x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Woods is out of sync

Even with his practice swing it looks like he is trying to achieve something that technically does not make sense. With such a violent swing, no surprises he has a neck and back injury.

Tiger Woods's swing looked too violent during a disappointing display at Quail Hollow, says Philip Parkin.
Tiger Woods's swing looked too violent during a disappointing display at Quail Hollow, says Philip Parkin.

Tiger Woods is in need of a little TLC and the pack is closing in as we approach the high point of the golfing season. The PGA Tour is heading for its Texas Swing while the European Tour has its flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Every tournament in the next month is crucial in the build-up to the remaining majors. The US Open at Pebble Beach is only five weeks away, on June 17. Four weeks later, it is the 139th British Open Championship at St Andrews, and finally the PGA Championship at Whistling Straights in Wisconsin gets under way on August 15.

It is not a good time for Woods to have an injury which he picked up at The Players Championship. But as I mentioned after the Masters and Quail Hollow, Woods's swing was so violent it is not surprising he has developed a neck and back injury of this nature. Woods has a lot of decisions to make in the next four weeks. The biggest one may be whether to change his swing. He has definitely gone in the wrong direction over the past two years. Even with his practice swing it looks like he is trying to achieve something that technically does not make sense. He needs to re-evaluate his idea of a golf swing, and that is saying something when you consider he is the best player in the world. And Tiger is going to have to work this out without Hank Haney, his long-time swing coach, who cut his ties with the world No 1 this week.

If Woods does make the changes, he can still come back in full force in time for the US Open. All he needs is a different philosophy in what he is trying to achieve in his swing and a few small technical changes. Until we know whether Woods does alter his swing, the next three majors are open for anyone to win, although big hitters do have a huge advantage at St Andrews. The last three Opens at the Old Course were won by John Daly and Woods (twice).

This week, the European Tour is at Wentworth, one of the most famous and prestigious golf clubs in the UK. The original West Course, designed in the 1920s by HS Colt, has been modified with the help of Ernie Els over the past few years adding 30 bunkers and extending the course by 280 metres. Every green has been renovated over the past 12 months, and that may be the reason Ian Poulter and Padraig Harrington are playing this year as they did not like the old ones.

The changes mean that no one knows quite what to expect. However, the West Course was always one of the best in the UK so it is no surprise that seven of the world's top 12 golfers are going to be competing there. All eyes will be on the three Englishmen who are ranked in the top seven in the world: Lee Westwood, Poulter and Paul Casey, the defending champion. Luke Donald, another Englishman, is also making the trip over from his home in the USA.

He has found his form recently and it surely won't be long before he joins his colleagues in the top 10. Former European and US Tour player Philip Parkin (www.philparkin.com) is a member of the TV golf commentary team for the BBC in the UK and Golf Channel in the US. @Email:sports@thenational.ae