Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Tiger working through swing issues
By Bob Harig
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tiger Woods didn't take any questions Wednesday at Quail Hollow, a much-discussed stance that might have brought him more acrimony -- and the Wells Fargo Championship more attention -- than had he gone through with the usual routine media session on the eve of a tournament.
Instead, Woods answered a bunch of fan questions for a video posted on his website earlier this week, and one of those asked him about the difference between his swing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which he won, and the Masters, where he had his worst finish as a pro, a tie for 40th.
Woods said that his ball-striking issues "had to do with my posture,'' and while he wasn't talking Wednesday after the pro-am for the Wells Fargo Championship, his coach, Sean Foley, did discuss it.
"The problem is they feel every day they stand the same, but if you look at pictures every day over seven days, you would notice incremental differences,'' said Foley while Woods played the front nine Wednesday.
The tournament begins Thursday and Woods tees off at 1:25 p.m. ET along with Webb Simpson and Geoff Ogilvy.
Woods and Foley got back to work April 16 and spent a good part of the past two weeks sorting out the issues that led to the poor performance at the Masters, where Woods failed to break par in any round.
He returns to a Quail Hollow course where he won in 2007, but missed the cut two years ago in his last appearance at the event.
"The problem is you try to get comfortable -- that's the goal of the brain,'' Foley said. "And comfort sometimes means bad habits. His old posture creeps in. It worked with [former coach Hank] Haney's pattern, but it doesn't work with this pattern.
"He gets too tall, too much on his heels, too much knee flex ... and when he tried to put the ball up into the air, he tried to do it the old way. The old way is fine. But when you mix half of that with half of this, they're not agreeing. They're not in alignment with each other.''
Woods complained during the Masters about getting caught up between two swings, and said during a brief conversation on the course Wednesday that he was pleased with the progress he's made in the past few weeks.
Despite Woods' woes at Augusta National, he is first on the PGA Tour in scoring average, second in total driving and ninth in strokes gained-putting. He has a victory at Bay Hill, a second at the Honda Classic and he was also third in Abu Dhabi.
Foley said that "if you take [away] two strokes on three different Sundays going back to last November, he's got five victories in his last eight tournaments. So I'm very happy with the evolution of it. But there needs to be some patience.''
As for this week, Foley said he wouldn't be surprised to see Woods do well.
"He's played beautifully for most of the year,'' he said. "My expectation is that he's going to hit the ball well. For 23 holes [at the Masters], he didn't. It's not the end of the world, and he realizes that. It was a good opportunity to see that, and now we're working on it. Posture will be a big topic, but it's not overly technical at all.''
Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.