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Big Play
June 23, 2008
WHO Tiger Woods
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June 23, 2008

Big Play

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Tiger Woods

Hooked drive into the rough

448-yard par-4 1st hole at Torrey Pines

Final round of the U.S. Open

Woods must either modify his swing to lighten the stress on his left side or face ongoing physical problems. Currently, Woods hyperextends his left leg at impact—most of the pressure falls on the knee—to stabilize his lower body and give his arms and upper body time to catch up. That can make him wild off the tee and has hurt his leg, and could also injure his left hip. A swing change will cost Woods distance, but he will gain accuracy and many years of pain-free play.

A Prescription for a Pain-Free Swing

A golfer who feels pain in his left side, or whose timing is routinely off, should make three swing changes.
1 Flare out the left foot to create a more flowing and less jarring motion.
2 Keep the left knee softer and more flexed, especially during impact.
3 Most important, quiet the lower-body rotation so that the chest faces more toward the ball, rather than the target, through the hitting area.

Jim Suttie teaches at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Ill.