Jason Sobel vs Brandel Chamblee: THE VERDICT… Sobel TKOs Chamblee!

Sobel: “Harmon’s swing put too much stress on Woods’ knee.”

Chamblee: “The Harmon swing did not put undue stress on his knee, that’s a myth, up there with the Easter Bunny.”

Who’s right?  Don’t you wish we could ask Tiger Woods himself?  Well, guess what.  We can.

I have now read the entire Jamie Diaz article I mentioned in my prior entry.  It was quite good, and, as I mentioned at the end of that prior post, reading it ten years after it was written creates a cool retro vibe of that era of golf.  It is also chock-full of information pertinent to the Sobel-Chamblee dispute.  Here’s the showstopper paragraph:

In December 2002, after playing in pain for much of the season, Woods underwent knee surgery in Utah to remove fluid and another cyst. This time during the operation, doctors noticed that Woods’ anterior cruciate ligament was significantly stretched. After being informed of the discovery, Woods told friends in the post-operating room that he had to change his swing. “I really had no choice,” he says today.

Mister Chamblee, do you see now why Tiger can’t go back to his 2000 swing that you keep showing on the Golf Channel?

For those desiring more information, I highly recommend Diaz’s article.  There is much, much more about the knee injury and its role in the evolution of Woods’s swing.

Far be it for ole Lanny to toot his own horn, but I’ve been calling Chamblee on this for years.  Year after year, Chamblee has bitched about Sean Foley (and now Chris Como) for teaching Woods a swing dissimilar to the Butch Harmon swing.  How did Brandel Chamblee not know the changes had to be made?  He collects a hefty paycheck, health insurance, and 401K contributions from NBC for covering golf.  Is it asking too much for his analysis to be reality-based?

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16 Responses to Jason Sobel vs Brandel Chamblee: THE VERDICT… Sobel TKOs Chamblee!

  1. Sports-realist2 says:

    Well done Lanny…..Chamblee now has to dispute JOHNNY MILLER and Tiger Woods about why he HAD to switch swings to protect the knee…..Seriously, as the article states, why in the world would ANYONE change their swing, when they’ve had success with it, IF it wasn’t absolutely necessary? In this case we know why…I guess the easter bunny has come home to roost….

    • lannyh says:

      Thanks. It’s infuriating to see such incompetence. Of course, there is always the possibility that Chamblee is just lying. I say that because John Feinstein just wrote a Golf Channel piece calling for… Woods to return to Harmon. Perhaps GC thinks they can make hay out of a Woods-Harmon reunion, or at least speculation and rumor. It’s damn depressing, though. Like those “expert witnesses” at trials whose motto is, in reality, “Have testimony, will travel.”

      I sent Chamblee the Diaz link. I wonder if I’ll hear back from him. Much more likely that next week, at the US Open, Chamblee will be pushing his bullshit that Woods simply needs to return to his swing of 2000. The one Woods said had to be modified to protect his knee… They probably push this meme because admitting Woods is old and injured kind of closes the book for good. The idea that Woods just needs to return to Harmon maintains a fantasy of hope.

      The Easter Bunny has come home to roost, indeed.

  2. Kris says:

    They’re both wrong. Did you ever consider the fact that Tiger might have been wrong about what was causing his knee problems? Before Tiger turned pro he was having to drain cysts in his knee. It reminds me of Lydia Ko and her wrist cyst, which makes me think it might be linked to practicing too hard as a growing child.

    Tiger changing his swing after that knee surgery was him grasping at straws trying to figure out a way to keep his body working. He blamed his swing because he wanted to feel like he had control over the situation and was doing something about it. Tiger was always open to changing his swing because it meant he might get closer to perfect. His knee was bad before and after Butch’s swing. He had his knee/ACL surgery late in the Haney era, so Haney’s swing did nothing to help it.

    Tiger going back to Butch’s swing would be no more damaging to his body than anything else. It would also do no good because Tiger is old and washed up. All these desperate people (including Tiger) saying “I know how to fix Tiger” need to realize the only thing that will fix Tiger is a time machine, and that ain’t happening.

    • lannyh says:

      I think they are just trying to wring the last drop of blood from the turnip at this point. Have you read the Diaz piece yet? There is a lot of information about the injury-swing dynamic. There was a definite cause/correlation thing going on. Basically: if I swing this way, it hurts; if I swing this way, it doesn’t.

      As for Haney, one of the reasons Woods went to Foley was for injury prevention/mitigation. He also started experimenting with his shoes, even going completely spikeless for a while, I think. So, yeah, he still had problems with Haney. I remembered that. I had to research the Harmon thing.

      The key point is that Woods simply can’t return to the Harmon swing. The one from 2000 that Chamblee keepings putting up on Golf Channel for side-by-side comparisons with Woods’s current swing. So, for Chamblee to keep harping on that shows an appalling stupidity or an appalling desire to deceive.

    • Kris says:

      I didn’t take the time to read the whole Diaz piece, but I believe you. Based on his injury history in the 10 years since, I still stand by my assertion that going back to Butch’s swing now that his ACL has been repaired wouldn’t injure him any worse than any other swing. I admit that opinion might be baseless and idiotic, but I stand by my rights as an American to hold that opinion regardless. 😛 Brandel makes his money being contrarian, and in his mind he has enough evidence to support that opinion. I’m sick to death of this debate and I’m ready to read what you have to say about that CBS special and Shane Ryan’s book.

      • lannyh says:

        Haha, well, my CBS Special thing is darn good, if I must say so myself. A little different from my standard fare. I’ll try to post it tomorrow, but it’s hard to even make myself read it, much less edit it. It pushes the needle well to the “touchy-feely” side. It’s far easier for me to do caustic, combative, factual stuff, because that’s not mood dependent. (Or maybe that says something sad about my default mood, haha.)

      • Kris says:

        Based on your online presence, your default mood seems to be righteous indignation, haha. I like your “tochy-feely” stuff, like your post on why you’ll never block people and your tribute to Calvin Peete. Now I’m really looking forward to it.

  3. Ken says:

    I really don’t think Woods is fixable at this point. He’s old and beat up. He’s also at an age when most players stop winning, at least with any frequency. (Faldo, Ballesteros, Watson, Nicklaus) He is right on schedule.

    He could go to Harmon. Regardless of whatever caused his past knee problems, that doesn’t mean that Harmon would try to get him to swing like he was 25 again. Harmon works with what the player can do.

    • lannyh says:

      Very true, but… Brandel keeps contrasting Woods’s current swing to his 2000 U.S. Open swing.

    • GolfFan says:

      Boom! That’s exactly right. It’s not as much about the “Butch Swing” as much as it is going back to Butch, the instructor. As you mentioned, Butch has a reputation for what a player has and makes it better, more consistent. It’s not about swinging a specific kind of way.

  4. Ken says:

    The more I look at his record, the more I think Harmon was a bad move for Mickelson. Mickelson won more frequently under Rick Smith.

    • GolfFan says:

      When did Mickelson switch? I know he did, just forget when it happened. I ask because it would seem that while Phil won more with Smith, he won most of his majors with Butch. I could be wrong there though.

      • Ken says:

        2007, the year after he gave away the US Open on the 18th. Three of his five majors were pre-Harmon.

        Probably nothing to do with Harmon’s coaching, but Phil never could close out tournaments as well after that disaster at Winged Foot. That left some lingering mental damage.

        History may have been very different had he won that Open. It would have been his 3rd straight major and he’d have been ranked #1.

      • Ken says:

        Not dumping on Harmon, I just don’t think he’s a miracle worker. Mickelson has other factors that could have contributed to fewer wins: age, outside interests, motivation, family, arthritis, his wife’s and Mom’s health.

      • GolfFan says:

        Fair enough. We’ll just have to chalk it up to those other factors you mentioned.

      • Ken says:

        Mickelson won three majors in two years ending with the ’06 Masters, ending those “best player never to win a major” years. The next year, he switched coaches. Seemed like an odd decision. It took another three years to get his next major.

        Twelve total wins since April 2007 (eight years) when he started with Harmon. He had seventeen wins in his last eight non-Harmon years.

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