with Robert Bicknell
Another Tet is behind us and, as usual, I had both my "Last game of the year" and then later, my "First game of the year". I usually don't care how I play in my last game because, good riddance, right? But it's the first game of the new year which portends what kind of year I am facing…
Last game of the year was at my ancestral home, Kings' Island Golf and I gotta admit I enjoyed seeing all my former employees, friends and family up there. The boat ride across the lake and the round brought back a lot of memories.
Ha Noi was, by my standards, cold that day and, well there is no other way to put this except to say "my glutes wouldn't activate". Yes, thanks to Tiger Woods, we now have a nicer way to say "I couldn't get my ass in gear."
There were also a lot of very slow players (beginners) on the course, so I packed it in after nine-holes. However, all in all, a nice trip.
The first round of the Year of the Goat was at my favourite course, The Bluffs at Ho Tram and, it was a bit windy that day. However, the course played quite well and the greens were close to US Open speed, having dried out a bit by the wind. Easily close to 13 on the stimpmeter and I loved every second of it.
Having grown up in New England with bent grass greens which, at some clubs like Belmont CC or Concord CC, could hit 14 on the stimp even without tournament preparations, I felt at home and was happy as a clam.
With a bit of wind at my back, the new TaylorMade R15 driver in my hand, can you say 378 yards? Yup. Boom. OK, like I said there was a bit of wind at my back, and I did hit the downslope, but still… gotta love it. For the record, I parred the hole after hitting the worst 8-iron in 20 years.
Still, cannot complain. The Bluffs was in awesome shape and it was a pity I had to come in after nine holes because my wife and daughter were recreating WWII at the pool, forcing me to play peacemaker again.
So, if this is what my coming year will probably look like, I want a mulligan!
Now then, onto the current "hot" topic, and one which seemingly refuses to go away, Tiger Woods and his problems.
First of all, I've been teaching golf for 35 years and lets get one thing straight off the bat: Tiger does NOT have the yips. Got it?
True "yips" is a problem with the central nervous system. It is NOT a case of losing your nerve. Berrnhard Langer might have been the only ACTUAL case of the "yips" I have ever seen.
What Tiger Woods is experiencing, to me, is "paralysis by analysis" (a term attributed to Peter Alliss, but also one I have been using for 35 years, so Peter isn't the only observant one out there) . He is over-thinking the action he is trying to perform, thus, he lunges at the ball or makes a hesitant motion. He is not committing himself to the shot. Ergo, he has both a technical problem and a confidence problem (the former causing the latter).
If he came here to Viet Nam, I could fix him in less than a day. If he went to Butch Harmon, same thing, but Butch could probably do it faster because he has a positive history with Tiger and so the trust issue is already there.
The first thing would be to grab a crowbar and pry his head out of his ass, a primary reason why his "glutes won't activate". There's no room to move.
I enjoyed an interview Butch gave recently where someone mentioned "biomechanics" and Harmon said, "I don't even know what that is…"
I love it because far too many golf instructors have created a niche for themselves by overcomplicating the golf swing to the point of ridiculousness.
A golf swing should be natural. Overthinking simply cause more problems.
Tiger Woods will recover once he gets his head on straight and stops thinking about "how to swing the club" and just starts hitting the damn ball. — VNS