Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer of all time, has battled injuries and pain his entire career. “Most people don’t know this Zig but Tiger’s back hurts every day,” Charles Barkley once said to me about Tiger in 2005 on a call as he invited me to meet him and Tiger for drinks at a Scottsdale nightclub.
Because Tiger failed to treat the root cause of his issues, less than 3 years later his career was in jeopardy after undergoing his third knee surgery. Tiger tore the anterior cruciate ligament in 2008 while winning the US Open at Torrey Pines. Tiger showedd signs that his body was breaking down from compensating for the root cause of his injuries. Tiger experienced pain and suffered injuries to his Achilles tendon, left knee, right knee, lower back, and upper back.
As a result of Tiger’s injuries, his swing suffered. Tiger’s “expert” swing coaches constantly tweaked his swing to fix his golf issues as he struggled on the course from 2009 to early in this year’s 2012 season. In my opinion, those coaches needed to focus on suggesting Tiger fix his slumping fitness level and fully recover from chronic injuries.
Unfortunately, the latter was not likely to happen because none of the experts surrounding Tiger seemed to be aware of the need to aggressively focus on the physical limitations and compensation affecting his swing. Sure, like many other world class athletes, Tiger is perceived to have the best swing coach and one of the top medical teams (fitness, physical and massage therapists, chiropractors, etc.) who all may want to say they helped Tiger become number 1 or get back on top of his game. In reality, Tiger makes his coaches look good not the other way around. Working with Tiger or other high profile athletes does not make them the best.
Tiger is the one on the course and doing the exercises. And it is his work ethic that allowed or allows him, from the start of his career, to overcome chronic compensations for his pain and injuries. In addition, Tiger has been so much better than everyone else during his career “talent-wise”, that a 50% healthy Tiger was typically better than 75% of his competition. As I write this Tiger is preparing to tee off in his third major of the year, the 2012 British Open.
Based upon his efforts to date, Tiger’s body (not his swing) seems to be rounding into shape just in time to win a major. This could be his weekend to win his first major golf tournament since the 2008 US Open. But take nothing for granted, Tiger has worked hard to get here. No one discusses what he’s doing off the course, but if Tiger wins, his swing coach will get credit for bringing him back. At the end of the day, it’s Tiger Woods return to fitness that will give him the edge he once enjoyed. Oh, Tiger still has more work to do on his body, but he is much closer to getting healthier and fully recovering from the knee injuries and physical limitations.
Team Tiger should get some credit if he wins, but the bulk of the victory is Tiger’s to celebrate. And by the grace of God, from whom he draws his strength, I believe Tiger will demonstrate his return to glory and win one of the two remaining majors this year and the Master in 2013.
If Tiger wins, let’s not crown his swing coach as “the greatest”, but give Tiger his due for working so hard to get back on top. Tiger is a gift from God and we have all been blessed to have been able to enjoy his golfing career. The bottom line is that we give too much credit to experts who list names of famous people as their clients. They may be the best at promoting and building their business but that does not make them the best in their field. If that were true, Hank Haney would have finally fixed Charles Barkley’s dreadful golf swing. Sorry Charlie…had to say that. It’s Charles’ injury history that affects his swing. There is no amount of instruction alone that will help Charles.
I may not the best at choosing business partners, promoting or building a business, or filing paperwork. However, I pride myself on conducting thorough evaluations and asking questions to determine the root cause of an injury. But that alone doesn’t even make me the best Sports Kinesiologist on the planet (yet). My philosophy is to strive to help lead my clients to solutions for them individually, regardless of the ability level they’ve achieved. I am thankful God has given me the opportunity to work to provide the best services I can to so many of the world’s greatest athletes and anyone who just wants to get back in the game.
No “expert” has any idea how to treat the root cause of your injury until we ask your body some questions. This is done by objectively evaluating your current movement patterns AND injury history. But regardless, unless we measure, we are guessing. And while I have written or offered my opinion after evaluating video footage in some cases, I don’t like to guess. My goal for you as a reader is simple. Ask questions not for references. The way your questions are answered will let you know more than the feedback you get from hand picked references.
Only time will tell if Tiger is addressing his true deficiencies. But as a fan, I certainly hope he wins the 2012 British Open. And I’ll be up early on Thursday morning watching.
Go get’em, Tiger! May God Bless You.
Follow Zig Ziegler, The Sports Kinesiologist on Twitter @zigsports