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Rocco On Tiger's Swing: "It doesn't produce the shots he used to hit"

Steve DiMeglio looks at the state of Tiger's game and also features a nice mini-retrospective of the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines where Woods dueled with Rocco Mediate.

Four-plus years later, Mediate still is in awe of Woods but has questions about the state of his mechanics.

" … "I love what Tiger has done for the game... I've always had a ridiculous amount of respect for what he has done. All the crap on the other side I don't care about. I don't know what happened; only he knows what happened."

Mediate says something else happened – to Woods' swing. While the jury is still out on whether Woods can again become the dominant force in golf, Mediate is a tad skeptical.

"Nothing he did ever surprised me. He's that good. But he can't do it anymore because his golf swing is different. It doesn't produce the shots he used to hit," Mediate says. "Do I think he's finished winning majors? No. Does he have as much desire? Yes. But you could ask him to hit any shot blindfolded back in the day and he could. Now he can't. I know what I'm seeing. I know what I saw before. And it's not the same.

" … I know the things outside of golf hurt him immensely, and the injuries have hurt him ... If he does find the swing again, it's game over.

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Reader Comments (18)

"things outside of golf hurt him immensely, and the injuries have hurt him" Rocco misses the most likely cause of the reason he cannot do some of the things he used to, the number of candles on his birthday cake.

That said - I still think he passes Jack, this year is key though.
Wow, Rocco's a genius: "I know what I'm seeing. I know what I saw before. And it's not the same."
Rocco has no idea if Tiger has as much desire as he used to, most insiders would say he doesn't. He used to be a hungry kid who would do anything to win a tournament, now he's.... fill in what you want.
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
Rocc's basically right. But, hardly insightful as most of what he says is obvious.

However, even golfers in decline win the odd tournament or even a major.

But, they don't win a bushel of them.
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
Rocco talks way too much
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrown Jr.
From someone who's been fortunate enough to see Tiger hit golf balls in person from the time he was a youngster, the thing that seems most apparent to me watching him now is that he's self-conscious about his power at this point in his career. I suppose you could make all kinds of arguments about that being connected to the psychology of what's happened to him, the undermining of his belief in his power, etc, but the more I watch, the more I think the Foley swing is designed to "hold him back." And it seems to me the only realistic possibility for why Tiger would go for that has to be related to his knee. Since Tiger will never really talk about the extent of the damage to his leg physically -- at least while he's still active as a player -- we don't really have any way of knowing. But you can see it in person if you follow him on a course, and I'm pretty sure that's what Rocco is talking about. I'm surprised the swing analysis guys like Kostis don't talk about it more... but then I think it's still verboten for anyone around professional golf to say anything to diminish the possibility that Tiger can still be the Tiger that professional golf "needs" him to be... This simple observer and fan, though, is actually beginning to be awed by something new in Mr. Woods -- namely, the way he's found to use his enormous natural talents to play around a significant injury that probably would have sidelined a lesser man altogether. And yes, it's a source of a new found -- dare I say it -- respect that I'm beginning to feel for him.
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRLL
The best swing I have seen (on TV, of course) in the last very long time is, when he pops the ball up and hits it on the new Nike/Rory ad.

Beautiful swing, not forcing it and it flows.
01.25.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Totally agree. In fact, that's exactly what I thought the first time I saw the commercial. And yesterday at Torey, he hit a few 3-wds like that, and when they ended up draws instead of fades, and once even overshot a green no one expected him to reach, you could see a kind of dissonance appear on his face.
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRLL
@dig - if that is the best swing you've seen on TV in a very long time, where does Tiger's smothered chunk hook off the 1st tee - his 10th hole in the 1st round - in Abu Dhabi rank?

(I paced the drive off at 133 yds, however it did get past the ladies tee, thank goodness)
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAbu Dhabi Golfer
I think that swing was a natural draw instinct first swing of the new season coming up against the brick wall of his knee I'm talking about that has a big sign on it saying, "Do NOT Do It!"
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRLL
@ Abu. Ouch. I'm guessing he feels the same about that drive as the other swings that produced three wins and over $6mm in earnings last year. You really know how to hit the downer button.
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDanny Boy
@maculata - Vonnized might be right. Websites that us girls like to read are lighting up today with speculation of a Vonn-Woods relationship with no denials.
01.25.2013 | Unregistered Commentersgolfer
Huh. None of the websites this "girl" reads has mentioned them. Can they have been nobbled by the palace, à la the King and Mrs. Simpson?
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGhillie
RLL & digs, I'm with you both. I think you can see in the picture accompanying this very blog entry that he's playing with a swing designed to not put any stress on that left knee - a virtual impossibility for any right-handed player. But gosh, he's playing solidly today - just one missed fairway with two holes to go. So yes, Rocco is right in that he's not hitting the shots he used to, but what I'm seeing today is a player with lots of mileage left, even though he's playing Torrey North. Here's hoping he has another one of those great runs left in him!
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Sorry folks, but you've lost the plot. Tiger has experienced a severe knee injury. On his front/forward leg! I'll grant you that he is still one of the great talents in the game, but as Rocco stated, "But he can't do it anymore because his golf swing is different. It doesn't produce the shots he used to hit," and it doesn't because he can't do what he used to do. Anyone who has suffered the effects of a forward knee injury knows that the game becomes different. You cannot drive onto the front leg the way you used to be able to do. Effectively, you are in a mode of compensation: a reality which makes me believe that Tiger will never win at Augusta again because the more severe the slope, the more difficult it is to 'drive through' the ball the way he used to do. I'm not a Tiger fan, well, I am only because he's that good, but his days of dominating are over. He'll have chance on 'flat' courses, but the truth of the matter is his days are nearing an end. At least as a major contender.
01.25.2013 | Unregistered Commentermeefer
Be interesting to see how Billy Horschel plays tomorrow....
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Here's another thing file away for the future -- before you know it the World Challenge will be upon us... what are the odds that Rory plays in it this year?

That's gonna be a real bummer for the LoveRory-HateTiger crew ;0)
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
@meefer, you're missing our point. Yes, Tiger's been badly injured. No, he can't hit the shots he used to. But I think he's coming around to a method that's allowing him to play at 85% and not put any stress on that left knee. Tiger's 85% is better than most players' 100%, and from then on it's all about the short game.
01.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye

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