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Brandel Chamblee: ‘Tiger Going To Have Recurring Back Problems’

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(Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick wrote that everybody in television – the Golf Channel, CBS, NBC, TNT, ESPN, etc. – are missing the boat right now.

We’re so focused on Tiger Woods, he said, that we’re missing out not only on the masterful play of Rory McIlroy, but also the emergence of Rickie Fowler and resurgence of Sergio Garcia, among other golf storylines.

Mushnick’s theory? We’re all afraid – or at least unwilling – to move on from Woods.

Is he right?

“Well, I would say with due respect to (Mushnick) that the mere fact that he presents that tells me that he’s not paying attention when we actually do talk about Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler, which is all the time,” Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee said on The John Feinstein Show. “I mean, we’ve done many shows where we didn’t talk about Tiger when Rory and Rickie were factoring prominently in the tournament.”

“The fact that we do talk about Tiger is because what he’s done in the game is unprecedented in golf, and what he’s done is unprecedented in sport in that he won over 40 percent of his golf tournaments for a period of time from 2005 to 2009. Nobody ever has – or ever will – do that again. But then he changed the very nature of what he did that gave him that winning percentage and those wide margin of victories. Nobody in the history of sport – not anybody who’s ever excelled at that level – would dare mess with the technique that (got) him (to) that level.”

“But the comparisons that we make with Rory are hard to find. There are just two people who come to mind, and that’s Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Tiger Woods is the most compelling figure in the game of golf – maybe the most compelling figure in the world of sport – and will continue to be so. And as long as our viewers are interested in hearing about him, we’ll continue to talk about him. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t give Rory McIlroy his due – and when he wins 14 major championships, perhaps he’ll dominate the talk a little harder.”

Woods, who almost didn’t play in the PGA Championship due to back pain, didn’t have a horrible opening round Thursday, but he didn’t have a very good one, either. He hit just 10 of 18 greens and needed 30 putts to shoot a 3-over 74.

Chamblee, however, believes Woods’ main issue is not his back, but rather, his swing. In fact, Chamblee got into a contentious debate with Golf Channel partner Frank Nobilo about this very topic on Thursday.

“First of all, what I’ve said last night, I’ve said 100 times – and I said it four years ago and three years ago and two years ago – and I’ve said it 100 different ways,” Chamblee began. “It’s nice to argue with Frank. He’s got some very valid and wonderful points and well-thought out points that are contrary to mine. But my point is, when everybody’s talking about his back trouble, they’re missing the point, which is the root of the back trouble – and the root of the back trouble is that Tiger . . . is addicted to speed (in his swing).”

Explain, please – in English.

“His hands are so far in front of the ball that it alters the path (by which) he comes into the ball,” Chamblee said. “So he comes into the ball swinging out to the right, and to compensate for that, his back goes (backward). He leans backward. I don’t know if he does this consciously. I’m sure it’s just a subconscious move to counteract the effect, but the only way he can swing on line is if he winds up way to the left – because moving his hands way forward causes the path to go to the right.”

In short, it’s a funky swing.

“Because he has to lean his back so far back to compensate for the handle going so far forward, it pinches his lower back – and it will continue to do so,” Chamblee said. “As long as he does this, he’s going to have recurring back problems, and they’re not going to stop.”

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