Read an Excerpt
Tiger's position is much different from the square stance (feet parallel to target line), commonly considered a setup basic. More important, it allows Tiger to make a freer turning action, with the club moving correctly to the inside. More on this when we discuss Tiger's setup secret at the end of this chapter.
The way Tiger sets his feet down is unique, too. The prevailing wisdom among golf instructors is that both feet should be fanned out slightly -- the left 30 degrees, the right 20 degrees. In Tiger's case, he points the toes of both feet farther away from the target line than any of his fellow Tour players. In fact, the position of his feet is Charlie Chaplin-like. Perhaps this is not the prettiest of positions. Nevertheless, according to renowned teacher Phil Ritson, it helps Tiger achieve rotation power -- to coil his body in a more rotary-type fashion so that he winds up like a tight spring on the backswing, and uncoil more freely coming through, with the clubhead being whipped into the ball at a speed of around 125 miles per hour.
Tiger distributes his body weight evenly on the ball of each foot, as evidenced by his in-balance setup position.
When you put more than 50 percent of your weight on the left foot at address, the tendency is to leave too much weight on your right through impact -- fall back and fire, as teachers say -- and hit a slice.
When you set up with too much weight on your right foot, your body tends to sway out of position on the backswing, causing you to make an exaggerated upswing hit. The result: a high, weak sky shot.
Tiger's position is different from the square shoulder alignment (shoulders parallel to the target line) commonly taught to club-level players. His unique address position allows him to make a freer move through the ball. More on this when we discuss Tiger's setup secret.
Like Nicklaus and Norman, Tiger holds the club slightly above the grass. This highly uncommon position alleviates tension in the arms, hands, and wrists and prevents the club from snagging a high spot on the ground and being thrown off the correct path and plane. More important, it encourages a freeflowing one-piece takeaway.
The face of Tiger's club is perpendicular to the target line. When you start from this position, you stand the best chance of delivering the sweetspot of the clubface into the back of the ball, and hitting a powerfully accurate shot.
Tiger sets his hands behind the ball, just like Hogan did years ago and Fred Couples does today. The basics call for the hands to be in line with the ball. However, copying Tiger's position will promote a wide swing arc, a more powerful hit, and more distance off the tee.
Tiger sets up with his head tilted just slightly away from the target to encourage a solid shift into his right side.
His chin-up setup is more pronounced than other pros, and is another Nicklaus influence. This position encourages a free, full turn of the left shoulder, and ultimately helps him generate more clubhead speed and distance.
From the Hardcover edition.