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With Tiger Woods, is it positive thinking or denial?

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When great athletes struggle, they are almost always interviewed after their poor performances and their answers to the line of questioning that follows is predictable. They say things such as:

  • “I’m getting close.”
  • “I played well, just didn’t turn out my way.”
  • “I just couldn’t get a good pitch to hit.”
  • “My back has been tight, it should loosen up soon and I’ll be fine.”
  • “I just need to get some more playing time under my belt.”

Blah, blah, blah, we say. Maybe, but maybe not.

Tiger Woods epitomizes this approach to interviews. The best player I’ve ever seen for his 12 years of dominance is obviously a shell of what he was in his great years. Yet when he’s interviewed, he NEVER thinks he is “that far off.”

Interesting.

On one hand, we could say it’s the same power of positive thinking that made him so great. On the other hand, might it simply be a case of denial? I’d like to get some unbiased opinions (I know that’s tough when we’re talking about Tiger) on what side of that debate you’re on.

For those of you old enough to remember Steve Carlton in his prime, you’ll agree he was one of the most dominant pitchers EVER. Flash forward to his last years with the Chicago White Sox and he was serving up blooper balls for lunch. Yet he still SWORE he could be great again.

Unfortunately, I’m also old enough to remember Willie Mays in his prime. Nobody better, maybe ever. Think about his days with the Mets when he was falling down missing curve balls by a foot. Now both Lefty and the Say Hey Kid were down the road age wise, but it didn’t seem to diminish their optimism — or their denial. I just can’t figure out if they were kidding us or kidding themselves.

I’m also not saying Tiger is done; I’m a huge fan of what he’s done for golf, and having had the opportunity to play with him once, of him as well. And I do think he will win again. Dominate, no. But win sometimes? Yes.

But for now, when Tiger claims he’s “close” is he simply refusing to allow any negative thought to enter his psyche or is he kidding himself? I think even ardent Tiger fans will agree that based on what we’ve seen this year (with the possible exception of Augusta National, where I think he could play well left-handed) he’s not really “close.” But this is Tiger Woods, a man who has more major championships than missed cuts!

If any player were ever to believe in himself to the point of possible denial, I for one am affording Tiger Woods that luxury.

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Dennis Clark is a PGA Master Professional. Clark has taught the game of golf for more than 30 years to golfers all across the country, and is recognized as one of the leading teachers in the country by all the major golf publications. He is also is a seven-time PGA award winner who has earned the following distinctions: -- Teacher of the Year, Philadelphia Section PGA -- Teacher of the Year, Golfers Journal -- Top Teacher in Pennsylvania, Golf Magazine -- Top Teacher in Mid Atlantic Region, Golf Digest -- Earned PGA Advanced Specialty certification in Teaching/Coaching Golf -- Achieved Master Professional Status (held by less than 2 percent of PGA members) -- PGA Merchandiser of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Golf Professional of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Presidents Plaque Award for Promotion and Growth of the Game of Golf -- Junior Golf Leader, Tri State section PGA -- Served on Tri State PGA Board of Directors. Clark is also former Director of Golf and Instruction at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Dennis now teaches at Bobby Clampett's Impact Zone Golf Indoor Performance Center in Naples, FL. .

66 Comments

66 Comments

  1. David

    Jun 27, 2015 at 5:12 am

    Hank Haney explained this very well back in April. I’m not sure why you guys don’t believe him. Tiger has the yips. Not just in his short game. Everywhere. You don’t get rid of the yips. All you can do is hope for good shots in between yips. He knows he has it. He also knows he can’t get rid of it. We have Jordan Spieth now. I feel confident that he, along with Rory, will catch Jack’s record of 18. One of them will break it. Jordan Spieth. The year will be 2032.

  2. Mark

    Jun 10, 2015 at 5:23 am

    Face up to it – Tiger’s career is in the departure lounge. It’s been great fun but it’s time to move on and crown the next icon. History will pass judgement on his place in the game – it will at least say he was the best of his era. He won’t be revered like Ben, loved like Arnie and he won’t be admired like Jack but he will be in most people’s all time top three because his record merits it alone.

    The flame might flicker again briefly and remind us of what we are missing but the competition is a lap ahead now.

    • Jeff*

      Jun 14, 2015 at 7:42 pm

      Most people’s top 3? He’s Jack Nicklaus’s pick for best player of all time. Anyone who puts him anywhere but greatest of all time is simply old.

      • Robeli

        Jun 18, 2015 at 11:04 pm

        Yea, and that’s only because Jack is humble enough not to pick himself. Jack is 10 times better golfer than Tiger. Tiger had technology for him, Jack not.

  3. Jeez Utz

    Jun 9, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    I can’t think of one player who’s been around a few years that hasn’t shot 80something……
    I’m not saying that he’s done but I’ll admit that I’m not buying tiger stock anymore…
    If he hasn’t started winning by next years open championship I feel it may be over….
    And it’s fine, everyone’s time passes and WE don’t know what Tiger puts value on in his personal life..
    It’s disappointing that (for the most part) everything he does gets criticized and after it’s over we’ll reflect on how great it was..just like other all time greats
    All the legends go through this I’m sure

  4. Butch Harmon

    Jun 9, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Pride goeth before the fall. Even Jack asked for help from those with experience.

    • Robeli

      Jun 9, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      Humble does not exist in Tiger’s vocabulary.

  5. Mad-Mex

    Jun 9, 2015 at 3:17 am

    Wonder how long before he starts doing adds for Warrior Golf,,,,,

    Hi! Remember me? Am Tiger Woods! If you call within the next 15 minutes you will get this new Hybrid-Wedge combo with a pro style shaft for free! Just pay shipping and handling!

  6. Mo

    Jun 8, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Being publicly shamed has destroyed his self esteem. He knows that everybody thinks his behaviour was disgusting and he agrees with them.

    Maybe a good psychologist could repair his self image in time, but until that’s fixed any chance of “swing fixes” solving the problem are zero.

  7. Robeli

    Jun 8, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Hmmm… Tiger Woods is following the career path of Mike Tyson – sport and personal wise.

  8. Papi

    Jun 8, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Tiger Woods is not in Denial.
    But Golf Is.

    Tiger Woods has played 5 Tournaments this season and the season is a few weeks from 8 months old.
    That’s not Denial, that’s inactivity mainly due to injuries. That happens to be Fact.

    A Guy who still today despite the worst golf of his career who still sports a 26% World Wide Win Record with 90 Wins when his closest competitor Phil has half that number of Wins is in Denial?

    Tiger is 0-17 since his last PGA Tour Win a season that he won 5 Times. 0 for 17.
    Phil is 0-38 since his last PGA Tour Wins and instead of articles about him being in Denial we get articles about him leaving $99 Tips for Lemonade?

    Golf is in Denial. Not Tiger Woods.
    A Guy who has Won Majors with 3 Different Swings is not in Denial.
    If you listen to Tiger he is actually very honest about where he is with his game.

    But we have a bunch of Fat Couch Potato Hack Writers and Fans who seem to forget that this man had Back Surgery 14 months ago and tried to come back to soon and it is lead to 5 Tournaments played in 2015 while changing his swing to something that won’t break his back and bust his Knee.

    Maybe you Clowns should give that a Try.
    Tiger Woods is not in Denial.
    Golf is by continuing to Disrepect the Greatest Player in the History of the Game and continue to Lie thru it’s Teeth that Jack is the Greatest When Tiger has Destroyed Every Single Meaningful Record there is of Jack’s in Golf other than playing in 164 Majors. 68 for Tiger. The Rest He Owns Jack.

    So Golf. Yes It Is You who is in Denial.
    Tiger is not. He’s simply the Greatest Golfer who Ever Played this Game.

    • Robeli

      Jun 8, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      How does the Kool Aid taste?

      • Scooter McGavin

        Jun 9, 2015 at 12:44 pm

        Real original. Although sadly, not a sound argument. Next time, try addressing the points made (that are, in this case, facts) by the other person. From what I read, most of what was said was spot-on.

        • Robeli

          Jun 12, 2015 at 12:21 pm

          Scooter McGavin – what a real original name.

  9. Robert

    Jun 8, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    If you remember his interviews when he was great, if he played like crap, he didn’t sugarcoat it like this. He said, “I had my C game out there. I played terrible.” He would have never said, “I hit some good shots, I just need to get a little better”. He has a different mindset now and it’s not the killer instinct. It’s gone forever.

  10. dapadre

    Jun 8, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Im a HUGE Tiger fan, lets get that out now. Anyone who loves this great game of ours cannot deny he changed it, brought it to main stream and showed us what great golf was with one of the most complete games ever seen. Even the great Nicklaus has been quoted as saying: without a doubt he was better than I was. Back in 2001 he also said he would be surprised if Woods didn’t beat his record. Fast forward and one questions if we were talking about the same player.

    I think two things have caused this. One the INCIDENT ( we all know what I mean), played an ENNORMOUS role. We all know that at that level its 10% skill and 90% mind. He lost his edge that faithful day. He had to face the idea of what everyone was REALLY thinking when they saw him. Also his competitors we reaffirmed: HE IS HUMAN, and nothing brings a person faster to earth like a dose of humility. He didn’t get a dose he got the whole bottle. I personally can separate Tiger the golfer and Tiger the husband/father, but many cannot and he could not. It’s the price one pays for being famous.

    Secondly, this crazy game of ours is one of the very few where you cant score a PERFECT score. In baseball you have the no hitter, basketball you can go perfect shooting and from the free throw line, bowling 300… you get the picture. In our sport the perfect score would be an ace on all 18 holes. As this is impossible, there is this yearning to get as perfect as possible. One of Tigers most famous quotes was, if you do nothing, you are standing still. This has cost him. In his search for perfection, he failed to realise that 99.9% (purely an example here) is not bad after all.

    He has ruined what he had and to get back will be hard, if not impossible. I would love to see it, but not facing reality would be doing what Tiger is doing, DENIAL.

  11. Captain Oblivious

    Jun 8, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Yes, Tiger needs to go back to Butch, re-hire Stevie, pull out the old Scotty, annul his marriage and somehow convince Elin to stuff those kids back in the womb, Rogain his receding hairline, get back to his “Buddhist roots” and last, but not least, dig ol’ Earl up out of the ground.

    • Pat M

      Jun 8, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      Elin does not want him back. Nike needs to pay Butch $3 million a year and also Steve $4 million a year. It is Eldrick’s only hope. Stick a fork in him. He cannot play with Spieth. And tell Jordan to start the Rogaine now so he does not turn into Tiger aka PED forhead.

  12. Jeff

    Jun 7, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    From all the books I’ve read about him and what I’ve seen, Tiger Woods appears to enjoy motivating himself to climb bigger and bigger mountains. In his young career, he stepped up and delivered time and time again, he won so many golf tournaments it changed the sport and the way players prepared to play the sport… Post 09 Tiger has appeared to be creating a huge challenge for himself to overcome. I think he’s over challenged himself at this point.

    To answer the question from the title directly, I think it’s both, the happy man’s positive thinking is the depresso’s denial. It’s all about perspective. What is there to gain from seeing ones struggles as impossible to fix rather than close to being fixed? I love watching golf when Tiger wins so I’ll keep hoping to see the magic come back. Is it really close? Wouldn’t that be sweet.

  13. christian

    Jun 7, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Who cares about comparisons to baseball? Internationally, where we play a lot of golf, baseball is seen as a slow moving game devoid of much action st all with pudgy looking players in far too tight pants.

    • Patricknorm

      Jun 8, 2015 at 6:31 am

      You’ve never tried to hit a curve ball or even a fastball at 88 mph ( which is barely a fastball). Baseball is a nuanced game much like golf. Those two skill sets I’ve described for basebasell might be the hardest things to do in sports. Period. Actually the comparison was apt. But only for those who appreciate baseball.
      As a qualifier I love baseball and have always yearned to master these skills.

      • christian

        Jun 8, 2015 at 11:26 am

        Sure, that’s probably hard to do, hit the fast ball or curve ball..But in between those rare clean hits there is a lot of dead time, people wandering around, beer&hot dogs are eaten. There can’t be that much “nuance” to it. Seems like a pretty one-dimensional, simple game.

    • Jay

      Jun 8, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      The article I read made no comparison of golf to baseball – it compared Tiger to 2 other greats who were playing their chosen sport at a level far below their best

  14. cb

    Jun 7, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    I’m of the belief that he needs to take a break from competitive golf but still practice as if he were playing competitive. he obviously isn’t used to his swing changes. no one ever feels the same every morning when they wake up, so something for him could feel great one day and terrible the next. and with a new swing he might not know how to swing the new way with how he is feeling that day. when he was younger he had the same swing for years so his body knew what to do when he felt a certain way. he needs reps and reps, and hitting shots in front of a crowd or trying to figure things out in the middle of a round at a tournament are not the places to get those reps in.

    • Matty D

      Jun 7, 2015 at 10:56 pm

      I agree, gotta give him tell the end of the season at the least for conclusions can be made.

    • Martin B

      Jun 8, 2015 at 11:15 pm

      I think the he should actually be playing more tournaments at this point to fine tune his game and get the competitive juices flowing.

  15. Kevin

    Jun 7, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    His short game, more often than not, is still dominant (and in his prime was the best ever). If he could hit more fairways, he could contend more. The fields now are MUCH better than they were when he was on his run in the early 2000’s. He’s like Larry Holmes in boxing in that regard, Holmes was so much better than anyone else at the time, but there weren’t other great heavy weights around when he was at his best. Tiger didn’t face great Sunday players like Trevino, Watson, Player, Miller, Casper, Palmer, etc, but all the while it seemed like he went about eight-years without missing a putt inside 10′. Greatest combination of short game and iron game dominance ever, and don’t forget his between the ears advantage. He changed the sport forever…

    • S

      Jun 8, 2015 at 2:36 am

      Yes. Saturday was an indication of how the game will change for the better without him. Saturday was probably one of the best days in the history of golf.

    • S

      Jun 8, 2015 at 2:39 am

      I really enjoyed Saturday. That was probably one of the most enjoyable Saturdays in golf I’ve experienced. The sickness will be gone soon.

    • Sat

      Jun 8, 2015 at 3:31 am

      That was such a great Saturday though

  16. Greg

    Jun 7, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I’m not sure what to think of hs play anymore. As far as what he tells the media, I think it’s both for his benefit and his denial. I don’t think he really cares what the media says or thinks about him. It’s obvious by the choices in his lifestyle are still poor! Issues are apaarent

  17. Nolanski

    Jun 7, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I’m grateful to have had the pleasure to watch Tiger when he was in his prime. But these young guns are so much fun to follow today that I’m ready to let go of hoping the old Tiger is going to walk through that door again.

  18. Pat M

    Jun 7, 2015 at 8:28 am

    He is 27 strokes behind the leader at the end of the third round. After this tournament I think he will be about #200th in the world or worse. Will N*ke keep running the ads for this guy?

    • other paul

      Jun 8, 2015 at 1:15 am

      I doubt Nike can pull out. Contract is a contract.

  19. Ben Hogan

    Jun 7, 2015 at 7:38 am

    I think that it is always important as a professional golfer or athlete to believe in yourself. Where else are you going to get the confidence to pull of shots otherwise. I personally think it is exactly what Tiger says it is when describing what he is going through. He is trying to change his release pattern but at the moment is unsure of exactly what release pattern will produce the results he wants. This is evident by his comments about small changes since the masters and then again this week since the players. Tiger has a lot of strong fundamentals of golf in his golf game and is one of the reasons why he was always able to produce in clutch moments. Right now you can see him making slight differences in his stance, posture, and grip and has Hogan said that is more than 80-85% of playing golf. I think he will eventually find the right combination that allows him to have a go to shot or eliminate one side of the golf course but it’s a process of finding out the feels that work for you.

  20. John

    Jun 7, 2015 at 7:13 am

    Wow! 13 over par on a track that where he used to run over the field and then back up to make sure they were all dead.

    Seems to me that, when looking at Tiger’s playing career going back to when he was a junior, he has “progressed backwards” in terms of his decisions regarding his game. Especially concerning teachers. The old teachers were their own men with their own opinions, the newest ones are Yes-men sycophants IMO.

    His first teaching pros (Duran, Anselmo) were old school meat&potatoes type pros who focused on the important parts (eg: The clubface and shotmaking) and they allowed Tiger to find his own swing while still keeping his on course performance a notch or two above the competition.

    His next two teaching pros, Butch and Hank, simplified his action(s) and stayed out of his way to allow him to shoot lights out. Both Hank and Butch were accomplished players in the past. Both know what it FEELS like to be out there inside the ropes with a scorecard and pencil in hand. No amount of theory gained from books or classes or over priced seminars can ever replace actual playing experience. Never.

    The last two “coaches”…as I prefer to call them (Foley and Como) do not come from a competitive playing background at all, they’re more like friendly golf-nerds. Not that they’re wrong in whatever info they’ve given Tiger, but the application part of it is where things have gotten off the tracks so to speak yet no one has ever admitted any wrong doing. Sycophants.

    It looks more like he’s been playing “bio-mechanic/kinetic golfswing” versus plain old “put the ball into the hole with a stick”. How he gets his game on track is up to him and him alone…not thru yet another miracle or new fangled theory.

    Tiger switching coaches at his age after being crazy good and dominant in his sport would be like a 26yr old Wayne Gretzky, after winning yet another Stanley Cup and all sorts of scoring records, deciding to relearn the way he skates on ice. Ridiculous and a waste of time/money.

    phew..off the soapbox. Longtime reader/very infrequent poster here on golfwrx

  21. Booger

    Jun 7, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Every photo of tiger this year shows him with a huge fake smile. Nice try publicist. A smile on the course is rare.

  22. Pat M

    Jun 7, 2015 at 12:10 am

    Is N*ke still going to keep selling this guy like he is a top player? At this point, he could not make it on the Web.com tour. The only things that could save his career is going back to Butch Harmon and rehiring Stevie Williams. If he does not do that, he is over. Lindsay Vonn knew it was over. She is a champion athlete and knows second place is for losers. tiger is what? 172nd in the world?

    • Pat M

      Jun 7, 2015 at 8:12 am

      It’s over. Either Tiger goes back to Butch and rehires Steve Williams (greatest caddy to play the game) or Tiger is over.

  23. MRC

    Jun 7, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Turn out the lights, the party’s over.

  24. BigBoy

    Jun 6, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    If he doesn’t get his life outside of golf right, his golfing days are over.
    He may want to start with 8 hours a day on the range, no matter what swing he has.

    • Pat M

      Jun 7, 2015 at 12:11 am

      He has to go back to Butch and rehire Steve Williams. Boy Joe Lacava made a big mistake leaving DJ.

  25. mhendon

    Jun 6, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    He’s not in denial, he’s just lying to the media and the rest of us. He’s lost his confidence plain and simple. He needs to quit using various instructors as a crutch and just start playing golf. First things first, get to where he has a one way miss then He’ll know where his ball is going. From there he can start rebuilding his confidence and that in turn will take pressure off his short game.

  26. joey5picks

    Jun 6, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Denial. 100% denial.

  27. RG

    Jun 6, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Dennis,
    I corresponded with you earlier this year about Tiger and his chipping woes. I told you that when I saw him up close in January at Tavistock I could see fear in his eyes when he went to chip.I could see the hesitancy and jittery movement in his eyes. This caused some debate because Tiger had said it was a technique issue and many on this forum agreed. You, on the other hand, got what I was saying. How clear does my statement appear now?
    This is what is ailing Tiger:
    It was to easy. We look at Tiger’s dominance and think,”Wow if only I could do that.” Let me tell you something, Domination get’s boring. When your that far ahead you need a reason to keep working and pushing. When a child or adult is not challenged they will invent challenge’s for themselves and this is what Tiger did. He decided to change his swing. This decision cost him because we now know that was a poor decision, and poor decisions damage the psyche. He told everyone the swing change was for physical reasons but that’s hogwash. If that’s true, why are you always hurt?
    Along the way he got caught cheating on his wife, which is even more damage to the psyche. This damaged psyche causes fear and doubt to creep into the mind. Tiger never experienced fear and doubt until he was well into his adult life. He has no coping mechanisms for these negative states.
    He is definitely in a state of denial. He definitely thinks he’s close.
    What does he need to do? Forgive himself and realize that he is human after all.

  28. ML

    Jun 6, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    Just like when he had the chipping yips

    Month later his short game was back after the whole world gathered to watch him chip for Christ sake

    He’ll make it back and I can’t stand the guy

    It’s one round and its golf

    Again he won a major with no driver eventually he’ll settle on some sort of swing thought and go back to playing golf

  29. jacob

    Jun 6, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    My old man always said one thing about golf, when you are playing good you never think you are going to play bad, and when you are playing bad you never think you are going to play good. Tiger era of the Tiger Slam dominance is over, he’s even admitted it. The thing is, I think we as spectators are in denial because we want to see him recapture that. But, he is being positive..but isn’t being positive a bit of denial in it’s own right? Denying the negative in life and focusing on the good?I’m sure he has some gas left in the tank. But I do believe he won’t start winning until he grinds again. When he decides to play as many tournaments as Phil or Rory he’ll be back.

    • Mat

      Jun 6, 2015 at 11:23 pm

      I can’t agree more. We hear all about the “mental game” being important. This guy has more mental game than anyone ever has. When it’s new success, “only he could have believed it”. When it’s failure after success, he’s “delusional”. Here’s the thing… it’s the same. He’s been the same, robotically focused guy. It’s everyone else that changes. Clearly he has issues, but do you think he’s going to say that in an interview now? Come on… never has, never will.

    • Pat M

      Jun 7, 2015 at 12:13 am

      As of today he is 172nd in the world? After this tourney he will be probably 200th in the world? He will be back? Yeah sure.

      • Mat

        Jun 7, 2015 at 3:20 am

        That’s not the point. The point isn’t whether he makes it back; the point is that he has a mental game we should all aspire to. What seems like denial will be his greatest ally. The results are still in doubt, obviously. But we all have the benefit of being objective. Why vilify the guy for doing what he’s supposed to?

        • Pat M

          Jun 7, 2015 at 8:15 am

          What mental game? He lost that a long time ago. He is not the toughest mentally. In golf you make cuts and shoot low scores. 85 does not cut it on any tour. He should consider the Hooters Tour.

    • Dennis Clark

      Jun 7, 2015 at 6:41 am

      Your old man said a mouthful. That is the essence of our game. It’s curse and its blessing!!

  30. Guia

    Jun 6, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    He is in Denial, and I don’t mean the river. He could have stuck with any of the 3 previous coaches and he would still be winning. He has drank his own koolaid and unfortunately believes he is bullet proof. He has come to believe that it is the swing that wins golf tournaments, it isn’t and never has been.
    I believe he is too proud to admit that this new method is just not working! He is the Captain of his own fate and will go down with the ship. He has forgotten how to play golf and how to score, and is now wrapped up in Technical Mumbo-Jumbo. Over coached.
    I have always been a Tiger fan (of his golf), however, now he has reached the John Daly plateau, people are watching to see how he will self-destruct. Very sad. I would love to eat my words, but it is doubtful.

  31. Double Mocha Man

    Jun 6, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    I think he still hits the same shots he used to hit… just not as often. That’s where the denial lies.

  32. Nice Impact

    Jun 6, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    I think Tiger truly does believe he’s close, or not far off. I don’t think it’s denial. I think that anyone who is good/great at what they do genuinely has to want to feel that way to keep themselves moving forward, knowing that it doesn’t help to give in to negative thinking; especially out loud. Most of us will feel this way about our own professions and hobbies in some aspect as we get older and our bodies don’t quite feel as consistent as our minds. In our minds, were still capable of what we once were until we’ve met enough resistance telling us otherwise. And even then, we’ll still swear we can “do it” (whatever “it” is). Agreed; his consistent best is behind him now, but he can/will still have some special moments if he can adjust. Of course, just my .02¢.

    • Dennis Clark

      Jun 6, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      good point; its hard to tell what that level player is thinking but affirming the negative is going the wrong way i think?

  33. Dennis Clark

    Jun 6, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    LOL…that’s the point though…did he really believe that when he said it?

  34. Johnny

    Jun 6, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Was his glutes activated??

  35. Dennis Clark

    Jun 6, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    me too, and Im HOPING he gets it sorted out…Im not ready to see history go away this soon!

    • Steve

      Jun 6, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      I think the ship has sailed. This isnt a case of getting close, it is a case of getting further away. The twenty something pros have no Tiger scar tissue. This season looks like a loss. Entering his forties the future is dim. He couldnt win on the WEB.com tour.

  36. stu

    Jun 6, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    de nial is not just a river in Africa!

  37. Matto

    Jun 6, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    An 85 surely is pure and simple, playing poorly? No press conference after that round either. I think HE even thought it might be tricky to put a positive spin on that round. I’m still a big fan.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Plenty to be thankful for

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golf course sand bunkers

This has always been my favorite week of the year, well, at least since I got old enough to understand that Christmas gifts do not just “appear” out of nowhere. I think that was about 60 years ago! This is the week of the year where, hopefully, we all take time to ponder the wonderful blessings of our lives.

No matter what 2022 might have brought you, I’m sure you can find at least a handful of blessings to be thankful for. My favorite holiday movie is a 1942 Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire film called Holiday Inn. If you haven’t seen it and enjoy old movie musicals, you might make it a “must see” this season. Besides being the movie where the classic White Christmas was introduced, there is a wonderful song for Thanksgiving called Plenty To Be Thankful For. It’s also a favorite of mine.

As I ponder my own year and the 70 years before it, I realize I have so many wonderful things to be thankful for. That starts with my blessing of good health. I find it remarkable to be on the north side of 70 and still have no issues. No prescription drugs. Only one visit to the hospital in my life, the result of a motor scooter incident when I was 13. A fabulous Mom and Dad, small town upbringing. A lifetime of great friends and the blessing of living in a small town on the Texas coast. And most recently, the entry of a great lady into my life that makes it all so very much better.

I have the opportunity to run a fledgling custom wedge company, Edison Golf, which allows me to challenge the entire category with different thinking. And I love writing this column every week to share the many lessons learned and observations made in this 40-year career in the golf club industry.

There are just so many things I cannot list them all. But right there with them is the blessing of the strength and flexibility to still move the golf ball around pretty good. To be able to still play to a low single digit handicap from the regular tees (no ‘senior tees’ for me, thank you), and test courses from the back tees occasionally is fun.
That last blessing comes straight from God, of course, but I “help Him out” by making stretching and fitness a part of my daily regimen for over 30 years. And that is something anyone can do to improve their golf scores.

As we all face the “off season” (even here in South Texas it gets cold and rainy occasionally), you can make the decision to have lower golf scores to be thankful for this time next year. Just because you are cooped up inside for the next few months doesn’t mean you have to forego golf and preparation for next year can begin right now.
I believe flexibility is more crucial to stronger shots and lower scores than strength. A simple internet search can turn up dozens of good guides to stretching for a longer, fuller and stronger golf swing. If you add a bit of endurance and strength training to that, it’s amazing what will happen to your golf fortunes. Nothing more complex than a daily walk and swinging a weighted club daily or several times a week will pay off big dividends when you can get out on a winter golf vacation or next season starts.

I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving, and I look forward to another year of being able to share my lessons from a lifetime in golf and over 40 years in the golf equipment industry. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Opinion & Analysis

2022 Fortinet Australian PGA Championship: Betting Tips & Selections

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Is Cam Smith in Oz the Jon Rahm of the Spanish Open?

The recent, dominating T2/winner of the DP World Tour Championship went off at around 9/4 to beat Tommy Fleetwood, Min Woo Lee and company in Madrid in October, eventually sauntering home by six shots and delighting home fans supporting his third win at his home Open.

This week, Smith looks like going off at much bigger (at 7/2) to beat a slightly fuller depth of field, again including Min Woo, to win his third Australian PGA, after going back-to-back in 2017 and 2018.

There is little left to say about the winner of the 150th Open Championship in terms of class, summarised by the run of T2/T10/T3 at the three most recent Masters, as well as wins at the Sony Open, Tournament of Champions and The Players.

Of course, his career year has also been hot with controversy, denying a move to LIV and then vehemently defending his right to join the Greg Norman-led tour a couple of weeks later, but that’s not our concern as bettors. Indeed, look at the way his presence has been received back home.

Smith’s local Brisbane Times reports that the 29-year-old superstar was the first golfer to be awarded the ‘keys to the city’ and will also probably get his desire of a LIV event in Queensland.

He’s huge news back home, and if we are looking back at that Rahm comparison, looks pretty big at over 3/1.

Smith, though, is a grinder, no matter how good of one, and whilst wins have come in decent numbers under par, he tends to win when the short game simply outlasts everyone else in tough conditions. I’m not certain he gets that here, where the winning score was 22-under last time (in January 2022), and examining his impressive victories, it’s worth noting that none of his six PGA Tour victories have been by more than a single shot, with his second Oz PGA by just a stroke further.

You can count the LIV victory as better than I do if you like. No complaints on that score, but following that win he’s gone 42nd and 22nd on LIV – beaten by a lot less a player than he faces this week.

The filthy each-way doubles look certain to be popular, with Smith across the card from Joburg fancies Bezhuidenhout and Lawrence, but in a light betting heat, I’ll take a chance with just a couple of wagers.

Just one outright for me this week.

Golf form site, tour-tips.com  rates Ryan Fox the number one this week, a short-head over Smith, and whilst he isn’t quite that elite class, his form shows he is plenty good enough to beat the favourite on his day, and hasn’t that much to find in comparison to Adam Scott, MIn Woo and Cam Davis, all of whom are rightfully respected and popular.

Fox is easy to precis.

In what has been a stellar season for the always-promising Kiwi, the 35-year-old has improved from around 200th in the world rankings at gthe start of ’22, to a current ranking well inside the world’s top-30, and certain of invites to all the most desired events.

Fox waltzed home by five shots in the desert at Ras Al Khaimah and won again by a stroke at the Dunhill Links, an event including tournament stalwarts Rory McIlroy, Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood. In between, Fox posted eight top-10 finishes including running-up in Belgium, at the Dutch Open, Irish Open and, just a couple of weeks ago, by a shot to Fleetwood and one of the latter’s favourite courses, the Gary Player GC.

Fox went into last week’s DP championship as a live contender for the title, which, given his commitment to the European Tour, would have been richly deserved. Perhaps that’s too political for here, though.

Either way, despite starting slowly in Dubai, he made his way up to 19th after four steadily improving rounds, enough to hold off Rahm from swapping places at the end-of-year rankings.

The silver medal is the least Fox should have got, and with a strong game on the sand-belt and a significant win in Queensland at the QLD PGA in 2018, challenging here should be a formality.

Fox has always had a strong driving game, and finding greens has rarely been an issue. However, he’s now gone from being one of the worst with the flat stick to ranking in the top-10 for putting average at even the toughest of courses.

I have the selection at the same price as Min Woo, who may have needed the run-out when a beaten 6/1 favourite here 11 months ago, so that 14/1 is simply too big to resist, especially as the latter has not won since July last year.

Fox can continue a big year for the Kiwis following Lydia Ko’s brilliant victory and subsequent crowning as this season’s LPGA queen.

The only other wager that appeals as a value pick is defending champion Jediah Morgan over Marc Leishman in a match bet.

Leish is a bit of a hero of mine, but it may sadly be time to give up on him as a serious potential winner in this class.

After a lucrative career, the 39-year-old came off a Covid slump to once again show up at Augusta over the last couple of years, but this has been a poor year.

There have been highlights – top-15 at the U.S Open, maybe – but he played poorly at River Highlands, in an event at which he historically does very well, and followed that with missed cuts at the Scottish Open and Open Championships, and midfield, don’t-write-home-about-it efforts at the first two FedEX play-off events.

Leishman is now at LIV, doing nicely ‘thank you’ and collecting $3 million for doing nothing much. In fact, his individual results gained him less ‘sole’ money than Pat Perez, another who caught onto the coat-tails of his teammates.

Respect to him, but Leishman isn’t going forwards these days, and will need the weather to turn bad if he is going to be able to live with some of these birdie machines.

Count Jediah Morgan as one of those birdie machines.

Although he produced a 100-1 shock in January when winning this event in just his fourth event as a professional, Morgan did it in some style.

The 22-year-old recorded three rounds of 65/63/65 to take a nine shot lead into Sunday, and simply went further clear, crossing the line 11 shots clear of Andrew Dodt, himself with plenty of previous in this grade at home, and a further shot clear of Min Woo.

In 2020 Morgan had won the Australian Amateur around this course, beating Tom McKibbin (see Joburg preview for his chances over there) by 5 & 3, an event that has thrown up Cam Smith amongst other multiple international winners, and whilst he hasn’t shown his best lately, returning to a venue he knows so well should be to his big advantage.

Morgan was one of the surprise signings to LIV Golf, although, as he admits, he “didn’t have much in my schedule,” given his exemption to the DP World Tour didn’t kick in till the 2023 season, plus it gave him the chance to compete at Centurion Club for LIV London – “The field is nice and strong so it’s a cool format to see how I shape up.”

Morgan has played every event since, although mixing it up with sporadic entries and invites onto the PGA, DP and Asian tours do not help a young golfer settle.

His Dunhill Links effort wasn’t bad – a 76 on that horrendous day two the cause of his eventual missed cut – but 25th and 13th at the last two events are as good as Leishman produced at the same events.

Leish has the back-form and the class but looks on the way down, and while the attention of being defending champ could overawe the younger man, he has put up with ‘Golf, but louder’ for a few months now.

I have these much closer than the prices suggest, so take the 8/5 in a match.

Recommended Bets:

  • Ryan Fox 14/1 Each -Way
  • Jediah Morgan to beat Marc Leishman -72 holes – 8/5 
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Opinion & Analysis

TourPutt – The secret of the pros?

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Driver vs. Putter: Your Choice?

If you were granted one golf-related superpower, which would you choose? The ability to hit 300-yard drives straight down the fairway all the time, or never 3-putt again?

Bobby Locke, one of the greatest putters in the game, said to ‘drive for show, but putt for dough’ And when you consider that the putter is the most used club in the bag, it seems like a no-brainer. But then again, according to Mark Brodie and his ‘strokes gained’ method, a long, straight driver may be more important to saving strokes. So what would you choose?

For me, I wouldn’t hesitate to go with the putting skills as I am currently suffering from the worst case of yips I’ve ever experienced in over 30 years. Sure, it’d be nice to outdrive the guys in my regular foursome, but I don’t think I can live down the shame of missing inside of 3ft all day, every day. And with no genie in site, I have searched high and low for that perfect putter that can cure my woes.

After trying nearly 50 putters over the past two years and enduring numerous snide remarks to get putting lessons instead, I finally gave in. I bit the bullet and sought professional help from Jong-hwan Choi, Korea’s number one putting coach to the pros.

Choi’s resume includes LynnBlake Master Instructor certification, AimPoint LV3, PuttDoctor, MichaelHebron Neuro Learning for Golf, and many others.

Choi is an accomplished Tour putting coach who has made a name for himself through relentless research and dedication to master his chosen craft. Thus far, the pros and elite amateurs he helped have won a total of 350 tournaments, including KPGA, KLPGA, and LPGA wins. He is so popular that it can take up to a year to book a lesson with the man himself, but I was desperate. After pulling all the strings I can muster, I was able to get an interview with him in the hopes of getting some help
with my flat stick.

When the day finally came, I arrived at Choi’s academy armed with 3 of my current best-performing putters. I was eager to glean the secrets of the pros and to find out which of these best fit my stroke. I was greeted by Choi and briefly shown around the spacious academy, which had a large flat putting surface and some basic training aids that are common online. Upon chatting about Choi’s background and teaching philosophy, he reminded me of the motivational speaker Tony Robbins. He was constantly emphasizing positivity and proactive learning reinforced with hard work and dedication towards self-growth – that skills are built, not born. Sure, I get that.

But surely, preaching alone doesn’t improve (my) putting?

TourPutt: The Secret of the Pros?

When Choi offered (after some subtle arm twisting) to look at my putting, I was puzzled when he pulled out a tablet rather than some kind of putting trainer. I figured maybe he was going to film me first, then point out some flaws on the monitor. Nope.

We were going high-tech for this one. We were joined by his friend and business partner Chan-ki Kim, a software engineer who co-developed TourPutt, a state-of-the-art putting training system.

According to the dynamic duo, TourPutt was developed to accurately assess a player’s putting tendencies, habits, and skills utilizing big data and A.I. Rather than second-guessing and trying to identify the faults, Tour Putt acts like an MRI machine that shows the doctor where to problem lies. Once the diagnosis is made, Choi would bring to bear his extensive experiences to cure the ailing putter. Sounded simple to me. But how would it know what my problem was?

As Choi’s fingers danced over the tablet in his hand, the TourPutt sprang into action and a small circle the size of a hole-cup appeared on the artificial putting surface. As I surveyed the circle of light beamed from a ceiling projector, Choi asked me a question I hadn’t considered before. ‘Which breaks are you most comfortable with on short putts? What are the odds that you make them?’ Taking my blank look as his cue, Choi proceeded to explain the process of mapping my putting pattern to gauge my stren gths and weaknesses.

To begin, I was directed to putt a golf ball into a hole from 36 random locations ranging from 3 to 6 ft. A ball tracking camera with two projectors mounted on the ceiling rendered various crisp, clear images onto the putting surface. Prior to start, I was informed that the putting surface was sloped 3% from top to bottom. So if you were to imagine a clock face, the 12 o’clock location would be a 3° downhill straight putt, while 6 o’clock would be a 3° uphill straight putt.

As I am right-handed, all putts from the left side of the 3 o’clock would be a hook like, and the left side a slice lie, all to varying degrees. When I asked why it was fixed at 3%, Kim explained that tour regulation greens don’t allow for more than a 3 degree slope within 6ft of the hole. Also, most amateur golfers had a difficult time detecting such a small amount of slope, and thereby misjudge the breaks to a higher score.

Knowing Where to Tap

After the pattern test began, it took me a little over 20 minutes to complete a total of 36 putts at random locations. I was quite conscious of the many eyes on my performance and equally frustrated at how often I was missing putts despite my best efforts. After I was done, Choi pulled up my results, or key performing index (KPI), on a large screen TV where I was able to see exactly where I was effective in my short putts. In brief, I had a tough time with both hook and slice lie putts. I showed slightly better results with uphill straight and slice putts, but absolutely nothing to write home about.

Now, I’m sure many of you are familiar with the story of the plumber who was called to fix a steam pipe. After looking around the pipes and tapping a couple of valves, he charged $200 for his services. When the irate customer demanded to know why it cost so much and asked for a detailed breakdown of the services, the plumber replied, ‘$10 for tapping, $190 for knowing precisely where to tap.’

As such, my results from the pattern test were eye-opening. I’ve never known what lie I was more effective at, much less the percentage of probable success. For example, the more often I use TourPutt to practice or diagnose my putting, the more accurately it can diagnose my skills. Thus, I can pinpoint which area to improve through practice, as well as try to get the ball to an area I am more likely to save par.

Wow. This was tour pro stuff. Was this the secret of the pros?

The green area indicates a successful putt and the red is where I missed. The numbers show how long it took me to strike the putt after being instructed by a bell sound.

I was starting to get heady with the possibilities this digital marvel was able to provide. It took both of them to bring me down to earth again by informing me that knowing the areas of improvement is only half the battle.

For the actual tapping part, Choi and Kim then walked me through the many innovative features of TourPutt focused on helping me improve my putting. I was mesmerized by the detailed graphics that flashed all over the putting surface.

I was already impressed with the diagnostic aspects of TourPutt, but upon seeing the actual features to help me improve my putting, I was doubly blown away. From reading the green speed and breaks accurately to effective swing tempo and motion tracking, the system seemed straight out of the future.

Putting from variations of the 3% slope helps golfers to get a better feel the greens, a skill that can translate onto reading the breaks on actual greens.

Before TourPutt came into being, Choi was frustrated with the difficulty in collecting crucial data from an actual green as it was difficult to find a flat area to map his student’s patterns. When he discussed the matter with Kim back in 2019, Kim immediately became interested in ways to mesh modern technology and A.I. driven data to the art of putting. As an elite level golfer with extensive knowledge in the fields of VR and AR (virtual and augmented reality), Kim understood right away the issues faced by Choi and how he could help.

Delving deep into Choi’s experience and insights, Kim designed the TourPutt’s interface to yield accurate and reliable data that can be cross-checked, correlated, and compared across past and future performances. Best of all, TourPutt and its proprietary app feature the ability to keep track of all of my performance from any TourPutt system and access the data anywhere at any time. I could even replay all of my past putts and see the speed and the path it took, and compare them with other golfer’s data in the system. Mind. Blown.

Kim further explained that this feature of collecting real-world significant big data is one of the biggest advantages of TourPutt, and enables it to evolve further with every putt stored in its vast database.

The app can be used in both English and Korean, and can keep track of my performance and improvements.

The Student Becomes The Teacher

Once the flaws are identified, we moved on to the more traditional slow-motion video to see what I was doing wrong to miss the putts. For me, I kept too much weight on the back foot, and also needed more forward press to keep the putter head online through impact.

After several minutes of drill to correct the issues, I was holing the putts much better. The data from the second pattern test confirmed the improvement, and I was also shown the actual paths that my two putts took before and after the fix. All in all, being able to verify that the diagnosis was correct with immediate results, all backed by data was highly reassuring and enlightening. But what if these improvements were short-lived? That as soon as I walk out of Choi's presence, the magic evaporates and my crappy putting returns? I can’t tell you how often a club I thought was the answer to my prayers devolved into an ordinary stick as soon as I paid for it. It’s downright uncanny how often this happens.

To this end, Choi gave me a glimpse of hope. He assured me that since I was investing time into my skills and not money into more equipment, it will definitely last longer. Also, the coaching provided by Choi is reflected in each and every putt I had made since the lesson and recorded as part of my putting profile. So if I were to stray from the ‘good’ putts, the system can be used to bring me back on track. And if this cycle of improvement continues, I would be able to be my own teacher and
eventually practice effectively and independently on my own.

Honestly, I don’t know about this part. After all, I too know that the right diet and exercise will give me a six-pack; but knowing and doing it are two separate things. In the end, how effective any tool can depend on how well I make use of it, so it will have to remain to be seen. What I can say with certainty, however, is that TourPutt seems to work for a lot of people. Choi’s students continue to post wins on various tours with regularity, each crediting him with their improved putting performance. In turn, Choi credits his partner Kim and TourPutt’s growing database for accurate diagnosis and self-learning.

ToutPutt and its built-in sensors are capable of sensing where the lies have changed. The self-learning A.I. system actively adjusts for the changes to the putting surface, thereby eliminating the need for recalibration.

In Korea, the art of putting has found its poster child in Choi, with more and more golf academies and private studios installing TourPutt for its members. Several local tour pros and top amateurs have also installed the not-so-cheap system in their homes and have said to benefit from the move. Remember when Tiger showed up one day at the range with his own Trackman? I would imagine having a TourPutt in your basement is something like that, but I can only guess. I don’t have a personal Trackman either.

Choi attends seminars all over the world each year to continue his improvement in putting instruction.He is currently working on compiling his own training and certification program to impart to a new generation of would-be putting gurus.

Now that I know where I need to improve on, does this mean I will be taking money off my foursome buddies with alarming regularity? Well, let me see. I signed up for pilates a few months ago and found out exactly where I need to work on for more flexibility. But as I still creak all over when bending over to tie my shoes, I’d guess my putting won’t miraculously improve right away neither. But hey, that’s on me. I’ll just have to start working on the tapping part. Anyone looking to buy some used putters?

For more information on TourPutt from the man himself, check out the video below.

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