Without a doubt, Tiger Woods is playing his best golf in the last five years. Even Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee couldn’t help but praise his swing. “Technically it’s marvelous,” Chamblee said earlier this month. “I think it’s probably the best swing on the PGA Tour.”
We’ll show you why Woods is just strokes away from torching the leaderboard once again — and how you can put some of this Tiger in your own tank.
Tiger-Trac: Proximity to the pin (From 50-125 yards)
2013-17 rank: 119.25
2018 rank: T16
2018 proximity: 16’7″
WHAT’S HAPPENING: Tiger has gone to a neutral setup: even weight, square toes and with his right hand more to the side. It fuels a centered turn and, as a result, centered contact. Tiger used to rotate in posture but now allows his body to rise, which aligns the club under his hands at impact for crisp strikes.
Tiger-Trac: Scrambling (From >30 yards)
2013-17 rank: 154.25
2018 rank: T29
2018 up-and-down rate: 35%
WHAT’S HAPPENING: Remember Tiger’s chip yips? He was a digging machine. Now, he lets the club flow, smoothly cupping his left wrist going back to open the face, then releasing the club past his hands by cupping the left wrist again on the target side. All bounce, zero dig, huge improvement.
HOW TO COPY IT: Here’s a drill to get TW’s new short-shot release and guard against digging. Hold a ball in your left hand, your left arm dangling at your side. Without moving anything else, flick the ball forward (photo, below). That’s the wrist action you need to unlock bounce and catch shots square.
Tiger-Trac: Putting (From 15-20 feet)
2013-17 rank: 98
2018 rank: 2
2018 make rate: 29.87%
WHAT’S HAPPENING: There’s nothing very different about Tiger’s technique, other than that he appears more confident through every step of his putting process. Confidence breeds success. Credit the Big Cat for not losing faith in a stroke that dominated for two decades.
HOW TO COPY IT: When you take your grip, make it just firm enough so that the putter doesn’t wiggle when you make your stroke. A lighter hold will give you Tiger’s hallmark “flow,” with the face slightly opening and closing (photos, below) during your motion. Feel the toe swing past your hands after impact. A supple left wrist helps.
Tiger-Trac: Clubhead speed
2013-17 rank: 49
2018 rank: 17
2018 swing speed: 120.51
WHAT’S HAPPENING: At 42, with a fused back, Tiger can generate Tour-elite speed. Amazing. His secret? Similar to his short-game swing, Tiger gets the club and his hands in perfect alignment at impact (photo, below). Research proves that this is the best position to max out driver speed.
HOW TO COPY IT: Copy Tiger’s ball position, which is off his left big toe. This simple change will encourage you to lift your left shoulder up and back as you swing into impact, which is the move needed to get the clubhead to align with your hands as you strike the ball. Feel your entire left side “lengthen,” from your ankle to your ear. Your swing speed will skyrocket, just like Tiger’s.
Tiger-Trac: Driving accuracy
2013-17 rank: 145
2018 rank: T159
2018 fairways hit: 56.35
WHAT’S HAPPENING: Tiger gets a bit of a pass here—when you drive it 330, even good drives can roll off the fairway. We still see him missing high on the face at times, the result of his sometimes overly out-to-in swing. Regardless of speed, priority No. 1 is always contacting the center of the face. Otherwise, accuracy will suffer.
HOW TO AVOID IT: Get in touch with your sweet spot. On the range, make a series of slow driver swings—ones that you can control and repeat without effort. Adjust your distance from the ball and ball position after each one, until you’re consistently finding the sweet spot. Only then should you add speed. Trust me, this works.