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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?

~Wayne

 

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