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Ben Hogan vs. Tiger Woods – Swing Analysis – Part 1

One of the most interesting aspects of any study of golf swings over the history of the game is the fact that as in any art, there is not so much a progression as there is an evolution. In other words, it would not be correct to say that the swings of the greatest players have improved from the early part of the 20th century to now, just as it would be incorrect to say that Stravinsky is an improvement over Beethoven. The argument as to whether Gene Sarazen was better in his prime than Phil Mickelson is now, or whether Tiger Woods is better than Jack Nicklaus, or whether any player of a past era was as good as modern players, is a waste of time. What is not a waste of time is a standardized analysis of the video we have of these great players, where we can look for similarities and differences, and then perhaps come up with generalizations based on actual observation.

This particular video comparison of Tiger Woods and Ben Hogan stands out because of the unexpected similarities in their respective techniques. I make it a point throughout my video analysis work to point out items that reoccur consistently: in this case the lowering of the head due to the increase in spine angle is present in both players. In order to achieve this increase while keeping the head out over the ball the hips must deepen and the body weight must compress into the ground, precisely the action that TV announcers readily peg as a serious problem. But it is incredibly obvious to me: if Tiger does it (14 majors), and Hogan did it (9 majors), then how can it be bad?



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5 Responses to Ben Hogan vs. Tiger Woods – Swing Analysis – Part 1

  1. Cary January 24, 2018 at 8:25 pm #

    If Tiger is increasing the angle of his upper body on the downswing then why is his head not moving out towards the ball more?

  2. Charles Zellner January 25, 2018 at 6:50 am #

    Maybe because his butt is going backwards? That’s my understanding.

  3. John January 27, 2018 at 7:16 am #

    This is one of the features of the pivot compression swing. When your right hip deepens on the backswing, in order to keep your head from backing up (on a DTL view) the body must lower.

  4. Cary January 28, 2018 at 3:19 pm #

    I can see that now as he is adding knee flex his butt moves past the line behind him and that is why his belt buckle is moving that way also, but I would say he is not really increasing the angle of his upper body all the lowerin is caused by the added knee flex.

  5. Cary January 29, 2018 at 8:09 pm #

    When you are measuring the angle of Tiger’s spine increasing in downswing you cannot measure from the Front, youre measuring the lats more than the spine. You might say if the lats move down then doesn’t the spine have to move with it, not if something else could be causing it to move down such as more knee bend.

    I am not trying to nick pick just throwing info out there that might be correct or not.

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