Big Play

June 22, 2008

WHO
Tiger Woods

WHAT
Hooked drive into the rough

WHERE
448-yard par-4 1st hole at Torrey Pines

WHEN
Final round of the U.S. Open

WHY
Woods must either modify his swing to lighten the stress on his left side or face ongoing physical problems. Currently, Woods hyperextends his left leg at impact—most of the pressure falls on the knee—to stabilize his lower body and give his arms and upper body time to catch up. That can make him wild off the tee and has hurt his leg, and could also injure his left hip. A swing change will cost Woods distance, but he will gain accuracy and many years of pain-free play.

JIM'S TIP
A Prescription for a Pain-Free Swing

A golfer who feels pain in his left side, or whose timing is routinely off, should make three swing changes.
1 Flare out the left foot to create a more flowing and less jarring motion.
2 Keep the left knee softer and more flexed, especially during impact.
3 Most important, quiet the lower-body rotation so that the chest faces more toward the ball, rather than the target, through the hitting area.

Jim Suttie teaches at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Ill.

...AND ANOTHER THING

"Teachers are cramming way too much into Phil Mickelson's head. He's a feel player who needs to go back to relying primarily on himself."

GOLF MAGAZINE TOP 100 TEACHERS POLL

Which is a better U.S. Open venue?

Bethpage 60%
Torrey Pines 40%

"Bethpage by a mile. There's nothing special about Torrey except the view, and the greens were slow and bumpy."
—T.J. TOMASI, NANTUCKET GOLF CLUB

PHOTOCOURTESY OF NBC (WOODS) PHOTOERICK W. RASCO (BACKGROUND) TWO PHOTOSERICK W. RASCO (SUTTIE)1 2 3 PHOTOROBERT BECK (TORREY PINES)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)