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Opinion & Analysis

Tiger confirms he will play in the 2015 Masters

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After rampant speculation and embarrassingly heavy reporting on the whereabouts of Tiger Woods (and his private jet), the golfer announced his intention to play the 2015 Masters in the most straightforward way possible: 10 words on his Twitter account.

If you’ve consumed any golf media at all these last two years, you’re well aware that Tiger has been playing by far the worst golf of his career. And because of all the injuries he’s suffered since the fall of 2013, the “Tiger is coming back” story has been written more than enough times.

Let’s take a different approach.

Tiger said he’s “worked hard on his game” and is “looking forward to competing” — I’m sure he has and I’m sure he is. But all that can reasonably be hoped for is that Tiger is actually healthy, and that he’s sured up his sloppy short game.

Maybe he can make the cut without a wince of pain? Wouldn’t that be an accomplishment for a golfer who hasn’t completed a competitive round of golf since Feb. 2, and hasn’t shot under par in a professional event since Dec. 8, 2014?

Of course, it will be hard not to root for Tiger to do what seems impossible and slip on his fifth Green Jacket — if for no other reason than to return to the time when we used to write about the 39-year-old’s greatness.

If Tiger falls on his face at Augusta National, maybe we won’t be shocked by it this time? After all, I heard he shot 74 in his practice round on Tuesday. That’s important, right?

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28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. RG

    Apr 6, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    First off I think the game is better with Tiger in it. Love him or hate him he’s done things no one here can even understand, like winning a US Open by 15 shots. BUT
    When I saw Tiger up close I saw fear in his eyes when he was chipping, said so on this site. I live in Orlando and have watched Tiger many times thru the years ( Bay Hill, Disney, Tavistock) and his body language and demeanor have changed. Swing mechanics, glutes firing, whatever, the dude is different in his eyes. Laugh, make jokes, but when Tiger used to hit chips/ pitches he would lock on grab a club look once maybe twice fire and stick it, like a frickin machine, Now he looks back and forth, goes back and forth over club, takes five practice swings and CHUNK.
    Prediction: If he conquers THE FEAR and hits some good short shots ( I don’t care what he does off the tee or from the fairway) He will rebuild and regain his form.
    If THE FEAR gets him and he chunks or blades or flubs some chips/pitches he will WD claim some physical issue and he will retire from competitive golf.

  2. bwoody01

    Apr 6, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Loved, hated, but never ignored. When you’ve hit rock bottom in your career, there is only one place to go. Tiger knows this, the Fans know this, and all the haters know it as well. Here’s to wishing Tiger Woods a great return to the game. The Master’s needs him, the golf industry (that is on decline) needs him, and the love of the game needs him. I am looking forward to seeing him tee it up regardless of the outcomes.

  3. Steve H

    Apr 6, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Tiger would have finished last in the Girls 7-9 chipping contest yesterday!

  4. Justin S.

    Apr 6, 2015 at 7:26 am

    When he says playing, does he mean hitting his first tee shot then walking away like Arnie and Jack?

  5. don davis

    Apr 4, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    He had to play. The biggest name in the game will bring an giant buzz to the Masters. Lovers and haters cannot wait. You got to admit the guy can really ramp up the interest in the sport. Does anyone think that the pressure may get to him? Deep down we all know that sports needs stars and Tiger is a star.

    • Mlegolf

      Apr 5, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      Yes sports needs stars, wake up it’s the masters and the field will be strong, full of them. Some will shine much more by their game rather than their off course so called social life.
      But because the society is avid of voyeurism, we’ll hear more about him rather than them.
      Sad for the other players, sad for the game.

  6. Gubment Cheez

    Apr 4, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Oh he’s gonna play
    And by God
    He’s gonna win

  7. Curt

    Apr 4, 2015 at 11:14 am

    All the Tiger haters on this site are hilarious, while Tiger is laughing all the way to the bank!!!

    Know dat!!!

    • Forsbrand

      Apr 5, 2015 at 3:40 am

      I don’t think they’re tiger haters they just don’t appreciate tiger. The great thing about tiger being in the field at the Masters is whoever wins can say they’ve beaten the very best, it will add more merit to a victory. I hope a Tiger lasts the weekend, should be interesting.

  8. CatFoodFace

    Apr 4, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Two letters: MC

    • Rob

      Apr 4, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      WD

      • JB

        Apr 4, 2015 at 7:08 pm

        Two words: You’re pathetic

        Whether it’s this tournament, the next, or next season. Tiger will win again and he will do so laughing at all of you haters…

        • Jonny B

          Apr 6, 2015 at 10:29 am

          That was actually a lot more than two words.

  9. mike

    Apr 4, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Tiger will finish in the top 10 if he shows up with his gaggle of girls

  10. mlecuni

    Apr 4, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Go Tiger !

    It will be hard and may be not for this time but keep grinding.
    Stay patient because at the end Victory is waiting for you !

    Be the greatest

  11. The dude

    Apr 4, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Q the Bizhub Konica Minolta swing vision Peter

  12. The dude

    Apr 4, 2015 at 8:18 am

    He also confirmed he will only play Thursday and Friday

  13. Rich

    Apr 4, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Oh well, you can’t have everything in life you want………..

  14. Forsbrand

    Apr 4, 2015 at 3:09 am

    So glad Tiger is back

  15. Kyle

    Apr 3, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Zac, Haney tweeted leading to Augusta in 2010 he played 2 practice rounds and didn’t break 80 and finished 4th. I think 74 is a pretty good start

  16. Booger

    Apr 3, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Dead last again just like Phoenix.

  17. barak

    Apr 3, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    Zak:

    Please sign up for a basic writing class soon. Also, I’m not sure who’s son you are but please convince whoever is paying the bills for this operation that you need a new website design ASAP. The “legit..flop..shank” rating thing is stupid. The website used to be half decent but has become convoluted, unfocused and lacking in consistently good content.

    Barak

    • devilsadvocate

      Apr 3, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      I think this site is great… Your comment however deserves a rating of shank… Maybe even whiff … Keep your opinions to yourself Mr President

    • Find another site

      Apr 3, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      Comment, Flop….

  18. jim

    Apr 3, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    go tiger I am still a fan

  19. Chuck

    Apr 3, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Such a relief to know that Nike’s planed Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday ensembles for Tiger Woods won’t go to waste. Well, at least not Thursday and Friday.

    http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/03/tiger-woods-masters-will-he-play-nike-clothing-wont-wear

  20. Mark

    Apr 3, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    I think he’s doing the right thing. His first chip shot will be the most scrutinized shot in golf history. This will be interesting to watch.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Why wedge mastery is so elusive

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I have conducted numerous surveys of golfers over my 40-year golf industry career, because I have always believed that if you want to know what people are thinking, you simply have to ask them.

As a gearhead for wedges and a wedge designer over the past 30 years, most of my research and analysis is focused on these short-range scoring clubs and how golfers use them. What this research continually tells me is that most golfers—regardless of handicap–consider the wedges the hardest clubs in the bag to master. That’s because they are. I would even go so far as to say that the difficulty of attaining mastery even extends to the best players in the world.

Watching the Genesis Open this past weekend, for example, it seemed like these guys were hitting wedge approaches on nearly every hole. And while there were certainly many shots that covered the flag—like Max Homa’s approach on 18–there were also a great number that came up woefully short. Not what you would expect when a top-tier tour professional has a sand or gap wedge in their hands.

The simple fact is that wedges are the most difficult clubs in our bags with which to attain consistent shotmaking mastery, and that is because of the sheer design of the clubhead itself. For clarity of this article, I’m talking about those full- or near full-swing wedge shots, not the vast variety of short greenside shots we all face every round. To get mastery of those shots (like the tour pros exhibit every week), you simply have to spend lots of time hitting lots of shots, experimenting and exploring different techniques. There are no shortcuts to a deadly short game.

But today I’m talking about those prime opportunities to score, when you have a full- or near-full swing wedge into a par-five or short par four. We should live for those moments, but all too often we find ourselves disappointed in the outcome.

The good news is that’s not always all your fault.

First of all, you must understand that every wedge shot is, in effect, a glancing blow to the ball because of the loft involved. With 50 to 60 degrees of loft—or even 45 to 48 degrees with a pitching wedge—the loft of the club is such that the ball is given somewhat of a glancing blow. That demands a golf swing with a much higher degree of precision in the strike than say, an 8-iron shot.

I have always believed that most golfers can improve their wedge play by making a slower-paced swing than you might with a longer iron. This allows you to be more precise in making sure that your hands lead the clubhead through impact, which is a must when you have a wedge in your hands. Without getting into too much detail, the heavier, stiffer shaft in most wedges does not allow this club to load and unload in the downswing, so the most common error is for the clubhead to get ahead of the hands before impact, thereby adding loft and aggravating this glancing blow. I hope that makes sense.
The other aspect of wedge design that makes consistent wedge distance so elusive is the distribution of the mass around the clubhead. This illustration of a typical tour design wedge allows me to show you something I have seen time and again in robotic testing of various wedges.

Because all the mass is along the bottom of the clubhead, the ideal impact point is low in the face (A), so that most of the mass is behind the ball. Tour players are good at this, but most recreational golfers whose wedges I’ve examined have a wear pattern at least 2-4 grooves higher on the club than I see on tour players’ wedges.

So, why is this so important?

Understand that every golf club has a single “sweet spot”–that pinpoint place where the smash factor is optimized—where clubhead speed translates to ball speed at the highest efficiency. On almost all wedges, that spot is very low on the clubhead, as indicated by the “A” arrow here, and robotic testing reveals that smash factor to be in the range of 1.16-1.18, meaning the ball speed is 16-18% higher than the clubhead speed.

To put that in perspective, smash factor on drivers can be as high as 1.55 or even a bit more, and it’s barely below that in your modern game improvement 7-iron. The fact is—wedges are just not as efficient in this measure, primarily because of the glancing blow I mentioned earlier.

But–and here’s the kicker–if you move impact up the face of a wedge just half to five-eights of an inch from the typical recreational golfer’s impact point, as indicated by the “B” arrow, smash factor on ‘tour design’ wedges can be reduced to as low as 0.92 to 0.95. That costs you 40 to 60 feet on a 90-yard wedge shot . . . because you missed “perfect” by a half-inch or less!

So, that shot you know all too well—the ball sitting up and caught a bit high in the face—is going fall in the front bunker or worse. That result is not all your fault. The reduced distance is a function of the diminished smash factor of the wedge head itself.

That same half-inch miss with your driver or even your game-improvement 7-iron is hardly noticeable.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Breakthrough mental tools to play the golf of your dreams

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Incredibly important talk! A must listen to the words of Dr. Karl Morris, ham-and-egging with the golf imperfections trio. Like listening to top athletes around a campfire. This talk will helps all ages and skills in any sport.

 

 

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On Spec

On Spec: Homa Wins! And how to avoid “paralysis by analysis”!

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This week’s episode covers a wide array of topics from the world of golf including Max Homa’s win on the PGA Tour, golf course architecture, and how to avoid “paralysis by analysis” when it comes to your golf game.

This week’s show also covers the important topic of mental health, with the catalyst for the conversation being a recent interview published by PGA Tour with Bubba Watson and his struggles.

 

 

 

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