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Does Tiger Woods Have the Yips?

By: Golfshake Editor | Mon 06 Feb 2017

Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements

EVERYBODY has an opinion about what Tiger Woods should do next after his latest injury setback. And Gary Player, it seems, has an opinion about everything – and Woods is also on his radar. 

Last year, Player said that he could fix Jordan Spieth's swing problems in a matter of minutes. In the past he has expressed some controversial views about drugs in golf – later withdrawn. And now he is convinced that Woods is suffering from “the cancer of golf, the yips”.

“The thing that concerns me about Tiger’s comeback, which nobody is saying much about, is when he was playing a little while ago, he had the yips very badly with the chipping,” said Player in an interview with Gulf News. “He was hitting a chip shot in front of him or hitting it over the green. I am so used to seeing him having a chip and he puts the ball two feet from the hole. To see him chipping the way he does, there’s no way he can win. No way at all.”

The veteran South African seems to be referring to the horrors that Woods suffered fully 18 months ago. But he seems to have conveniently overlooked the fact that the 14-time major winner has shown no signs of suffering from any problems with the wedge since then. Sure, his comeback has been bitterly disappointing to date, but around the greens he really hasn't been too bad.

Former Open champion, David Duval, himself no stranger to major struggles in the game, cited a trifecta of problems that have come together to damage Tiger's ability and confidence.

Leading golf journalist, Alan Shipnuck tweeted a succient assessment of why Tiger has fallen far away from competitive form. 

Bizarrely, Player believes Woods’ decline can be traced all the way back to the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach, which he won by 15 shots.

“If he’d never had another lesson after winning the US Open by 15 shots, I firmly believe he would have gone on and broken every conceivable record in the game,” he said. He seems to have overlooked the fact that Woods won a further 11 majors after that success.

“A man called Henry Longhurst, the greatest TV announcer that ever lived, said something interesting, 'When you get the yips, you die with the yips.' Very few people recover from the yips. If you look at Ernie Els, he had this beautiful golf swing, but he got the yips. Look at him in the past 40 tournaments. He’s really struggled to make the cut.

“The yips is a destroyer; it’s the cancer of golf. Everybody I know got it. Only Jack Nicklaus and I didn’t and I don’t know why. I can’t explain it.”

He added: “I don’t think he’ll win another major, but I sincerely hope he does. Nothing would give me a greater thrill than Tiger winning another major, but it’s an awfully big task. He has a monumental challenge ahead.”

Tiger's first challenge is, of course, to prove to himself and to everybody else that he remains fit enough to carry on playing at the highest level. His form at the Farmers Insurance Open and at the Dubai Desert Classic, where he withdrew after a first round of 77 citing back spasms, suggests that there is much work still to be done. But the yips? Really?


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Tags: tiger woods PGA Tour

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