Does Tiger Have The Yips?

I don’t think so. Nor do a number of other folks with serious golf smarts including Tour Putting Guru Marius Filmalter.

Of late these short pitches have spawned more frowns than smiles

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Check out Marius’s recent article on where he clearly believe’s Tiger’s short game problems are not neurological but a matter of proper technique confidently applied. He should know since his client list includes a who’s who of top global players from the PGA, European, L.P.G.A and Champion’s tours.

I for one think Marius has it right. In spite of his pathetic short game performances at the Hero’s Challenge In December and the Waste Management and Farmer’s more recently there is really nothing in his short game that resembles the yips to me. Tiger has simply lost his way on short swing technique. But the question is why?

For me the answer lies in Tiger’s unrealistic quest for golf perfection. He not only wants be the best player the game has ever seen but he wants to have the perfect golf swing as well. Throughout the early part of his career he repeatedly said he wanted to “own his swing” in a Hogan-like sense. For a guy who pretty much had the perfect swing back in 2000 under the tutelage of B.H. he has repeatedly wandered from expert to expert in search of something more perfect. The bad news is that the more he has tried to refine his swing the further from the truth he has found himself.

I buy the fact that as he says, his current short game performance problems are because he cannot synchronize his new little swing pattern to bottom out properly. But the question is why try? It may be inherent that a player’s big swing and little swing tend to look alike but it does not have to be that way.

As Phil said in comments about Tiger’s pitching woes, “There’s only one way to chip effectively. So regardless of how you swing the club, regardless of how you putt, there’s only one way to chip, because the leading edge on a 60-degree wedge is coming into the ball first. And everything you do chipping is to get, keep the leading edge down. So there’s three or four fundamentals on chipping that everybody has to do to chip well. No matter who you are. And it has nothing to do with your swing.”

He needs to forget about synchronizing methods of his long and short swings and focus on the fundamentals of quality short game shots that are the same for all players, regardless of swing principles.

Tiger’s never ending quest to reinvent his big swing to meet his latest sense of perfection has leaked into what was the best short game on tour and wreaked havoc. Marius is correct when he says Tiger needs to get back to fundamental sound technique around the greens and harmonize it with the self awareness that he is doing it properly.

It is time for Tiger to stop soliciting the advice of any tour player within earshot and listen to the familiar voice of a short game expert he knows. If he brings this short game to Augusta, the most demanding tight lie short game shot course in the world, he will not break 80.

(Click to read the Marius Filmalter article “Tiger Woods Does Not Have The Yips”)

February, 2015

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