Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tiger's Putting Stroke - Another Point of View

There is a Puttlab report floating around the internet of Tiger Wood's putting stroke. It shows Tiger with 7.8 degrees of rotation at the end of his backswing and low 70's degrees per second of rotation at the ball.

Recently a media golf expert made the claim that Tiger has as much as 50% more rotation than the average pro. Since then I have seen these "facts" repeated with great frequency. By other media experts, as well as everyday followers of Tiger and golf forums. I think the opinion is based on this report.

First let's address the backswing rotation issue. What the experts fail to mention is that in the report, Tiger starts with the putter pointed 2.5 degrees right of target on average. So the actual amount of backswing rotation is 5.3 degrees and not 7.8. Puttlab measures where the putter is at any giving time and does not judge on a cumulative basis. So if 7.8 is 50% more than the average, 5.3 is only about 20% more. Assuming the average stat is true.

I have never believed that this measurement was an accurate prediction of what Tiger did in tournament play. More so, it corresponds with his frequent complaint at the time, of not feeling the toe release during the stroke. So by opening the face at address he forced himself to release the toe hard at impact to square the face. Hence, the rotation numbers are greater than a perceived average. This is an educated guess based on a number of other reports of Tiger's I have seen with a more normal aim point and smaller rotation numbers.

One more opinion. Most tour players use a shut to open rotation pattern based the relationship of face to target line. Tiger and some others use a square to path or arc reference. The square to the path players always show more rotation than the square to the target. Regardless of how you might feel about the two schools of thought, comparing rotation numbers between the two theories is the source of a problem. The real question should be, "Does Tiger have more rotation than other square to arc or path players?" The answer is a little but not as much as the media experts would have you think.