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Dreaded case of yips suggests tetchy Tiger has had his chips


Tiger Woods can’t hide his frustration at the Phoenix Open

Tiger Woods can’t hide his frustration at the Phoenix Open

Tiger Woods can’t hide his frustration at the Phoenix Open

Hank Haney is one of many who thinks Tiger Woods has the chipping yips. Woods' former coach said on his US radio show that he "has a serious issue and he knows it".

Certainly his use of four-iron and putter early on in his first round at the Phoenix Open was noteworthy given his chipping woes at his own Isleworth tournament late last year.

This wasn't an old pro reverting to a more conservative shot selection towards the end of a bad day or week. Instead it was a 14-time Major winner not even attempting to play the right shot at the start of his opening round.

Tiger knew before we did just how shaky things still were.

But one can only hide for so long. Golf will expose you and when lofted shots were called for, the results were brutal. At one point he bladed a chip right across a green, resulting in embarrassment and another chip waiting for him on the far side.

The dreaded yips revolve around fear.

For Padraig Harrington and his putting yips, the fear stemmed from a lack of conviction in his reading of the greens.

It meant as he brought the putter back he had no idea where he was aiming and consequently the putter felt like an 'electric eel' just before impact. He hit some shocking putts.

It's a testament to his character that he kept putting himself in the firing line.

One wonders if Woods could really endure the ignominy of loitering towards the back of PGA Tour fields for very long.

His own fear stems from a lack of faith in his latest technique. Once so assured, he is now a tetchy conglomerate of different teachings - a consequence of his various major swing overhauls.

He talked before his first round last Wednesday about bedding in the new Chris Como-inspired plan. He had hit 'literally thousands' of chips over the winter break to rectify things. But something is very wrong and those thousands of chips didn't fix it.

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Will he find a way out? Probably. He's Tiger Woods. The danger is it means a wasted year or two, which he can't afford.