As of late there has been a lot of buzz around Tiger again.
In late August Tiger parted ways with his recent swing coach Sean Foley saying “I’d like to thank Sean for his help as my coach and for his friendship (…)”. Then there was the debacle about the fake interview by Dan Jenkins on Golf Digest which even triggered a response from a slightly annoyed Tiger.
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And finally this November Tiger announced via twitter that he will be working together with Chris Como having him as his new swing consultant.
Notice that he says Como will be his swing consultant.
If that’s just semantics or if he deliberately avoided the word “coach” we’ll see when we get to know more about there professional relationship.
The anouncement came as kind of a surprise because he stated on his blog that he will probably work alone for the time being.
You might be wondering what a golf legend like Tiger can learn from a relatively young golf instructor like Como. Well, it’s all about perspective, I guess.
Tiger doesn’t need somebody to tell him how to swing a golf club, that’s for sure.
It’s more about tweaking his game so he’ll be able to bounce back from his pretty unsuccessful year of 2014 without the risk of any new injuries.
Anybody who’s had any kind of back pain knows how wrecking this can be to your golf swing, not even talking about the rest of your life.
Here’s a quick video from the PGA tour showing Tiger working together with Como prior to the 2014 Hero World Challenge which will be Tigers first Tournament since August 2014:
So who’s this Chris Como Guy?
Just after the announcement from Tiger, Como moved into the bright spotlight of the golf world.
According to a friend of Como he’s come a long way moving all around the country to learn from top instructors while taking nightclasses for his masters in biomechanics.
And biomechanics is the important keyword here. Como seems to have a strong scientific background which is probably the number one reason why Tiger Woods is consulting with him.
Sports biomechanics is all about applying the laws of mechanics to human movement with the goal of understanding and improving performance while reducing injuries.
Well, sounds exactly like what Tiger might be looking for right now. He needs someone that can tell him how he can play competitively while putting as little stress on his body as possible.
Your first lesson with Chris Como and Dr. Sasho MacKenzie
If you want to know how Como’s coaching might actually look like you can watch the following video.
It’s a presentation of him together with Dr. Sasho MacKenzie (a golf research scientist) talking about the results of a study MacKenzie did in 2012.
But beware the video is some 20 minutes long and pretty heady stuff. If you don’t want to invest the time to watch it (Which you should ;-) )
Here’s the gist of it:
In general a laid off shaft at the start of the downswing promotes a better squaring opportunity with good hand path.
Or in plain English: If you try to let the weight of the clubhead drop at the turning point of your swing you’re more likely to hit the ball well (because you’ve got a hard time to come steep into the ball this way).
You should really try it. This especially helps people who are swinging way too steep and to the left – hitting a lot of cuts.
If you struggle with a lot of slices and pulled shots this simple action will help you to get the club more around your body and synching up your arms. This way you’ll avoid that dreaded over the top motion and get into the ball better.
Here’s the video:
For all the super golf nerds out there (like me), you can download the paper that’s being talked about by clicking the button below (All copyrights belong to Dr. Sasho MacKenzie, of course!):
MacKenzie 2012 Club position relative to the golfer’s swing plane meaningfully affects swing dynamics.pdf
And here’s another demonstration which is kind of weird. In this video Chris Como’s jumping from a tower into a pool while swinging a golf club to demonstrate the importance of a solid ground in the golf swing. It’s a overly dramatic demonstration that most of the power in the golf swing is leveraged from the ground up (And that golfing in mid-air is even more difficult ;-) ):
More Tips From Chris Como
Como has also done some work for Golf Digest and Golf.com. He was listed as one of the 40 top teachers under age 40 by Golf Digest. They also listed his price at $1,500 for a half-day. And this was even before Tiger’s announcement.
So the following tips are very valuable. ;-)
But seriously. I especially like the one about throwing an uppercut instead of a hook.
If you’ve done any kind of martial arts or boxing you’ll instantly understand the difference in feel and motion.
And I always think visual analogies help people to understand the golf swing better.
Did Sean Foley Hurt Tiger’s Game?
Sean Foley had a difficult task as Hank Haney’s successor.
Arguably even more difficult than Haney himself had as the successor of Butch Harmon.
In some respects he has a somewhat similar approach to Como as Foley’s also known for claiming a scientific approach to the golf swing.
In my opinion the changes made by Foley didn’t hold up or work well with Tiger’s game.
In the end you can’t play golf by numbers alone otherwise the Iron Byron golf robot would be world number one.
With Foley Tiger became a fade-biased golfer for the first time in his career although his stock shot was always the draw.
Geometric precision never was and never will be the key to great golf. Things like “The Golf Machine” and other swing cults promote the truth claiming to be scientific when at a closer look the theories can’t be proven.
What Does the Future Hold for Tiger?
You may think about the fake interview by Dan Jenkins what you may but there were some uncomfortable and valid questions in there.
One of those was if Tiger’s getting to old to win another major? Tiger will be 39 in December and only three players have won a major at the age of 44 yet.
Game Over! That’s what many people were shouting at the end of this season just as they were around the time of the Tigergate- scandal in 2009.
But Tigers fans still want to believe.
The clock is ticking, racing in fact and the numbers are against him.
The game and technology has evolved, Tiger’s getting older and the competition is fierce. He’s got lots of work to do to get his swing up to par without the risk of another injury.
But then again you never know, because it’s Tiger.
If there’s a man in golf that can beat all the records it’s him. And Chris Como might just be the key for him to reinvent himself.
What do you think about Chris Como and Tiger’s future?
Do you think he can help Tiger to bounce back in the next season? Do you even care? Let me know in the comments section below and share via twitter and facebook if you liked this article.
Nice article Greg,
I think the move to a new coach is good. Hopefully they’ll work on making Tiger’s swing more efficient with less effort so he can prolong his career and remain healthy.
No reason why he can’t return to the top and start winning tournaments again. Judging by his new swing he looks a good chance to return to the winner’s circle.
yeah you’re right.
Hopefully he stays healthy once he’s playing with a full schedule again.
He just can’t afford to miss another season due to injuries.
I think the move to a new coach is good.