Yesterday was full of surprises: Brandel Chamblee replying when I pointed out Jason Sobel’s column; Chamblee backing away from a debate with Sobel; Sobel being adamant in his column, then unwilling to engage Chamblee; commenters acting uncomfortable when I tried to hold the golf media accountable.
The golf media discusses Tiger Woods nearly 24/7, and little they say or write is original or new or interesting. I present them with a chance to have a fresh discussion about Tiger Woods — and they get cold feet.
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.”
Cool! We have a substantive discussion in the making! Let’s give Chamblee his due: He was willing to engage; his comment above was in direct response to Sobel’s comment. Sobel, on the other hand, went into hiding.
Let’s trot out some basic facts. (By the way, I had to look all this up. I don’t give a crap about Woods’s swing, coaches, caddies, mood, grimaces, fist pumps, shirt color, any of that. On the other hand, I do have quite a bit of ready information about Anthony Galea and Tony Bosch. Porter Fisher and Keith Kleven and Mark Lindsay. And Rock Ishii.)
Woods left Harmon in 2003, started with Haney in March 2004. (Last sustained sessions with Butch were June 2003; began distancing in August 2002.) That’s from a Jaime Diaz article where he also says:
How could the player who from 1999 to 2002 had produced arguably the greatest golf ever played want to change his swing?
That sounds like Woods had a subpar 2003. Let’s look… Well, he had five wins, but no majors for the first time in five years. Let me see if I can pinpoint the Harmon/Woods breakup. Oh, wow, Wiki is the way to go. My gosh, does Chamblee not use Wiki? This is pretty unequivocal:
At the same time, he [Woods] let it be known that he was again working on changes to his swing, this time in hopes of reducing the wear and tear on his surgically repaired left knee, which was subjected to severe stress in the 1998–2003 version of his swing.
I know, I know, the knee-jerk reaction for many is that Wiki is total shit. Of course, it’s not. It’s the most accurate and least-biased source you’ll find. It’s in a constant state of “peer review,” and if something is unsourced, it is noted. In this instance, Wiki has two sources for the above excerpt. Let’s check them out…
Oh, crap, one of the sources is the Diaz article I already have open. I just skimmed it; I better read it in full. The other is “Woods is starting to own his swing” by Dave Shedloski, PGA Tour (7/27/06), but the link is dead. Let me do a little searching…
[Interlude: Research takes a little elbow grease. I guess Brandel Chamblee and the researchers at Golf Channel are too busy to bother with it.]
“PGA Tour” in the above source means PGATour.com, I see… They’ve either deleted the story or changed the link. It was a popular article, it seems. I’m finding many references to it. If we can’t find it, Diaz’s alone will be fine, I’m sure.
Looks like PGATour.com only has archives for Shedloski going back to 2007. I could contact Shedloski, I suppose, but I’ve got Diaz as a source, so I’ll let it go, at least for now.
[More to come… The Diaz piece I have to read is 4000 words long… This is getting interesting…]
[While you wait, amuse yourself with this Golf Digest piece from January 2008, “When Might Tiger Pass Jack?” It’s hilarious.]
[Oh, one other thing before I start that long article… On Morning Drive this morning they had two Dancing With the Stars guys who play golf and are at a pro-am or something. One of them shot 82 recently. Someone said that was better than Woods’s 85. The guy said, paraphrasing, “Yeah, I know. I have been trying to improve, and now my game is just as good as Tiger Woods’.” The Golf Channel studio hosts were uncomfortable with that. That was too close to mockery of Woods for their comfort.]
[… two or three hours pass…]
Okay, I’m back. I’ve learned quite a lot. The Diaz article was quite good. It was written in January 2005. It was really interesting to relive the golf zeitgeist of that period in time. I’ve decided to end this article, and present my results in a new one that will be shorter and to the point. Brandel Chamblee is not going to be a happy camper…
Oh, here’s a link to a short thing from Johnny Miller in the summer of 2008 where he compares Woods’s knee injury to Miller’s own, and says:
Eventually the player has to modify his driver swing so the left leg remains bent at the knee through impact.