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What You Can Learn And Use From Tiger

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  • What You Can Learn And Use From Tiger

    Many of the golfers that I know, especially young ones, want to "be like Tiger." Of course, that's not going to happen for nearly any of them -- for years, even top PGA pros like Phil Mickelson have wanted to "be like Tiger" but the truth is even they can't match him, on most days anyway. So what chance do you, Douglas D. Duffer have? Not much, at least from a ball-striking point of view. But there are a lot of ways that you can emulate Woods on the course when you are playing your next $2 Nassau that can help you count the sweetest cash of all: money fresh from your buddies' wallets. Here are a few:

    Take a good look at your own game and you will find that many of the "mistakes" you make are before you ever swing the club.

    Tiger Woods almost always clears his mind of his last shot before he starts his routine for his next shot. He has talked about this repeatedly through the years, and it's something we all should learn to do. No matter how good or how bad your last shot was, that was then and the ball is where it is now, and awaits your best effort.

    Another thing that many folks do is they let their strategy get dictated to them by their opponent. This is something Tiger Woods never does except possibly in match play situations, where the rules are of course different.

    Say, for example, you are playing against someone who just bombs it off of the tee. Most people have a natural instinct to hit their own ball further in order to keep up. Bad idea. More than likely you will throw your rhythm off and as a result hit poorer tee shots, not better. The whole chain of errors that led to that tee shot being in the wrong place started by deciding to go for more distance. Instead, accept the fact that you might be a few yards behind, but you'll probably be in the nice short grass instead of in the rough or worse, the trees or the water. You will have a lot better chance of making a better second shot and then you can return serve to your opponent and put the pressure back on him or her.

    Play Within Your Game and Make the Other Guy Make the Mistakes.

    Taking the example above a little further: ever noticed how a lot of golfers melt down when they play with Tiger Woods? You can say that it's the crowds, it's Tiger, it's the pressure of the situation, but a simpler explanation is that Tiger plays his own game excellently and his opponents make mistakes because Tiger rarely does when it matters. From that, you can learn two things: first of all, if you play your game within your skill-set, no matter how advanced you are, you'll score better. That in and of itself will put incredible pressure on an opponent to perform their utmost best, and you will often find that they will melt down when they feel that constant pressure. It may require patience on your part, but more often than not, it does happen and you can take advantage of it.

    Find your personal weaknesses and practice and improve them until they are strengths

    Early in his career, Tiger Woods had an indifferent short game, especially when it came to his bunker play. While he was a decent short-game artiste, no one would ever confuse him with Phil Mickelson, who seems to have been given a great short-game as a birth-right. Through the years, however, Woods has worked diligently on his short game and is now (in my opinion) the equal of Mickelson, and perhaps an even better player. Woods is solid in the sand and green side, and that's due to practice, practice, practice.

    It's said that most of your golf swings will be taken from within 120 yards or so, and if you think about it, that's a fact. That should tell you that your Pitching Wedge, Sand Wedge and other wedges are extremely important clubs and that you can drop your handicap by mastering them and being very handy with them.

    Oddly, however, if you visit a typical driving range you won't see someone pounding 70 yard shots, you will see them pounding driver after driver, or long iron after long iron, bucket after bucket. Sure, you need to be good off of the tee, and while you shouldn't ignore it, if it is the only shot you practice, other aspects of your game won't be all they can be. And if you do indeed take most of your shots from 120 yards in, then, ahem, doesn't it make sense to make that a core strength?

    Same thing for green-side chips and bunker shots. Both aren't hard technically, but they do require a lot of touch and reliability to pull off. Ask yourself -- how many practice shots do you take from 3, 5, or 10 yards off of the green in different conditions and with varying lies? Do you practice short bunker shots? Long bunker shots?

    If not, you've got some work to do.

    Short Putts: Own the Hole From Within Four Feet.

    Tiger Woods did not miss a putt within four feet in last week's Buick Open. He hit over forty of them, and as a result, he gave away exactly zero strokes as a result.

    Most of us can't say that. And let's be honest: we really should be at least 97.5% that good from that close to the hole. There is no excuse not to be. After all, you can practice that putt in your house at night on a putting matt.

    Again, you might have some work to do.

    Finally, a little gamesmanship never hurts, as long as you are a good sport.

    Tiger Woods' gamesmanship on the course is legendary, and it crawls in his opponents' heads like a worm inside an apple. Two things can be learned here: first, you have to learn to not let that happen, and second, how to toss a little jab every now and again. It's okay to do it.

  • #2
    Re: What You Can Learn And Use From Tiger

    judging from how he played in the open a few weeks ago , i would have to say .........nothing! :-)