing it up on tour. But as we’ve said before, being in Tiger’s circus demands you speak what he wants to hear. It didn’t used to be this way. I’ll offer an analogy here. Have you ever invested in the stock market? Many billionaires have been created that have the vision, “the feel” for how a company’s success will play out. Take Apple for instance. The largest company in the world now. Ten years ago, thousands of analysts said it was a sell, dead, gone. Why? They looked at charts, stats, tick by tick trades, numbers, numbers, numbers. Every single one of them was wrong. They call them analysts. They tell you a stock isn’t a buy until a chart on a computer says it’s a buy. Tell that to all the guys who bought at $8 when the guys looking at computers and charts couldn’t dump it fast enough. They have no vision just like the scientists in golf. The scientists cannot quantify or measure the zone in golf. It doesn’t fit the model.

    I’ll leave you with this. Tiger wins majors when Tiger plays golf by feel and not by calculations. As soon as he remembers how he did it, he can win majors again. Until then, surrounding yourself with scientists shields you from greatness IMO. Unless the goal is to be great for six weeks. Then he’s got that covered with the rest of them. Here’s the definition of Sports Biomechanics. Good luck with that.

    Sports biomechanics is a quantitative based study and analysis of professional athletes and sports’ activities in general.[1] It can simply be described as the Physics of Sports. In this subfield of biomechanics the laws of mechanics are applied in order to gain a greater understanding of athletic performance through mathematical modeling, computer simulation and measurement. Biomechanics is the study of the structure and function of biological systems by means of the methods of “mechanics.” – which is the branch of physics involving analysis of the actions of forces. Within “mechanics” there are two sub-fields of study: statics, which is the study of systems that are in a state of constant motion either at rest (with no motion) or moving with a constant velocity; and dynamics, which is the study of systems in motion in which acceleration is present, which may involve kinematics (the study of the motion of bodies with respect to time, displacement, velocity, and speed of movement either in a straight line or in a rotary direction) and kinetics (the study of the forces associated with motion, including forces causing motion and forces resulting from motion).

    Go ahead. You’re on the tee. Here’s an extra dozen balls. Hope it’s enough.

    • Tom Stickney

      Nov 30, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      Brad– appreciate the post. Bottom line–feel is the key. I’m hopeful tiger will return to the feel player he once was.

  8. marcel

    Nov 27, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    i have watched Como’s video on the longer drives… and here are my reservations. i play around 15… mostly bad putting – 36yo quite athletic, 5’7″ drives around 280yrd sometimes longer – the longest recorded 393 yards. My coach AAA+ coach always reminded me to stay calm and never change spine angle and high during back swing and ball contact – lots of bucket drills in front of mirror to watch the head moves… chin should never ever drop… or you hit the ground before the ball!. Como on the video emphasize quite a move in right leg which creates lots of height and chin movement up and down – this requires so much more adjustment with hands… well horses for courses

    • Tom Stickney

      Nov 28, 2014 at 12:40 am

      Marcel…if you’re using verticals as tiger does it’s ok to move up and down a touch. But be careful.

    • Jacko

      Nov 28, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      Idiot …zzzz

  9. RG

    Nov 27, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Oh and Tom the only problem with Tigers swing is his tempo. Look at the film from 2013 when he won and even back in 2000, he was so smooth in transition and it looked effortless. Now he snatches it at the top and it looks like hes giving birth in his downswing. My eyeballs feel strained just watching him.

  10. RG

    Nov 27, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    So whats the over under on how long this one lasts?

    • Tom Stickney

      Nov 27, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      It’s not pretty. Hopefully it will last. We’ll see.

  11. dion

    Nov 26, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    everyone get ready for the rory slam at next years us open at chambers bay going to be epic and yes I know he has two so far but the boys at down at agusta better get rorys measurements because the jacket needs to fit when bubba gives it to him

  12. cflow

    Nov 26, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    For all of you Tiger haters, how quickly your brains forget. Just one year ago in the 2013 golf season Tiger won 5 (count them 5) events in just 16 starts with 8 Top 10’s and the second lowest scoring average for the year. 2014 was just another hiccup on his journey. That same year (just 1 year ago) Rory only had 5 top 10’s and ZERO wins. Hell Rory only won 9 events on the PGA in his first 7 years, while Tiger won 29 events in his first 7 years and in one of those years he won 9 events (equal to Rory’s total for those 7 years). Rory is very good but lets check his longevity 10 years from now until we call him great!

    • tom stickney

      Nov 26, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Rory will be one of the greats for sure! I’d love to see him in the Tiger/Jack Major race years from now. He’s a good kid!

    • steve

      Nov 27, 2014 at 9:26 am

      To bad for you that this isn’t early 2000’s. Rory has 4 Majors in 4 years, you think Tiger would trade his last 4 seasons for that? You are comparing 25 year old Tiger to Rory, but it is 39 year old Tiger playing 25 year Rory. I agree with you about Tiger he could be the greatest golfer ever, when you consider his 6 amateur titles in a row. But I live in the NOW and now Tiger is not the Tiger then.

      • Ponjo

        Nov 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm

        Just for the record wins when not a pro don’t count

  13. Nick Bradley

    Nov 26, 2014 at 9:16 am

    A terribly blinkered and bias article.

    • Tom Stickney

      Nov 26, 2014 at 10:36 am

      I have nothing to gain….

    • RP Jacobs II

      Dec 17, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      Nick, with all due respect, of course this is an opinion piece, as 95-96% of articles are, lol. That is not a negative, it’s just a fact. Tom either likes Como or he doesn’t. He either agrees with Tiger’s pick or he doesn’t. He provides corroborative “evidence” to support his opinion. THAT is how I judge an article. The fact that I may or may not agree with Tom is irrelevant. What is relevant is whether or not he supports his opinion with cohesive, grounded, accurate & well articulated thoughts.

      Tom does that, in spades in this and any of the articles of his that I have read. And no, I am not always on the same side of the table as Tom regarding his opinions, with this being one such case, IF Chris Como takes Tiger down the techno path.

      I agree with Bradley’s thoughts and post above 100%. My Teacher, who I was blessed to have had for 40+ years, was Sam Snead’s older Bro, a student, Protégé, Peer & Friend of Tommy Armour and I felt reading Bradley’s post I was back sitting on Pete’s porch listening to him speak of the swing and the game. Look, since the mid-late 50’s, we have had a parade of swing theories & techniques, most of which my teacher referred to as “theories du jour” which, regardless of who was trumpeting them or how they were packaged, the vast, vast, vast majority of them were/are contrived, artificial & UNNECESSARILY COMPLICATED.

      Regarding all of these little techy teachers, I’ll leave ya with one name- Percy Boomer.

      I believe that it was Ecclesiastes that said, “there is nothing new under the sun.”

      As one with graduate degrees in the sciences, one of which is in Physics, I find it amusing when these guys, Teachers and Players alike, start chirpin all of this techno babble as though it’s the key to the kingdom, LMAO. I work daily with surgeons on their “course,” the OR. Tens of thousands of procedures over 28 years and I’ve been with the best of the very best in the world, and unfortunately I’ve been with some that I wouldn’t let put a Band-Aid on a bee sting.

      One thing I know sure as I know my name, DOB & SS#, and that is that when one is performing at their very best, their left side brain is dead and they are operating/playing off of muscle memory and visualization of the perfect procedure/outcome/shot.

      So, as Bradley stated above, and I don’t believe that Tom has disagreed with, Tiger has to rid his mind of all this techno garbage, and get back to the swing that he can produce without a single thought, just a vision on his mind’s “movie screen,” especially under pressure & when s*** hits the fan.

      And Nick, as your post would be a textbook definition of “blinkered,” where do you differ from Tom’s views & thoughts?

      It’s like I tell my people-

      That’s fine if you disagree with me, I’m good with that, however, don’t just tell me that I am wrong-

      Tell me, show me the better/right way-

      Tom, nice article!

      Stay well my Friend & the Very Best to You & Yours this Holiday Season 🙂

      Golfingly Yours,
      Richard

  14. David

    Nov 26, 2014 at 5:00 am

    “Let’s face it: Tiger has more talent than any golfer to date and if he can just make a few changes he will be right back on track. It’s easy to kick him while he’s been injured etc., but a refocused Tiger is a scary one if he sees some quick success! I have no doubts it will come sooner than everyone believes.”

    Talent than any golfer to date? Let’s compare McIlroy to Woods’ game shall we?

    McIlroy is:

    Longer
    Straighter
    Better at ball striking
    Equally as good with a wedge
    Unreal iron player

    Woods is:

    Erratic at everything

    Now let’s consider putting. Woods is a better putter than Rory. Sorry, he was a decade ago. Now McIlroy is a better putter than Woods and what made Woods so great was his mental strength rather than his admittedly formerly fantastic game.

    You can teach him the swing again, but without the mental game he had he’s done for. And you can’t teach that.

    • Ryan

      Nov 26, 2014 at 8:58 am

      David. Out of your mind.. Look at their records.
      Woods = Legendary
      McIlroy = To be determined

      • WillyTwoBalls

        Nov 26, 2014 at 10:05 am

        Tiger’s legacy is way greater than Rory’s no doubt, but Tiger’s legacy won’t beat Rory on the course next season, and right now Rory looks like the biggest roadblock for Tiger in eclipsing Jack’s record.

        • Tom Stickney

          Nov 26, 2014 at 10:40 am

          We’ll see. Be fun to watch.

        • TheFightingEdFioris

          Nov 26, 2014 at 12:17 pm

          Oh, how quickly we forget Rory’s 2013… I’m rooting for the two of them to split majors next year. But let us not forget that Rory’s best year was last year when he won two majors and only two other tournaments (nothing to blink at, I know), while Tiger has had at least three years better than that. What a time to be a golf fan!

          • Tom Stickney

            Nov 26, 2014 at 12:23 pm

            Ed- love to see that! 🙂

          • David

            Nov 27, 2014 at 2:51 am

            He does play a lighter schedule than when Woods was playing regularly though, he also has had something daft like top 10 in every tournament aside from one this season which is insane. He and Woods, at their respective ages, are fairly equal except for ‘normal’ wins, however the field is way better than when Woods was dominating in fairness, Rory won’t win most weeks like Woods.

            In terms of people saying i’m ‘out of my mind’, how? He is longer, straighter and an all round better player these days, he’s the best player on the planet. To suggest otherwise would be madness.

            Also Rory had a bad year, granted, but he’s not an emotionless robot like Woods is, he’s unlikely to be mentally broken in the future ala Woods now due to the experiences he had then. And considering he had that awful year he’s still number 1 and only a few months away from getting a shot at the career grand slam at 25 years old.

            I enjoyed Woods in his prime but now see a bitter, broken man. It’s just sad, and those who are so alarmingly biased to him are just insane.

    • Knobbywood

      Nov 26, 2014 at 10:05 am

      Tiger woods holds the record for PGA tour season with the lowest ever scoring average at around 67… End of discussion

      • tom stickney

        Nov 27, 2014 at 2:20 pm

        David– I would agree that Tiger’s attitude on and off the course over the years in general isn’t the best. I think we would have all loved him to be a touch more human, but I guess I really can’t comment since I have not walked in his shoes.

    • Tom Stickney

      Nov 26, 2014 at 10:38 am

      Rory is better at this stage but it’s all about their entire career. One or two years doesn’t mean anything.

      • steve

        Nov 26, 2014 at 1:12 pm

        Really? Two great years on tour lets you keep your card for a long time. Makes you very rich.
        Why would it be about their entire career? It is about this point in their career. Who shoes would you rather be in right now? 25 year old Rory or 39 year old Tiger? And Tiger is an old 39, bad back and legs. A back doesnt go away. Winning 4 majors in 4 years, two by 8 shots, means nothing to you. Tiger doesnt need another swing doctor, he needs a swing advisor. I look forward to another year of Tiger, rehearsing his swing over and over. Playing golfswing instead of golf. But I quess Rorys hall of fame career, is just a flash in the pan

        • tom stickney

          Nov 26, 2014 at 6:36 pm

          If you are speaking about a single portion of a career then Rory is the man, but I’d love to have seen them square off in 2000.

          • steve

            Nov 27, 2014 at 3:12 pm

            A ten year old Rory against a 25 year old Tiger? I have no interest in that

      • Forsbrand

        Nov 28, 2014 at 4:25 pm

        We need Tiger to be great again, so that we can watch head to heads with Rory, we’ll see who really is the Daddy then, no excuses! Unfortunately, we thought we’d see tiger els getting it on more often! but then Ernie damaged his knee and it never materialised! which was a big shame.

    • ND Hickman

      Nov 26, 2014 at 11:23 am

      Bit harsh. Tiger spent over a decade as the preeminent golfer on the planet. Injuries and off field problems have caused a sharp decline in his game but we have still seen glimpses of the old Tiger when he reclaimed the number one spot. A fully fit and focused Tiger against a fully fit and focused Rory should be a battle for the ages. Throw in Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Speith and golf has quite an interesting few years ahead of it.

      • Tom Stickney

        Nov 26, 2014 at 11:25 am

        ND– love to see em all on the peak of their game together. Wouldn’t care who won. Be unreal to watch!!!!

    • mo

      Nov 26, 2014 at 11:40 am

      How many wins did Tiger have in 2013? I think he still wasn’t all the way back.

  15. Andrew Cooper

    Nov 26, 2014 at 4:33 am

    I hope you’re right Tom. He’s clearly a smart and very knowledgable coach. Hopefully he can make golf simpler for Tiger and not more complicated.

    • Tom Stickney

      Nov 26, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Teachers should ALWAYS make things less cluttered in the minds if their students.

  16. Pumper

    Nov 25, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Hope he teaches Tiger how to enjoy what he is doing rather than constantly looking so miserable.

  17. Brett

    Nov 25, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    The biggest issue will be how well Chris can coach Tiger’s ego. Woods was the longest and swings so hard with his driver that he can hit it anywhere at any time. It’s over. Nobody is scared when they have to wait for him to play first.

    • Tom Stickney

      Nov 25, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      Brett– ego is a huge component of teaching tiger I’d guess

    • Jamie

      Nov 25, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      Like him or not, all anyone should say to tiger is “thank you”. Thank you for giving us such great golf.

  18. steve

    Nov 25, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    I have to disagree with some of what is written here. Tiger is not the most talented any longer. Like any other sport kids copy and then surpass or atleast equal. Jordan created Kobe, Lebron and Durant. Tiger created Rory, Adam, Ricki etc. Is 39 year old Jordan better then 25 year old Kobe, Lebron and Durant? I dont think so. Same goes with Tiger. And what Tiger doesnt have now is the intimation factor he had on Ernie, Phil and the others. Can Tiger win more Majors? Yeah. But times have changed.

    • Tom Stickney

      Nov 25, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      70+ wins and 14 majors tell a different story. Let him win the masters by a few and see what happens

      • steve

        Nov 25, 2014 at 9:57 pm

        how does that tell a different story? 32 years old when he won his last major. I quess time stopped for you in 08

        • Tom Stickney

          Nov 25, 2014 at 10:30 pm

          Steve– tiger isn’t at his best right now but name one guy in the modern game who’s record matches tigers to date? Besides none, whom do you choose?

          • steve

            Nov 25, 2014 at 11:50 pm

            What is your definition of modern golf? and why does that make a difference. Did Jack play with different equipment than everyone else. They all played on the same level field at different times of history. Tiger’s career record is maybe the best not arguing that. The funny points you make , then we can say Jack could win because of his record. You have to live in the NOW, not the past. Is Tiger the best golfer in the last 5 years? in the last 2 years? in the year? Jordan has a better record in finals then Lebron so I quess he is the best player in the world? Does that make sense? I quess by your logic Phil is the second best player, who has more majors or wins, except Tiger. I am a Tiger fan, but you cant fall in love with a stock, have to let it go when it is time

          • Tom Stickney

            Nov 26, 2014 at 11:27 am

            Steve– it’s far from over on the tiger issue. We’ll see. Let’s discuss in five years. I’ll take the long. 🙂

      • Jamie

        Nov 25, 2014 at 10:13 pm

        Tom, i agree with you regarding tiger’s lower body causing things to be out of sync. Particularly his right foot has always fired up so quickly causing the club to drop under the plane coming down.

        • Tom Stickney

          Nov 25, 2014 at 10:32 pm

          Jamie…love to see his lower body action altered if possible.

          • Jamie

            Nov 25, 2014 at 10:39 pm

            Think its hard for him to do with driver cause its a timing mechanism for him. When he was a little more upright under butch it gave him fractionally more time and room to bring the club down. Under hank he was flatterand more laid off but he had no room. His iron swing is much more in sync. My view.

      • WillyTwoBalls

        Nov 26, 2014 at 10:14 am

        Tom, with all due respect, you can’t use Tiger’s brilliant legacy as justification for continued success, everyone loses it eventually. Furthermore, Tiger lost it between the ears, you can’t deny that, watch him even in his comeback in ’13, his mental game isn’t what it used to be, and it used to be his greatest asset.

        • Tom Stickney

          Nov 27, 2014 at 9:52 am

          Willy…he still has the strongest mind in golf.

  19. Scooter McGavin

    Nov 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    I died a little inside each time I read “Chris'”, without the s after the apostrophe.

    • tom stickney

      Nov 25, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      I’ll let Zac know, maybe you can edit our article from now

    • Charlie

      Nov 25, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      Both are grammatically acceptable, but the way Tom wrote it is seen as better among college professors who teach English.

  20. aj

    Nov 25, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    GO tiger I cant wait for you to string some wins together this year you still have fans

    • tom stickney

      Nov 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      be fun to watch aj for sure

      • JT

        Nov 25, 2014 at 8:55 pm

        Never been a huge fan of Tiger bc he’s always been the opposite of the qualities you praise in Chris. Very interested to see the partnership play out with results, or lack thereof, on the course because as you mention Tiger is continuing the trend of taking his game to the limit of golf’s ‘intellectual technology’ boundaries with this choice. The trends in analysis (especially ground force efficiency) is very interesting to me, and I know that with Tiger focusing on it we are going to be enjoying a lot more in depth coverage.

        Thanks for a great article and insider perspective on the tech and human angles of the story.

        And good luck Chris, I think you’re gonna need it!

        • JT

          Nov 25, 2014 at 9:07 pm

          I’ve actually become more of a Tiger fan because life has dealt some blows, but he seems to be responding. A story I’m now following more than in the past, and not interested to bash him.

          Also, I loved his swing from the Butch era. It was beautiful, and I always wonder, could he have simply throttled that swing down a little to protect his body? I recently googled the old Golf magazine swing sequence from ’97, and it’s so sound, it’s fun to study.

          • Tom Stickney

            Nov 25, 2014 at 10:33 pm

            It was solid for sure. Butch is a great teacher.

        • Tom Stickney

          Nov 25, 2014 at 10:32 pm

          Thx jt

  21. Mad-Mex

    Nov 25, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    *YAWN*

    Let’s be honest here, this is one of the reasons many golf fans either love or hate Tiger ( very few of us I the “I could care less” camp) we have been bombarded with “Tiger got his feelings hurt!”, “Tiger has a new girlfriend ” “Tiger pooped today ” articles, the proof is in the nose dive of golf digest readership.
    I rather read articles of the pros trying to make it to the tour, the journeymen, there is now TWO articles about Tiger and one about his new coach, I would not be surprised to see “Keeping Up with Tiger Kardashian” show.

    • tom stickney

      Nov 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      mad– he has been over-exposed for some time and it shows for sure.

    • Pat

      Nov 25, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      I agree with you mex. I’m a Tiger hater as well and could care less. Yes, the ratings have gone down whenever he isn’t in the field but, the PGA tour is alive and well w/o him, still generating a ton of revenue and increasing size of the winnings for each tournament. I too, like to watch the young up and comers succeed on tour. I’m friends with a top ranked amateur trying to turn pro. I also train him for golf. Remember the name Kevin Fitzgerald.

      • tom stickney

        Nov 25, 2014 at 3:50 pm

        Pat– He has done plenty to make people not like him…hopefully when it’s all said and done, he will be more amiable.

    • MB

      Nov 25, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      You can really see what this topic is before reading the whole article.
      If you do want to read about Tiger or hear about Tiger, WHY READ AND COMMENT ON EVERY TIGER ARTICLE/

      • Tom Stickney

        Nov 25, 2014 at 10:34 pm

        MB. Yep some people are interested in tiger and his future.

  22. Nick

    Nov 25, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Personally, I hope that the Woods-Como partnership is a huge success. Golf needs Tiger Woods healthy and competing for majors again.

  23. timbleking

    Nov 25, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Sorry but I don’t agree with your last statement. TODAY, Tiger IS NOT, and by far, the best player in the world. Hate it or love it, Rory McIlroy rules the world of golf nowadays.

    • simon

      Nov 25, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      ya last time I checked he he has more majors of an current player and even combine rorys total with scotts and even stenson and they still have less tiger is the best player in the game currently

    • tom stickney

      Nov 25, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      Timble– Rory is playing great, but he’s got a long way to go to match Tiger’s overall record.

      • Pat

        Nov 25, 2014 at 3:32 pm

        Golf is like other pro sports in which it’s a what have you done now mentality. That makes Rory top dog currently. He is clearly in the zone like Tiger was in 2000. Don’t be surprised if he wins 8 times globally in 2015.

        • tom stickney

          Nov 25, 2014 at 4:46 pm

          Pat– I’d LOVE to see someone dominate like that in ’15. Rory is certainly deserving of all the kudos he receives for sure! Good guy.

  24. JBH

    Nov 25, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    So refreshing to read a balanced take on this matter. The golf media in North America has to sensationalize everything and has become more opinionated tabloid than actual golf news. I wish Tiger the best of luck at the Hero World Challenge and hope he has an incredible 2015! Good luck to Mr. Como as well since he will bear the brunt of the “golf writers” opinions. Hopefully this will be a dynamic duo.

    • tom stickney

      Nov 25, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      JBH– Chris is a good guy, hope it works

  25. Charlie

    Nov 25, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Glad to see a positive perspective from an expert. Great article Tom!

    • tom stickney

      Nov 25, 2014 at 11:55 am

      Thanks Charlie…not sure if I’m an expert or not but I gave it my best! 🙂

  26. Leon

    Nov 25, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Who cares…

    Does anyone know the swing coach of Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer etc?
    Just swing your swing and play the game. Never trying to be a programmed swing robot.

    • Tom Stickney

      Nov 25, 2014 at 10:52 am

      Leon. Most people do in today’s time…

    • Chris

      Nov 25, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Jack Nicklaus’ coach was Jack Grout.

      • tom stickney

        Nov 25, 2014 at 11:55 am

        Palmer’s was his dad Deacon and Hogan’s was a little known guy named Fred

    • Mikec

      Nov 25, 2014 at 11:08 am

      Most players would make a deal w the devil to be that “robot”.
      5 wins just a few years ago, that is a career for many players, let alone his 70-80~ some odd wins and #2 in majors all-time only to Jack.

      • tom stickney

        Nov 25, 2014 at 11:57 am

        Agree Mike…Trackman is very efficient in the hands of the right instructor but detrimental if used in the wrong way for sure.

  27. Tom Stickney

    Nov 25, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Thx. At worst I’d like to see him get within one of jack…the buzz around the majors would be awesome.

  28. Minh Nguyen

    Nov 25, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Good read Tom. I hope you are right. Golf is more fun and interesting when guys named Tiger and Phil are playing well. Love him or hate him, what Tiger has done for the game of golf can’t be measured. I myself play because, I wanted to be like Tiger after wanting to be like Mike.

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Podcasts

The 19th Hole Episode 131: Tiger YES, Ryder NO, Horton Smith OUT

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Host Michael Williams discusses Tiger’s return, the postponement of the Ryder Cup, and the name change of the Horton Smith Award by the PGA of America. Guests include Mike O’Reilly of Whistling Straits and Mike McCartin of the National Links Trust.

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Opinion & Analysis

Note to Sir Nick: Does Bryson DeChambeau really need to improve his wedge game?

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I especially enjoyed the final round of last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic—watching the battle of the two big ballers. As always, I was interested in Sir Nick Faldo’s commentary about the weakness in Bryson DeChambeau’s game–his wedges–and that he should make an equipment switch to tighten up this part of his game. Indeed, our Ryan Barath made the same suggestion in an article July 3.

I was all in—not only as a big fan of Sir Nick and Jim Nantz—but Bryson’s 6-iron-length wedges have always looked awkward to me. On Monday, I received several calls from instructor clients/friends asking if I could support Sir Nick’s analysis. Never one to back down from a challenge, I agreed to take a deep dive into the difference between Bryson’s game in 2019 and thus far in 2020.

The data is a bit thin—69 Shotlink rounds in 2019 vs. only 42 in 2020 through Rocket Mortgage. Nonetheless, I’d submit that we have representative samples.

Here is what I found.

DRIVING

Strokes Gained # and (Ranking):

  • 2019: .412 (24)
  • 2020: 1.11 (2)

This is a giant leap in Strokes Gained and ranking.  OK, but Strokes Gained is an abstract number and not all about distance. Why the jump? 

Distance:  302.5 (34) => 323 (1).  Again, quite a jump. 20.5 yards in distance ON AVERAGE. Impressive!

Errors:  .4 per round => .15/round. I have worked with lots of Tour players and reducing errors is extremely difficult. Most do it by prudently cutting back on distance. To pick up over 20 yards AND cut ERRORS* by 62.5% is miraculous! For perspective, the average of the PGA Tour in 2019 was .62 errors/round. So, Bryson is outdriving EVERYONE by 21 yards AND making less than 25% of the ERRORS*? Extraordinary!

[*Driving errors are Balls hit out of play that require an advancement to return to normal play or penalty results.]

APPROACH SHOTS

Strokes Gained:

  • 2019: .236 (Rank 54)
  • 2020: .428 (Rank 38)

Not a great improvement, but an improvement nonetheless. This is mainly because Bryson’s accuracy from the fairway went from 62% to 70%.

PUTTING

Strokes Gained:

  • 2019: .372 (Rank 28)
  • 2020: .690 (Rank 12)

Another substantial improvement. Two things stand out:

  1. Reduced 3-Putts from .49/round to .33 (Tour avg. is .51) – excellent jump!
  2. In the always critical 6-10 ft. range, his makes went from 54% to 62% (Tour Avg. is 52%). Again, over 42 rounds, this is as much improvement in a Tour player as I have seen.

WEDGE PLAY

In my work with Tour players, I consider this to be shots from 50 to 125 yards. Bryson may very well extend this range with his length, but I chose to stay with it because I have years of data on the Tour level play for comparison.

I measure:

  • # shots – How many shots a player faces on average per round.
  • % Greens Hit – As opposed to the Tour’s Proximity that includes greens missed w/i 30 yards of the edge.
  • Putting distance when hit (My Proximity)
  • Down-in – The average shots needed to get the ball in the hole.

I am going to stick with shots from the fairway only as they are over 70% of these shots for everyone.

*Avg. Putting Distance when the shots hit the green.

**Avg. Down-in:  The # of shots need to hole out.

Mr. DeChambeau has performed an extremely noteworthy feat in that he has not only dramatically increased his driving distance BUT his accuracy to boot. Further, he has improved EVERY facet of his game, including his oft-criticized wedge game. And not just a little. If we do the math on his Down-In improvement: 2.84 to 2.68 = .16/shot X 114 shots in 2020 = 18 strokes saved this year.

In my studies of the value of a stroke on Tour, at Bryson’s current top-10 level, each stroke is worth $50-70,000. I tip my hat to him!

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Podcasts

TGD: Faldo, New TM Irons Drop, Bryson and Rickie scoop with Cobra Tour Manager Ben Schomin and the decline of my golf game

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On this episode of TGD brought to you by Titleist, Johnny goes in on the new TaylorMade MB, Faldo’s comment on Bryson’s wedges, the demise of his golf game and some nuggets on Rickie and Bryson with Cobra Golf Tour operations manager Ben Schomin.

Enjoy!

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