The System that made a Mouse out of a Tiger
Where to begin? Full-swing or short game? Everything was so un-Tiger-like at the 2015 Phoenix Waste Management event. Under pressure, his full-swing simply went back to default mode based on what he’d been doing for the past few years.
Imagine a mouse which has been in a rat trap for a long time. If the cage door is open, it does not simply run out of its cage. It looks around, sniffs around, and then might either bolt from the cage or run right back inside straight into its comfort zone. The mouse has no way of knowing what is in its best interests - freedom and perhaps a new set of survival problems, or the cage and lifelong captivity.
The problem lies not with any of Tiger’s coaches or himself, he is still one of the greatest golfers ever. The problem lies with the entire ‘traditional’ golf swing system. ‘Traditional’ here meaning any backswing which involves a simultaneous horizontal rotation of the body and vertical movement of the arms; requires the lead side to drop down in the hip, knee and ankle and requires a lot of forward bend of the body to achieve the latter. These aspects are true of all swings being made today whether they are ‘traditional traditional’ or ‘stack and tilt traditional’.
Basically there is too much movement involved, in too many directions, which must happen all together. Whatever combination of moves the golfer tries to make results in a slightly different set of start-of-downswing compensatory moves, and herein lies the problem.
The golfer’s brain must decide which to accomplish first in the limited time span of the downswing - slide sideways to bring body weight into position; or drop the trail side down; or rotate? Then the brain must decide where the arms and wrists must be in relation to all that body motion. Under pressure, when muscles contract faster and more forcefully because of an increase in hormone levels, everything changes.
The ‘traditional’ golf swing requires the golfer’s brain to make too many choices. What is required is a movement of very limited choices, with most of them being accomplished before the backswing even begins, and one move leading to the next in a domino-effect so the brain has very little to control.
Simply put, why do more than needed? Why lift the trail side up only to drop it down? Why drop the lead side just to lift it up? And so many more ‘whys’.
Let’s take a look at what is actually needed for downswing success. The body (legs, hips, torso, shoulder girdle) produces the power and club speed, and the arms (shoulders, forearms and hands) control club path and face and thus direction. The only link in their roles, then, is the shoulder girdle. Where the shoulder-girdles face, there go the arms.
It is thus obvious that it is mainly the body’s position at any given time which can control both itself and the direction of motion of the arms. Why not position the body in advance of the start of the backswing so that all that’s left is for the arms to move where they now have no choice but to move, and from where they cannot interfere in the role of the body?
All body parts should be set for their downswing role - of harnessing the by-now-famous ground-reaction-forces! Then all the arms have to do is move within a limited ‘channel’ which assures they will arrive at the ball from the inside and at the correct angle.
The ‘traditional’ golf swing must go - and soon - before golf loses even more popularity than it already has, and before more and more leading athletes succumb to injury because of too many conflicting moves during the downswing.
The mouse will never run out of it’s cage when faced with the prospect of an unknown future, and thus the Tiger might never roar again.