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Brandel: "I’m also critical, because I stood next to him and I watched the greatest golf swing the game has ever seen."

Ed Sherman interviewed Brandel Chamblee about a number of topics and naturally as these things are prone to do, the talk went back to Tiger criticism. He tells Sherman that Tiger would have 25 majors by now if he'd stuck with Butch Harmon.

I found this interesting:

Tiger always was going somewhere with his golf game. Now he’s going somewhere with his golf swing.

That’s where I’m critical of him. He was in the middle of this one, long flawless note and he stopped or he was interrupted, whichever one you want to choose. And he’s trying to recreate it again.

I’m also critical, because I stood next to him and I watched the greatest golf swing the game has ever seen.

The greatest stretch of golf the world has ever seen. And he willfully dismantled it. That’s the craziest thing in the history of sports. Not golf. All of sports. There’s no equivalent to it, but if you’re a sports fan, it’s literally the ’27 Yankees starting with a new roster in 1928.

The full interview.

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Reader Comments (55)

You gotta give Brandel kudos for speaking his mind and not waffling on his opinion. Kind of refreshing to see and hear these days actually...and there's some truth in there to boot.

I'm going to say right here that I agree with his latest statement(s) re: Tiger. Change for the sake of change (or to get "better"...whatever that means) usually leads to chaos.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Having an opinion is good, but Brandel is (theoretically) paid to give objective analysis. I feel like he was in love with Tiger's 2000 swing (which isn't actually a thing it's 99-02) and therefore acts like a jilted lover about Tiger now.

Also the whole 25 major claim doesn't stand up to analysis, he won majors at roughly the same clip with the Haney swing as with the Butch 2.0 swing: 1 to 2 a yr on avg. so most you can say is he'd have 3 more right now. Unless you think Butch swing magically survives acl repair better than Haney swing with which he won 6x in '09
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterElf
If you want to watch flawless swing and short game action, take a look at this video. The swagger and confidence shines through and as good as Tiger is today, he does not compare to THIS Tiger.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD.
I've always been under the impression that the change on swing styles was to lessen the dreaded block, also (though who knew at the time) because his knee couldn't take the force put on it by the Harmon swing. I also thought that his knee issue was also his reason for moving to Foley, try to minimize the damage while continuing to play tour level golf, which means swinging a club in excess of 115 mph most of the time. Also his best stretch of golf was under Haney, that's where he learned to win without being the longest guy in the field and for a period seemed never to be outside the top 10 if he didn't win. He's lost now, but I think it's more "how do I do this so I don't hurt" than overcoaching.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBaltch
I think Brandel and many of his fellow Golf Channel personalities have essentially been hired by the Golf Channel to talk about Woods 24/7. It's apparent that they can't make more than three full sentences without uttering his name or referring to him as an example, so whatever topic of discussion they are having at that moment invariably gets hijacked by a long, drawn-out 10-minute dissertation of why Woods is still the greatest player, or has lost his golf swing, or his back is broken in three places yet still almost wins, etc.

I can't remember the last time I heard Chamblee talk about another player's golf swing, but he's dissecting Tiger's swing thrice a week these days.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPA PLAYA
@D: Thanks for the url!

@Baltch: True about his performance under Haney, but had a few more rodeos under his belt than under Butch, inevitable that he "played good" in-spite of his swing going in the wrong direction...according to Brandel, Butch, and others. He had ONE fault under Butch (he was quoted as saying "I still have the same flaws") which was simply getting the club "stuck" behind him on the downswing. A typical and common good player move. Alot of good players in the past have learned to live with a similar flaw. Basically TW had one loose full-shot in his (huge) arsenal and blew the whole thing up to fix what 99.9% of golfers would kill for...a one-miss swing.

All other aspects of his game were frighteningly better than everybody else before the mental and physical restrictor plates started piling up.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
What puzzles me is at the time when Tiger fired (or whatever) Haney, just about everyone took it at face value that it was about his swing, and wanting to change it for basically golf purposes. That is ignoring the fact that that change took place at the height of his post-Scandal personal and career meltdown. Was Tiger capable of compartmentalizing his life to such a degree so that he could make a logical and objective decision in terms of what was best for his golf game and swing at that time ? Or perhaps he was just determined to clean house and make the best of it on the back end. Remember that for a while there he had no actual instructor and he told everyone he was going to do it on his own. The last thing is that I think it unreasonable for people to think that a late 30 year old injury prone guy can or should be striving for the swing he had during his mid 20's. Is there any player out there that has kept the same swing for that many years ? I don't know.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Like Baltch said. Anytime Chamblee spouts off on this subject without including Tiger's broken knee he is just being another sideshow hustler looking for attention.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterClaude

You nailed it. it's not an apples to apples comparison. The guy with the Harmon swing had not undergone myriad surgeries, achilles tears, etc....I don't think he's even physically capable of making the same swing. And let's not forget that in 2000, I don't remember Tiger missing a single putt of consequence. It was a Mozart year simply incapable of being reproduced.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSari
I don't believe he had to completely change his swing to reduce wear and tear on the knee. Also don't believe that Butch could not help him do it. Seems to me that Tiger's knee issue was from the follow through where he straightened his front leg and then rotated around it. At his speeds, I suspect that would hurt after a while. Would not a slight change in knee bend or his follow thru resolve the issue. It might reduce his distance by 5-10 yards but he would still be the best golfer out there.
Sometimes tinkering is good, sometimes not. Tigers tinkering fell on the side that it did not help. I see the old videos from 2000 and I wonder what was wrong with that swing? Aside from the knee issue, I have not seen many better.
I think at the end of the day, he did not like Butch getting so famous because of him. Butch became much more public and people gave him credit that perhaps Tiger resented. So he wanted to find his own swing. Tiger's many comments over the years seemed to discredit his coaches or lessen their contribution.
Tiger was somewhat petty in that regard.
Just my opinion.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKG
One of the best analysis of Tiger's swing, not sure who wrote it, was of his 5 year old swing on TV. Cut down club, too heavy for him taking his backswing way to long, but as the clubhead got closer to impact the 5 year old TW "masterfully" squared the clubface with his hands.

Could it be that the reason he can play so well with so many different swings is as simple as the fact that he has phenomenal hands? cz, others-- your thoughts?
I'm also with Baltch. The swing changes were all about taking stress off the knee. I think once Tiger's career is over and the memoirs start being published, we'll find out he was hurt a lot worse and a lot earlier than anybody knew.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKS
@NLUTBFS&TC: I'm of the opinion that that applies to most great players, and to the secret of the game in general. If you have the ability to time your release perfectly, you will be a good golfer whatever your swing looks like. For some people (and for most who master the game), that ability is innate.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
''It's apparent that they can't make more than three full sentences without uttering his name ''



I have been givn the go ahead to start lightly playing golf again ( I had my left shoulder replaced, and I am lef handed), and I have been told, and by all means, I will want to only go at it at 30-50% for a few months.

Tiger has had severl years to recover, and all he needs to do is go at it at about 75% and use more club, and go back to a 43 inch shafted driver and estore control off the tee. So what if he is hitting from 10-20 yards further back...he has hit some tee shots in the last 2 years that were into the next county.

Chamblee needs to get off his ''Butch swing'' mantra, because it is not 2000 and TW is not 25 years old. TW has the body of a 47-54 year old, in wear.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Gasbag Chamblee.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
Harmon is the most overblown teacher in the game. He is an unbelievable marketer, but do his players become better ball strikers once they start working with him? No. Phil is a perfect example, his swing is just as wild as it was with Rick Smith if not more. But he is an incredible talent with a remarkable short iron/short game. If someone can provide me with an example of a player who improved as a ball-striker under Butch in the last 10 years I would be shocked. Phil no, DJ no, Adam Scott left Butch, Gary Woodland got worse and started playing better this year on the back of a much improved short game.

Brandel just feels the need to disparage any teacher who utilizes a more analytical/intellectual style; as opposed to the so-called more simple teaching of Butch and co.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenterj
I remember years ago when Tiger was swinging so hard at all his shots Ken Venturi commented his body would break down before 35. Tiger worked out to make his body stronger to prevent that. It appears that Tiger is a "hitter" of the ball vs. a "swinger" like Payne Stewart or Ernie Els. "On the Range" on GC yesterday showed Tiger and Rich Beem noted how good his tempo is there. Then Tiger goes to the course and things get a little quicker. One thing that hurts Tiger is the scar tissue all players get the longer they compete-mental and physical. In his latest swing progressionTiger has figured it out except at the majors. I think he would benefit from a ball that spins less off the tee. Until he finds more fairways with his driver his margin of error in majors will be very slim and that is all that counts for him going forward.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered Commentermunihack
Is it cynical to bring up the Canadian blood-spinner, or naive to ignore his possible role in all this?
09.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenterwillie
Yes, that's a cynical thought.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
I continue to be surprised that Chamblee is considered by some to be an expert on the golf swing in general and on Tiger's swing, in particular. Wayne DeFrancesco, who is a true expert on the swing, has debunked Chamblee's "analysis" of Tiger's swing, using extensive video analysis to show that Chamblee simply makes stuff up when talking about Tiger's swing. Check out Wayne D's videos on YouTube or on his website to see for yourself.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom Kirkendall
This posting and comment discussion is proof that there is no better place on the internet to read about golf.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat
Just from amateur observation it always seemed obvious that Woods' violent move through the ball wouldn't allow his body to hold up over time. Contrast that with the smoothness of an Els, who generates plenty of pro clubhead speed without the damage. Woods' Swing III can't reliably find a fairway and his short game ain't what it's been in the past. Throw in a few life events and there you have it, a guy that can still win 5 times a year. What problem other than the pysch barrier of winning majors when then number's gotten close?
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAG
One thing we should take note is that whether Tiger's swing has hurt him or not, his desire to win, drive and commitment has embarrassed the Norman/Couples generation, in that their excuses in the early 90's of why they didn't win more was shattered by Tiger, Phil and even Vijay. They either weren't good enough or didn't try hard enough, either way it leaves them as the guys between the Nicklaus/Watson and Tiger/Phil era. Just something to keep in mind in when we hear Norman next year bloviating on how good he was. He was better than most, but he doesn't make it into the top 20 all time whereas Woods' only comparison is Nicklaus and Phil was at least as good if not better than Watson, career wise. So if Tiger wants to dismantle that swing for another, 79 victories and 14 majors tells me he's onto something.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBaltch
The Haney v. Butch debate is kind of tired at this point, but I do think his various injuries would have hobbled him even under Butch.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe O
I bet Brandel leaves the seat up! And Kelly probably does too.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLes M.
In the last 20 years only two other players have won 5 events (or more) in a single season, Nick Price (1994) and Vijay (2004). Tiger did it this year (for the 10th time), yet he's "lost"?
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRm#133
As a student of Wayne, I could not agree more.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenterj
Tiger has knee issues and now neck and back issues because of his obsession with lifting heavy weights. Ask any bodybuilder, it's an obsession with size and it takes over the mind. Almost all bodybuilders battle serious and nagging injuries constantly because they cannot stop and overtrain. This is what has happened with Tiger.On top of the heavy weights, he still runs. Doctors have told him to stop, yet he continues. ITiger is not wiry and flexible anymore like he was when he first got on Tour. He's bulky and tight. Ever see a bodybuilder look flexible?
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChako Higuchi
I agree with Chako. Tiger should have used a rowing machine instead of running. Much easier on the joints, and it would have given him a great all-body workout. Even the strength in his grip and forearms would have improved without too much overall bulk.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenter3foot1
Just another opportunity to pay the rent. Nothing wrong with Tiger but wear and tear. Cant compare a guy to his younger self of 20 years ago athletically, at least not credibly, and that makes Chamblees analysis meaningless. The subject has won 8 times over the last 2 seasons. No ones been better. The subject is alive and in no need of life support.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEnigma
The subject has 79 PGA wins. He is a legitimate phenomenon, yet hearing this guy talk, you'd think he were a leper. Add the fact that he opined that the same Tiger Woods would NEVER AGAIN WIN ANY TOURNAMENT, and he didnt qualify that statement then, nor has been taken to task now that his predictions and expert opinions were blown to smithereens. He dislikes Tiger Woods with venomous and percieved malice. He must fancy himself the man's biographer, carrying water for the stomped and the downtrodden, and the other Birther looney toons.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEnigma
Regardless of Chamblee's golf swing knowledge, or lack there of, there is a valid point. Why would Tiger ever overhaul the swing he had that won 4 straight majors? Sure he would need to make adjustments based on age and physical issues, but instead he chose to work within a different framework. Hogan had to make adjustments after his car accident. Tiger claims he wants to own his swing like Hogan did, so why not choose to work within the swing he had? Wouldn't that be a player who owns his swing? I have never understood it, I find it bizarre, much like I find Tiger in general. Who knows what his level of success would have been, but I still don't why he chose the path he did.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Lynch
Mike Lynch, someone in an earlier post (KS) gave probably the most credible answer to your question, although we probably will never know.... The extent to which Tigers injuries played a part in his evolution we wont know, till AFTER his career is over. Only then maybe he will open up the vault. No doubt serious damage was done to his left knee, well before 2008 at Torrey Pines. (3-4 procedures?) This latest venture with Foley appears to be an effort to save what is abundantly left of Tiger Woods, mechanically.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEnigma
You say doctors told him to stop lofting weights. Can you quote anyone on that issue?
In my opinion, he is not overly muscular .
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKG
@KG: Tiger @ 1997 Masters (won by 12) = same height and weighed a hair under 160lbs. Tiger @ his "strongest" (post circa 2007-ish) - a hair under 190lbs. Most, if not all, of this added weight he put on above the waist (bulking up the pecs/biceps for the ladies y'know) and yet he continued running with even MORE weight on his shoulders. Even a child could see that lower body injuries were going to happen considering his admitted knee problems going back to his youth.

I tell my avid clients that one of the easiest ways to ruin your "own" swing is to get gym membership and then tell a gung-ho trainer you want to hit the ball farther. Thus, you will start to lift heavy with the upper body in a foolish attempt to get stronger where you don't need to be. Increase the size of your biceps and pecs and your swing will change for sure.

And lastly, what trainer in the world (who I'm assuming knows a thing or two about golf) would even encourage a long term running plan? In my almost 30yrs playing the game I have never ever seen a requirement that says we have to run while playing golf. Lots of other ways to keep up the ole cardio without beating up on your bones/joints. A bicycle for instance is fun and a great exercise tool. Swimming too.
09.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Father Time knows the pathway to every athlete's front door, and will always knock. Add to that any injuries, minor or major, that are compounded by time. TW is not an exception to the #1 rule of life; your body will age.

@johnnycz I agree that the added bulk he put on to that skinny frame has had a long-term effect on his weight bearing joints: i.e., knees, back, hips, etc. Every pound you add multiplies 4 times of weight to your knees. I know, I have had 4 major knee surgeries and 2 TKR. Once you have a major injury to the knee, it starts the deterioration process. Regardless of what they say, it will never be 'better and stronger that ever". Surgery helps and TKR can stop the deterioration process, but the joint is never the same. And if it is your left knee and a golfer, you will not "post" like you did prior to injury /surgery. You can not buy YOUTH.

All that weight lifting eventually will take its toll. And I believe we are seeing it happen to TW.

While he is /was the best player in the world, nothing lasts forever. Fact.

@ Chako "Tiger is not wiry and flexible anymore like he was when he first got on Tour. He's bulky and tight. Ever see a bodybuilder look flexible? " Very True!
@ Digs good for you. Question: I am scheduled for shoulder schedule in late October to clean up multiple tears, scar tissue, bone spurs -- have great confidence in that the surgeon is the team orthopedic for a major high-profile university so am not concerned about that. He is telling me that he can buy me 3-5, but that I am a candidate for should replacement eventually.

Question: how long has it taken you to get from post surgery to being able to hit balls again? I sort of lost track of your recovery period. He is telling me that following this scope job, I should be fully healed in 90 days, and hitting balls again in 4-6 weeks.

And keep at it my friend.
Golf is a mental game. Tiger's problems are mental. His mind will swing his scores more then his body. He used to stand over every shot absolutely sure that the majority of the people watching wanted to see him hit a super human shot. Now he standa over the ball knowing quite a few would prefer he top it. These are two very different places to play from. Putting too.
09.13.2013 | Unregistered Commentermelnik
Pro- I would agree with his timeline.

It sounds like going in and cleaning it up will buy time, but I was not so lucky.

A lengthy period of prednisone use, prescribed to help my endurance (I was paralyzed in 1989, and have a neuro condition called CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy)

If you have a moment to go to the link, I had GBS, and as fate would have it ended up with CIDP, and if you look at the ‘’treatment’’ section of the link, the IVIG treatment is what I get every month at an oncology infusion center in Austin. The treatment has made an amazing difference in my overall health and resistance to infection, which nearly killed me in 2011 (in the hospital 8 times, and 3 surgeries to remove infected areas- if you have a strong stomach , I mean STRONG..send me an e mail addy, and I’ll send you some before and after surgery pix , when my ankle abscessed and blew up (!).

Anyway, a dozen years ago, I fell and had a hairline fracture in my shoulder, and then 3 years ago, right at the start of all the infection problems my shoulder broke along the top, and the ‘’ball and socket’’ wore out- went metal to metal so to speak, and we had to wait for all my infection issues to clear up before my shoulder could be replaced.

The bones were so worn that the Dr. did a ‘’reverse’’, where the ball and socket are now on the opposite.

It has gone extremely well. 4 weeks in a sling, then 2 months of ‘’range of motion’’ only PT, and now a month of strengthening PT, with no more than 5 pounds ( I have to build up to that- I am using 1 or 2 pounds right now)

I have been given clearance to play, but only at a low level of swing speed, and it will take 3-9 months to get to ‘’100%’’ All I am doing is a little putting, and maybe chipping 10-30 balls, less than a half hour out, but in a couple of weeks I am going to go 9 to 18 with a chip swing (6 iron 125 yds), and probably no driver, for fear of going at it too hard, and no idea how to ‘’chip’’ a driver.

Good luck with it all. I think it is important to not be aggressive in recovery, or you could really set yourself back: kind of like a hamstring- it has to be healed, or you will reinjure it.

Yall pray for me. I have a major issue to deal with next week, maybe a life changer.
09.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Pro - Depends on what they are doing. If they are messing with your rotator cuff, then it will be way for more than 6 weeks. I had bone spurs removed from my right shoulder in October of last year. It was six to eight weeks before I could go flat out at it.
Good luck!
09.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMetro18

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