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VietNamNews

Teed Off (Dec 7, 2014)

Update: December, 08/2014 - 15:10

with Robert Bicknell

According to a recent Tiger Woods interview, he wants to get back to where he was a long time ago, specifically, the swing he had in college and, for once, I agree with him because in those days he wasn't obsessed with mechanics. He just focused on where he wanted to hit the ball and then did it.

When Butch Harmon got him, he did a good job. Perhaps, a bit too good. Tiger became enamored with technical details and tweaking the swing to the point where it became more mechanical. Yet, Butch did great things with Tiger.

Hank Haney, the man who, if he saw Jesus Christ walking across a water hazard, would complain that he didn't wave back and that he wasn't wearing proper footwear, naturally whined that the Tiger he had was vastly different than the one Butch Harmon had to work with. He said Tiger looked more like an NFL linebacker. Whooptie doo, Haney. Your job is to fix, not make excuses. Man, I detest that guy.

Sean Foley entered the scene and, like those before him, told Tiger his swing was all wrong and he had a better theory. As we all know, that was a catastrophic failure which resulted in more damage to Woods already battered body.

Now it's Back To The Future and in search of the Lost Golf Swing time. Personally, I think he's on the right track. His early swing was longer and more fluid. He had great distance from his arc and didn't have to kill himself.

Sure, he won a pile of majors due to many changes, but at what cost? Sacrificing long term health for short term goals is a losing proposition no matter how you look at it.

So, instead of doing any bashing, I am content to sit back and see if Tiger can find himself again. This is one of the things I spoke about many times in past columns. If Tiger Woods is to become a dominant force on Tour again, he has to find himself and that includes his old swing, as well as his outlook.

I have a suspicion that once he finds his old swing, it might feel as comfortable as an old sweatshirt and jeans. If so, this might also take him back mentally to a time where he used to love playing golf, instead of it being pure business.

If that happens, watch out. He'll dominate again.

In a previous issue of Viet Nam Golf Magazine, a local golf pro (who shall remain nameless) made what could be one of the stupidest comments I have ever heard. In short, he claimed that foreign PGA professionals working in Viet Nam only care about money and don't care if a student improves.

Really?

Hmm…I've been in Viet Nam since 1992. I have built and/or operated eight golf courses in the country, hiring and training thousands of employees who now have very good careers in the golf business… including some who have become professionals.

I helped to develop and coached the first two Viet Nam National Golf Teams for the SEA Games (1999 & 2001) - without any salary. I was on the first Swing For Life Charity tournament committee. I helped to start the first Hanoi Junior Golf Team. I still help juniors whenever I can because I believe in giving back to the game and the country which took me in.

Lars Holden, Jeff Puchalski, Joe Millar, Gopala Krishnan and every other long term pro I have known over the years have identical stories to tell. We give back to the game and the country.

Sure, we could earn a lot more money elsewhere, but we CHOOSE to stay in Viet Nam because we love it here. Most of us have Vietnamese wives and children and have never failed to help the Vietnam Golf Association, the Ministry of Sport, any regional golf association or any of the charity events held each year. When they call - we help.

So, before a wanna-be pro looking to make a name for himself opens his mouth in the future, he should think carefully about what we have done for golf in Viet Nam and compare that to what he has not yet done… — VNS

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