One of the reasons Tiger gave for leaving Harmon was that he wanted to “own” his swing like Lee Trevino and Ben Hogan did. I’ve played golf for 35 years, and I honestly can’t tell you what that means. Was his swing rented? Leased with an option to buy?
Tiger said he felt he could get better, but maybe he didn’t consider the possibility of getting worse. After all, for a long time, everyone on tour knew they were playing for second place. Unless Tiger could figure out a way to eagle every hole, that’s as good as it gets.
Almost equally as confusing as leaving Butch when he was on top of the world was Tiger’s decision to work with Hank Haney. Hank’s swing philosophy is so much different from Butch’s, or really anyone else’s. Here’s a quote from Hank Haney’s book, “The Big Miss,” which he wrote after the two parted ways. He said that by learning his method, it “would mean that (Tiger would) be much less likely to win by 10, but he’d be more likely to simply win.”
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Excuse me? Did he say that Tiger would win more by shooting higher scores? That’s not how golf works!
Since leaving Hank in 2010, Tiger has gone on to work with Sean Foley and most recently Chris Como, trying to find a way to get back to controlling the ball and winning the way he used to. When he was at his best, it appeared golf was effortless to him. Watching him play at Augusta and Sawgrass, taking loads of practice swings before each shot, his golf game sure didn’t look effortless to me.
I’m reminded of a conversation I had with Dr. Bob Rotella, a highly respected sports psychologist, about Tiger when he was at his best.
“It looks like Jack’s major wins record is going to be shattered,” I said.