After finishing tied for last place at his own tournament on Sunday, Tiger Woods is officially back..a new swing, a new physique, but so far a horrific short game.
Wood’s dropped eight shots minimum due to his chipping around the greens last week and admitted himself that he needs to work a lot on his short game. It seems like every time he gets close to a golf course the question is always asked.. Will he beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships?
Let’s get one thing straight, he’s a long way away from that record at the moment, let’s start small. Can Tiger win a major in 2015? Through all the talk of swing changes, explosive movements and putting, I think it simply comes down to fitness. If he stays fit all season, plays a solid 20-25 tournaments missing minimal cuts, he could certainly win a major in 2015. When watching him this weekend I was massively impressed with his new swing, a lot more room at the takeaway, not as steep at the top of the swing and a lot more rotation in the hips, hence more of the ‘explosive power’ Tiger likes to talk about. He seems to be putting lot less pressure on his back, at the end of the swing he has a very straight spine, in comparison to his arched back last season at the finish. The new swing is very similar to that of the 1996 U.S amateurs, and we all know what happened the year after that.
Make no mistake about it, the competition is getting progressively better. McIlroy, Spieth and Fowler have come on leeps and bounds over the past couple of years and these three will be big players in the 2015 season. Not only them but with players like Patrick Reed, Billy Horschel and Henrik Stenson about, the competition Tiger faces is getting stronger and stronger. Players don’t seem to be scared by Tiger anymore, which is something he needs to get back into his game if he has any chance of winning a major next year.
Onto his short game, which was quite frankly diabolical last week. Going through a swing change is obviously going to have some effect on other aspects of your game, but Tiger knows he needs to work on his release of the club through impact. Every chip he duffed was because of the impact at the ball. Back in his glory days he was renowned for being the best at getting out of tricky situations in and around the greens. He knows that part of his game has to improve dramatically. I think it will.
So, will Tiger win a major in 2015.. taking everything into account, the new swing, his back problems and short game issues I think this year might be a bit too early for him. I can see him challenging again, which is obviously what the whole golfing world wants too see. The main thing is keeping fit. Everyone wants to see a competitive 2015 from the 14-time major winner, and if that happens, the future will certainly be bright for him.