Why Tiger Woods’ swing was ‘the best’ it’s been in a while, according to Butch Harmon

Tiger Woods tees off on the 11th hole at Medalist Golf Club.

Tiger Woods hits a "stinger" shot on the 11th hole during The Match: Champions for Charity.

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On the par-4 11th hole at Medalist Golf Club a few weeks ago, Tiger Woods took out a low iron and whistled a low shot down the center of the fairway. One of his “stingers.” As he bent down to pick up his tee before the ball landed, a move you relaxingly do when all you need to know is that your ball is somewhere in the middle, his hand met the bottom of the red ball tracker the broadcast used, looking almost as if Woods lit a firecracker.

“Pretty sweet,” Tom Brady, one of his opponents in The Match: Champions for Charity, said as he watched. 

“The Tiger stinger. Should be perfect,” Trevor Immelman, one of the event’s announcers, said. 

“It’s really fun following you, Tiger,” Brady said. Woods grinned. 

The tee shot was part of a round where Woods did not miss a fairway, another of the event’s announcers, fellow PGA Tour pro Justin Thomas, calling him a “fairway-hitting machine.” He and partner Peyton Manning won the event, defeating Brady and Phil Mickelson 1 up. (GOLF.com has even designed a T-shirt after Woods’ shot on the 11th, which you can find here.) All of this after not playing in a televised event since the middle of February because of first various injuries and then the PGA Tour’s coronavirus hiatus.

One of his former teachers said there was a reason he played so well.

“I thought it was the best I’ve seen him swing in a long time,” Butch Harmon said this week on Sky Sports. “His club was in a great position at the top. He wasn’t jumping off the ground trying to get distance. You noticed he went to a little fade to put the ball in play off the tee. He hit every fairway.”

Harmon said Woods’ round was all the more impressive considering the course and the conditions. Medalist, Woods’ home club, has a rating of 77.9 from its tips, which include the Tiger tees, yes, named after Woods himself. Medalist that day was also wrapped in rain.

“Let me tell you what, I have played the Medalist and it is a very difficult golf course,” Harmon said on Sky Sports. “And the conditions they played in with the rain and stuff, I thought he played phenomenal.”

Harmon, along with the rest of the golf world, will have to wait a bit to see Woods’ next swing. 

Woods did not commit at Friday’s deadline to play in next week’s Charles Schwab Challenge, the Tour’s first event since the Players Championship was ended after one round due to the coronavirus. 

Woods looks ready when he does return, Harmon said. 

“He’s always had a great short game, even though he went through that period with a little bit of yips with the pitching, but you know, he came out on the other side of that,” Harmon said on Sky Sports. “I think it’s amazing what he’s done.” 

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Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor