Tom Patri: Are Tiger Woods' difficulties in majors this year more physical or mental?

If someone had told you Tiger Woods would come back this year and win three events, but none of them majors, what would you have said?

P.S., the events he has won so far have all been on great layouts against quality fields. If I had then told you he was going to be right there in a couple of majors only to fold his tent over weekend play, would you have bought into that, given I also told you he was going to play great in those events on Thursday and Fridays?

Golf is just that difficult, ladies and gentlemen, and it exempts no one. I'm now also beginning to wonder with Tiger how much is golf swing and how much is golf head?! The more I coach both the club player as well as the competitive player, words like focus, attitude, concentration, confidence all seem now to me larger than life to me.

Can the attributes be improved, taught, coached? I believe yes, in some cases, and to a degree. Not in some cases.

I'm not saying that technique is not important. However, great technique coupled with a damaged head treads no water.

Allow me to give you a perfect example. I'm currently coaching two wonderful, young junior players. Both have length and precision from tee to green. One has a very classic putting stroke, the other has a bit of funk in his stroke. However, the guy with the funk believes he is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and holes putts from everywhere. The other guy is as scared as a church mouse when he walks onto a putting green. Therefore, game over!

When a tour player's belief system takes a hit, recovery is a fragile thing. We have seen recovery before, but we have also seen train wrecks that have never been put back on the track.

David Duval and Ian Baker-Finch both seem to fit this mold. Many forget Steve Stricker took a dive — a deep dive — and has come back from the depths of hell to be one of the finest players in the world.

Tiger's book has chapters left to be written. Will he be Tiger again? Win majors? Win a major? Break Jack's record? Stand toe to toe with a young stud like Rory and win? Or fade into the history books?

TP's Tip: Swing your club to the top of your backswing. If your right arm (for a right-handed player) forms a perfect right angle, chances are your left arm is in a relatively extended condition.

This is an example of a good backswing radius. Radius, in fact, is a speed source. Try again, only this time purposely allow your right arm to completely collapse. Notice now that you're left arm also now sags. The radius of your backswing is almost nonexistent.

The right arm should structure the left in the backswing. Check out the Right Angle (Teaching Aid) on the training aid area of my website. You'll soon understand what a structured right arm feels like, your radius will improve, and you'll smash that egg out of sight.

Tom Patri gives lessons at the Quarry on Immokalee Road, and is at Friar's Head in New York from May-December. Patri is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher. Visit Patri's website at www.tompatri.com, www.facebook.com/TomPatri or email him at tpatri@mindspring.com.

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