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GolfTube: Tiger Woods’ return, Gary Woodland, and dad’s advice

Jonathan Wall
Devil Ball Golf

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Greenbrier hole

Sizing up the TV coverage from the Greenbrier Classic ... and away we go.

No weekend golf broadcast is complete without an update on Tiger Woods. One week after CBS's Ian Baker-Finch discussed the Tiger Woods-Steve Williams saga, Jim Nantz, Nick Faldo, Peter Kostis and Ian Baker-Finch talked about Woods' return at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, during a rain delay in the third round.

"Well more importantly than the clearance from the doctor, there's got to be clearance from his mind," Faldo said. "A knee injury ... you load four-times your body weight onto your knee with a wedge swing. So imagine doing that on the competitive stage. You cannot duplicate the intensity of playing tournament golf. You can't practice that away. So he must have tested this knee and knows it's 100 percent ... or whatever his 100 percent can be. He has to have complete trust in his knee."

Nantz then kicked the conversation over to one of Woods' favorite commentators, Peter Kostis, for his opinion on one of the most anticipated returns in some time.

"As has been the case with Tiger recently, there are a whole lot more questions than answers," Kostis said. "Coming back next week, we've been told he hasn't been hitting any golf balls. But I wonder if he's been chipping and putting. ... It's just hard to believe that someone can come back that quickly after that long of a layoff. But if anybody can, it would be Tiger Woods. The other issue he's going to have to deal with is walking Firestone, so he has a lot to overcome. I think most people had written him off and figured he wouldn't come back this year and really heal up, but Tiger is competitive. He hates seeing other players win trophies."

The Tiger discussion was then wrapped up with Ian Baker-Finch talking about Steve Williams being on Adam Scott's back at Firestone, and the impact of childhood friend Bryon Bell carrying for Woods.

Rain delays can be a major drag on live coverage, but CBS managed to turn a period of dead airtime into a wonderful opportunity to discuss one of the hottest topics in golf. And they managed to get opinions from nearly the entire golf team.

The discussion was certainly one of the highlights of CBS's Greenbrier coverage.

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Gary Woodland's golf swing

Gary Woodland, Bubba Watson, Alvaro Quiro and John Daly may be some of the biggest hitters on tour, but if there's one thing that separates Woodland from the group, it's his golf swing.

As Peter Kostis noted, Woodland's swing is nearly perfect, which is a rarity for a player that ranks near the top of the PGA Tour in driving distance.

"There are lots of guys that can hit it far," Kostis said, "but everyone of them has a unique characteristic in their swing where you see how they get their distance. John Daly overswings; Bubba Watson both feet off the ground; Alvaro Quiros really fast hands; Dustin Johnsona shut face. Gary Woodland does it with what I think is almost a technically perfect golf swing. He has the swing of a control player. It's a golf swing that will be very, very repetitive for a number of years."

Nick Faldo agreed with Kostis' assessment of Woodland's swing, but also added another interesting comment about why he's been so successful recently.

"Another thing I like about his golf swing is that he plays a fade with the driver and a draw with the 3-wood," Faldo said. "So you've got a lot of options, including going down to the 3-wood if you ever need the draw."

Dad knows best, Jimmy

Leave it to dear old dad to give the perfect putting advice at just the right time. After starting off the year on the right foot, Jimmy Walker noticed his putting had taken a severe dip over the past couple of months.

That's when dad came to the rescue. As Peter Kostis said, Walker's dad helped him get his putter back on track at just the right time.

"He got a great tip on his putting from his dad," Peter Kostis said. "He said that he noticed from watching on TV that Jimmy wasn't getting set into his left side quite like he was earlier in the year. So Jimmy gave it a go ... and you'll notice the difference. He'll get a little more weight now on his left side."

CBS's sitdown with Anthony Kim

It's been a while since we've seen Anthony Kim in the weekend booth for a post-round interview. A lot of that has to do with the way he's been playing, but on Saturday afternoon, following his 8-under 62, Kim took the booth to chat with Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo.

Kim has endured an up-and-down 12 months, but he remained upbeat during the interview, as Nantz and Faldo threw up softball questions.

"Before when I was just trying to hit the ball, I'd just step up to the tee -- my normal shot was a fade -- and I'd just hit the fade," Kim said, "so I've been trying to hit some draws as well this week. The fact that I got injured will ultimately help me play better as my career goes on."

The final sentence in that comment drew some raised eyebrows from Faldo and Nantz, but neither asked a follow-up. I understand the reason not to turn the interview into a 60 Minutes grill session, but that's the kind of question where viewers would have enjoyed knowing why he thinks the injury will help him.

Overall, though, Nantz and Faldo got some great comments out of Kim, especially on his thoughts on getting back on top of the golf world, and what a victory at the Greenbrier would mean to him, after his trials and tribulations over the last 12 months.

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