Does Tiger Woods Have the Yips?

Tiger Woods Yips?Does Tiger Woods have the yips? Is he losing his mental edge with the putter on the greens? We used to think of Tiger as one of the best putters under pressure when trying to win a golf tournament. Now rumors are circulating about Wood’s having the yips with his putter or at least the putter is letting him down at the wrong time: during final rounds.

One example: During the final round of the AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, Tiger was only four shots behind the leader in third place and paired with Phil Mickelson. Traditionally he has played very well when paired with Mickelson, but not this Sunday.

Instead, the putter let Tiger down at Pebble Beach. Let me correct myself. Tiger’s mental toughness was leaking oil in the form of badly missed putts. Does Tiger need a sports psychologist? He couldn’t sniff the hole from long distance and he jacked five putts from inside five feet to shoot an uncharacteristic 75 in the final round, all the while Mickelson was lighting it up on the green. Phil shot a 64 and charged past the fourth round leader Wi. Tiger must have felt he got lapped.

Maybe Tiger needs a reality check? Earlier in the week Tiger said he was hitting good putts, but not making his share. “I’m hitting good putts. I’m not displeased with my putting at all. I just didn’t hit the ball in the right spots to give myself the right looks. If we were putting smooth greens, it would be a totally different deal. I know I can put those in all day. But when you’re putting on these, you have to put the ball below the hole to try to be aggressive and take out some of the movement,” said Woods.

Is Woods making excuses by blaming the smoothness of the greens? Great putter think they can putt on any surface. I’m wondering if he is hiding from the truth of the matter… Hitting good putts is a good start, but you have to read the greens and hit them with the right speed for the putts to drop too.

Another clue Tiger feeds us about his putting form…

He’s admitted to tinkering with the short club. Is he too confused between his ears? When asked if he dad knew his putting stroke better than everyone and could fix it with one sentence, he agreed to adopting too many putting styles. “I go back to a lot of my dad’s teachings. I’ve written a lot of it down over the years, just from memory of what he used to teach me. I tried to do different putting styles under Butch and Hank, but when push comes to shove, I revert back. And when I have to make them, it’s a must make putt, I revert back to a lot of my dad’s teachings. It’s something I know; it’s natural, and it’s worked in the past,” said Woods.

You be the judge. Does Tiger have the yips? I don’t think so. But the putting errors multiply when he’s under pressure. I think that’s he’s had too many cooks in the kitchen. Translation: he’s adopted too many putting styles over the years because of the changes in instructors. When he’s under pressure, he reverts back to an older style of putting his dad taught him. This can’t be good for his trust in his stroke. And being stuck between two or three styles of putting can’t be good for his consistency. And that’s the problem in my opinion. Tiger, please call me so we can get you over the hump.

Comments

  1. Stephen Cheng says:

    February 23, 2012 .

    Yes, Tiger is getting the Yips putting. The 6 foot putt he missed on 18 today on 18 against Nick Watney’s in the Match Play was the latest evidence of that. He missed to the right by more than 6 inches. Everyone watching, including Watney’s were in shock. Here is why.

    Tiger is right eye dominant. He see the hole slightly right of we’re it actually is. It is an aiming error that affects golfers as they age. This manifests itself more on shorter putts, which he says he is now pushing. In fact, he reads say 3 inches of break (right to left), but because of his aiming error, actually hits it 6 inches to the right of the hole. His read is OK, but his aim is wrong. When he was younger he was able to compensate, but no longer. It affects many golfers as they age. Look at Vijay, Tom Kite, Tom Watson to name a few.

    Tiger is now making excuses for his poor putting. A common thread is that he cannot read the greens. Abu Dhabi, Pebble Beach and now Dove Mntain. The same poor putting and the same denial by Tiger.

    The solution? Tiger should putt left handed, with his dominant eye closer to the hoe. That way his aiming error will be eliminated.

    Stephen Cheng in Vanoucver, B.C.

    • Thanks for the comment. I see it as a trust issue with his stroke. However, it could be that he’s too indecisive with his read of the green–never believing in his line that is causing the problem with his trust over the ball. He seemed to be taking more time over the ball, which might mean he’s over-thinking.

  2. robert dyson says:

    I think the yips is all about being anxious. This results in looking up to quickly and even lifting. The solution is then to crouch/bend over more on the putt – it is much harder to be anxious and lift from a more crouched/bent over position. An added advantage is that the shoulders move more in line with the putt, rather than around – the putter head also travels more in a straight line – back and through. It is also easier to hold your putting finish.

    This method has given me a smooth and no yip putting stroke (over 3 months now).

    The best example of this is Jack Nicklaus – he never seemed to have yip problems – he was more crouched/bent over than any other good player that I know of.

  3. Although this physical band aid might work for you, it’s a temporary fix to the putting yips. It does not address the real cause of the anxiety. Anxiety comes from worry about missing or embarrassing yourself. What you are doing is covering up the symptoms of the anxiety: lifting up. This is a typical approach a golf instructor would teach golfers to overcome the yips. If it works for you, run with it. But do you really want to putt with anxiety?

  4. robert dyson says:

    Please give this a bit more thought rather than just say it is a bandaid approach. The more you crouch/bend the more the stroke is with the rocking of your shoulders rather than the hands. The yips also come from the hands making anxious/unplanned movements. With the hands out of the stroke the yips also significantly reduce.

    • I appreciate any ideas that can help my readers. But if yips are about anxiety or fear, the solutions is to address the anxiety and fear. Sometimes quick fixes and bandaids can work and maybe even change how you think about putting.

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