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Woods, Harrington, and Swing Changes

August 8th, 2009 · No Comments

Padraig Harrington’s a likeable enough fellow and golf needs a proven major winner who might give Tiger Woods some competition on Sunday’s at a major. So, for those reasons, it’s good to see him emerge from the depths that his self imposed slump has taken him.

Like Woods twice before, Harrington was dissatisfied with a swing that was good enough to win majors, so he and is coach, Bob Torrance, went back to the drawing board. While in the throes of his changes, Harrington’s game has suffered mightily, far more that Woods during his periods in drydock. Leading up to the Open, he missed five consecutive cuts, as many as Woods has missed in his entire career as a pro!

While some might second guess Harrington for making the changes following two straight major titles last year, the stats don’t lie: even in his big season in ’08, Harrington hit only 60.67% of the greens in regulation, placing him 186th on tour. These are hardly numbers that argue for repeat appearances on the leaderboard at majors, so it makes perfect sense that Harrington look for a new swing.

Though he’s completed only two rounds at the Bridgestone, the numbers are encouraging. He’s hit 67% of the greens in regulation (18T) and he’s scoring again with rounds of 64 and 69 at the super long Firestone C.C. His play over the weekend will be a strong indicator that he’s either back, or that the first round was a freakish occurrence in what looks so far to be a lost year.

As for that other fellow who likes to tinker with his swing, Woods recently gave a strange answer for why he would not want to totally dismantle his swing again and rebuild from scratch.

“I couldn’t afford to go to that deep, dark place (where Harrington has been). I would have been getting killed by you guys (the media),” said Woods.

Very interesting. So does Tiger need to go back to the drawing board as many gurus have suggested? And if he does, is he keeping Haney and making do with what he’s got (he’s 29th in GIR when he always lead in his best years) because he doesn’t want to go through those “I’m close” sessions again with the media?

Only Tiger knows, but if his play in the PGA mirrors the less than stellar ball striking that plagued him at the Masters and British Open, then the grilling will get worse anyway. So, if he hits the ball poorly at the PGA, he might as well get started on Swing 4 as that would give him eight months to get ready for the Masters.

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