How Tiger warms up: A minute-by-minute breakdown of his pre-round practice routine

November 30, 2018

ALBANY, The Bahamas — Even casual golf fans are familiar with Tiger Woods’s tournament-round rituals — how he stalks a birdie putt, for example, or twirls his club after a pure strike. Less well documented is what Woods does before his rounds, i.e., how he warms up. To answer that question, we shadowed Tiger as he prepared for the opening round of the Hero World Challenge on Thursday. Here’s how it went down, but first, a disclaimer: We did our best to approximate distances, but they’re not perfect. Take yardages with a grain of salt.

10:38 a.m. Arrives on putting green, signs autograph.

10:39 a.m. Caddie Joe LaCava arrives. Tiger marks 12 balls, putting one black line on each. Drops six balls on the green, puts other six in bag.

10:42 a.m. Rolls first putts of the day: two 12-footers; moves to six feet, rolls five putts with right hand only to check line.

10:44 a.m. Sets up gate putting drill, in which he swings his putter head through a “gate” created by two tees in the ground; continues rolling putts with right hand.

10:45 a.m. Switches to two hands, rolls putts six at a time. No words, focused.

10:49 a.m. Removes tees. Moves to 10 feet, different angle, rolls two putts.

10:50 a.m. Moves to 30 feet, two more putts. Doesn’t use full routine.

10:51 a.m. Brief chat with Henrik Stenson. Putts to hole 60 feet away, leaves himself two 5-footers, putts out, makes both.

10:52 a.m. Moves to 8 feet, jars both. Moves to different angle from 8 feet, misses both. Moves to downhill 15-footer, burns edge on one, leaves himself a foot for another.

10:54 a.m. Hits a 40-footer downhill, lags both to a few inches, taps in.

10:55 a.m. Leaves putting green by sneaking under gallery rope.


10:57 a.m. Moves to the short-game practice area and hits first chips of the day: 56-degree wedge, three chips to a straightforward short pin. Follows that with three long chips with plenty of green to work with and three more chips to a middle pin.

10:59 a.m. One more chip to near pin, switches to 60-degree wedge. One to short pin, one to long pin and makes it. Crowd applauds. One more to long pin, lower trajectory.

11:00 a.m. Switches to short-sided pin over bunker. Alternates between high flops and lower spinny shots.

11:01 a.m. Grabs bucket of balls, moves to bunker. Tosses in 15 balls.

11:02 a.m. High soft shots to short-sided pin, burns the edge of second ball.

11:03 a.m. Switches to pin further away, hits a couple of shots. Switches to second short sided pin, five balls, all within 6 feet.

11:04 a.m. Returns to first pin, three shots

11:05 a.m. Grabs handful of balls, tosses them outside of bunker. First two shots are high flops, third a low spinner. Moves to longer hole, hits two shots.

11:06 a.m. Grabs three balls. Hits high flops over John Rahm’s head, who’s hitting shots in the bunker, to a second short-sided pin.

11:07 a.m. Takes a slug of water, grabs bucket of balls and heads to the range. Swarm of crowd follows. Hits handful of pitches starting at about 40 yards and stretching to about 100.

11:11 a.m. Hits four balls aiming at parked range picker about 100 yards away, followed by about two full shots to a pin. Switches to short iron, full swings practicing to a target into left to right crosswind.

11:15 a.m. Takes a break to drink more water, eat a banana and check phone.

11:17 a.m. Returns to range; alternate shots hitting fades, draws.

11:20 a.m. Switches to a mid-iron, puts on sunglasses.

11:21 a.m. Resumes hitting balls. Hits one shot, removes sunglasses, hits a few more.

11:23 a.m. Wipes off face of his iron, puts sunglasses back on, takes break to chat with LaCava.

11:24 a.m. Removes sunglasses, resumes hitting balls with a long iron. Two shots.

11:25 a.m. Pulls fairway wood and hits a few shots practicing downwind left-to-right wind for first time.

11:27 a.m. Talks to LaCava, consults yardage book, hits another shot, checks phone.

11:29 a.m. Resumes hitting balls, hits one draw with his full routine. Pulls 3-wood. Hits two shots off the ground and two more off the tee.

11:31 a.m. Takes a break to wipe face, puts on sunglasses and eats an energy bar. Checks phone.

11:34 a.m. Resumes hitting balls with 3-wood off tee.

11:35 a.m. Pulls driver, hits one draw and one fade.

11:37 a.m. Stops to talk with Justin Thomas, who’s hitting balls next to him.

11:38 a.m. Resumes hitting balls. Hits one shot, takes break to talk with caddy. Resumes hitting balls.

11:41 a.m. Puts driver back in bag, pulls wedge. Hits a handful of shots, working from about 100 down to about 40 yards.

11:44 a.m. Pulls driver. Full routine, stripes it. Puts driver back in bag, puts on sunglasses, grabs remaining bucket of balls and wedge and returns to chipping green.

11:46 a.m. Hits three chip shots to three different pins of different angles and distances.

11:48 a.m. Walks back to putting green.

11:49 a.m. Two putts from about 12 feet. Two more 12-footers different angle, followed by two more from another angle.

11:51 a.m. Shakes Dustin Johnson’s hand, wishes him luck. Jars two more right-to-left 12-footers. Returns to same spot, makes them both again.

11:53 a.m. Talks to DJ, puts glasses on then takes them off and returns to the same putt. Makes one and misses one.

11:54 a.m. Takes two putts from 60 feet. First to about a foot, second to about three feet. Doesn’t finish out.

11:55 a.m. Hits downhill 60-footers left-to-right, both to about a foot.

11:56 a.m. Hits two uphill 60-footers to about two feet. Stops to talk to Bryson DeChambeau to learn about aiming drill he’s working on, chats with Hero CEO Pawan Munjal. Drills two 4-footers.

11:57 a.m. Hits two 25-footers to a couple of feet. Pulls both. Walks back to about 4 feet, drills both. Leaves putting green, heads to 1st tee.

11:59 a.m. Arrives on 1st tee; hands signed balls to volunteers.

12:o5 p.m. Strikes first tee shot.

The PGA Tour also produced a great video on Tiger’s pre-round routine that you can check out below; it includes a handy breakdown of all Tiger’s warm-up totals.

Check it out: