AUGUSTA, Ga. — It wasn’t until last week that we realized Tiger Woods teeing it up in the Masters was even a remote possibility. And then, we started getting our first glimpses of him.
New shoes, yes, but only the slightest sign of a limp. His golf swing looked good, too. And on the driving range his clubhead speed was cruising in the mid 170s — which, considering his PGA Tour average was 178 mph the year before he won, was astonishing.
Naturally, it didn’t take long for people to start pondering the previously unthinkable: Could Tiger actually win? Or at the very least, contend?
“I do,” he said, simply. Perhaps ominously for the rest of the field.
Yet the goal for Tiger remains the same: Navigating his new reality that his horrifying car accident last February brought. The reconstructive surgery on his left leg, for all its benefits, left him with very limited range of motion in was that can inhibit his golf swing — specifically, his ability to rotate his hips.
“With the rods and plates and screws that are in my leg … I have very limited mobility now with the hardware in there,” he says. “Will I feel better? Yes, I will. I’m going to get stronger, and the whole limb will get stronger. But my movement probably will not get much better,” he said on what he expects going forward in regards to his leg.”
Nevertheless, Tiger Woods’ golf swing looks in fantastic shape. We got an up close look at it on the 8th hole on Wednesday ahead of the 2022 Masters, captured here by our photographer Stephen Denton. Needless to say, it looks better than any of us could have hoped or imagined. And watching it grace the fairways once again is a gift to golf — no matter where he finishes on the leaderboard.
Interesting that Tiger’s front foot is flared out towards the target, which helps give him more mobility in his hips through the ball.
Tiger’s clubhead is outside his hands, and his body is turning. This is what GOLF Top 100 Teacher Jamie Mulligan calls a “loaded takeaway.”
We can see him starting to load into his trail hip here — which he told Golf Digest is a big key for him post-injury and something his new shoes are helping him do.
4. Top of the backswing
Picture perfect at the top.
Getting fully loaded into his trail help stops him from spinning out too early here, getting stuck and missing shots out to the right.
Tiger told Golf Digest here that his “main thought is to push down into the ground and clear my hips.”
You can sort of see Tiger’s limited ability to rotate through here. His arms are exiting a little higher than his younger, more supple, pre-injury swings.