“Sometimes I just can’t get comfortable and have to back off,” Na said.
Though he tied for seventh in the Players, his twitchy waggles through the week were all raw insecurity.
“Its absolutely nuts,” commentator Johnny Miller said. “I mean pros don’t do that.”
No player has hyper-analyzed his game more than Woods, who seems to have totally abandoned his old feel for self-conscious mechanics, with little to show for it under the theory-addicted Sean Foley. A once-limber player is all stiffness and tension, and shot a 40 on the front nine in the final round at the Players.
His former coach Butch Harmon summed up the frustration the entire golf world feels with Woods’ navel-gazing in an interview with the Wall Street Journal: “Quit playing golf-swing and just hit shots; just say to himself, I’m gonna hit a low fade, and I don’t need anybody to tell me how to do it, I’m just gonna feel it. He’s Tiger Woods, for God’s sake. He doesn’t know how to hit a shot?”
British golf announcer and former player Peter Alliss was even more scathing about Woods’s mystifying habit for wonky over-complication.
“I do not understand the thinking of Tiger Woods,” Alliss said. “I think his golfing brain, for some reason or other, is completely addled . . . I’m not saying I’m a great teaching guru, but I’d love to have about a half an hour [with him]. If he couldn’t be put right in an hour, I’d go home and stick my head in a bucket of ice water, because it’s so simple. You stand and you swing.”
Historically, the greatest teachers of golf have taught what for lack of a better term might be called “The Childhood Swing.” Harmon is a believer in finding a player’s most “innate” swing. The late great PGA champion and TV analyst Dave Marr believed the best way to learn to play golf was to pick up a stick, and whistle it through the air. “There: That’s your golf swing,” he would say.
Perhaps most famously of all, there was the advice of revered late instructor Harvey Penick, author of the “Little Red Book,” who said the best tool for training a swing was “the common weed cutter.” The motion you made loping the heads off dandelions taught the perfect action, he advised, and it built muscles too, he said.
Go with it. You don’t need a video to learn that swing. It costs all of $14.
For Sally Jenkins’s previous columns go to washingtonpost.com/jenkins.