Part 5 of 7 of the Classic Golf Channel Interview with Tiger Woods and Butch Harmon
Peter: So let see what Michael in Ohio wants to ask you? How are you Michael?
Michael: Fine, how are you doing?
Peter: Very well sir, all of us are.
Michael: Great, gentlemen thanks for taking my call. Tiger obviously you are one of the best ball striker that ever played the game, however, by your own admission that’s not always so. Especially that’s to you on a round where you lose your stroke.
Michael: Tell me what is your mindset and how do you go about correcting that and especially in the middle of a round?
Tiger: That’s a great question Michael. One of the things I have always been a big believer in is just playing by feel and obvioiusly thats one of the things I said earlier in the show is that sometimes I would hit a fade with a closed stance that what I feel that day but trying to get the ball in the hole as few strokes as possible when I am not swinging well, that’s a task and one of the things I’ve found that works best for me is go to kind of like a go to shot. One of the things you saw at Firestone was i was playing the ball back to my stance, punching a lot of shots, taking huge divots and that’s one of the shots that I have learned to try and get me in the club house that day I shot low number but to be honest with you, Butch knows this I wasn’t feeling as comfortable with my golf swing that day as I should have been. The day before I was feeling great, that morning I was hitting a lot of loose shots and really wasn’t hitting the ball as crisp as I like. But I went out there and shot a low number not feeling that great. Just because I have a shot that I can go to. That was a punch shot, a shot a play back of my stance, little shorter back swing, shorter follow through, ball comes down and one of the things Butch has taught me is that the less the ball stays in the air, the less time it has to go off line. And I am a big believer in that trust me. I can hit the ball flying.
Butch: He hits it so far when it gets up there in the atmosphere its gone for a while so Tiger is really worked hard and you’ve heard him said this in his interviews and read this that he has really tried to bring his trajectory down a little because then it goes the same distance. Another thing that happened that particular day as you were having a hard time turning the ball over from right to left. So really Michael what he did is he played the whole round just hitting the left to right shot because that is the only thing he had that day. You just have to go with the one you’ve got.
Peter: When you were having distance control with your wedges, from then till now, it’s really night and day become one of the best in the world that controlling the distance on your wedges. What do you do in a pre-shot routine; we’ve looked at the shot at Pebble from 96 yards. What do you do physically and inside your head, as you get ready to hit that shot to dial in this distance now?
Tiger: Well what I’ve learnt I have gone back to old basics. Because my dad was a big believer in the clock system and what I mean by that is. This is 6 o’clock; obviously up here right behind my head is 12 o’clock. And well my dad was a big believer and for some reason I always taken a back to where you felt it was I guess it was 9 o’clock. And I never liked it on wedge shots. It has always been ” Yeah, you know ok I will go 9′ o’clock whatever Pops you know you don’t know anything. Later in life what do you think I am doing now? I am going right back to the old basic. I go back to what I feel is 9 o’clock there and go ahead and hit the shot. What I found is I want to step off my guard and what I feel in 9 o’clock and I hit a shot with a wedge it goes a certain distance. Same thing with sand wedge 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock and so forth and so on. And from there when I am out there in the golf course and I get a number that I like for each position on the clock I go and just hit it.
Butch: Talk about the shot that you holed at Pebble Beach. The pin really on a slope that day would normally been your sand wedge … three years ago it would have been a full swing 60 ball just spun all the way back off green but you knew if you use your sand wedge, normal sand wedge 56 degree you are going to put too much spin on. Talk to us a little bit on what you thinking process was and why you hit the shot the way you hit it.
Tiger: One 96 yards is absolute a perfect sand wedge for me. I feel its a little bit more than three quarter sand wedge. I hit a full sand wedge about 115 and I hit one a hundred yards right on the money, it’s just perfect. I fell off I hit that sand wedge it soft green it is going to spin round right of the shelf so what I tried to do. I took my wedge out and know if I take my wedge to 9 o’clock and shot it off. And what I feel is a little bit easier so now I’ve got the adrenaline pumping, I’m in the tournament, I ‘ve got a chance to win. What I feel in 9 o’clock obviously isn’t going to go there. I normally would go a little further. So we need to ease off the swing a little bit more. So I try to feel like I took it right to there you know I went to probable about there and from there try to feel as it hit with absolutely no power. Just because I was nervous and know my adrenalin was pumping up and hit the ball a little further. I took a little more off it and it worked out perfect.
Peter: Do you ever tell your Dad he was right?
Tiger: Of course not.
Peter: We will be right back
Tiger: He knows now [laughs]