If there is a man in golf that isn't scared to say what he's thinking, it's Johnny Miller. The NBC commentator and two-time major champion wrote a piece for Golf.com about Tiger Woods current golf swing, but took a look back at the way Woods swung the golf club when he was winning his first of three straight U.S. Amateur titles.
That was 20 years ago, as Miller points out, and he says that the swing and the power that Woods produced back in his amateur days would lead the tour in driving distance.
"If today’s balls and clubs had been available when Tiger was in college, the 18-year-old Woods would have been 30 yards longer than Bubba is now," Miller said. "Tiger had a mega-wide, mega-long swing built more for a long-drive contest than a U.S. Open, but he tweaked it under Butch Harmon to create arguably the most effective motion in golf history."
It's an interesting theory, and one that you could pin on more than just Tiger Woods. Would Jack Nicklaus have hit the ball 310 yards per pop with today's equipment? What about Ben Hogan or Byron Nelson in their primes?
I do think that Woods produced an incredible amount of power when he was a teenager, and even into his early professional days. When he won the 1997 Masters, it had a lot to do with Woods simply overpowering Augusta National, so much that the course revamped the design to cut down on Tiger hitting 9-irons and wedges into the back nine par-5s.
But, I must say, 30 yards past Bubba is a bit of a stretch. The 2014 Masters champion leads the PGA Tour in driving distance at 313 yards per drive (Woods was 49th a season ago in driving distance, averaging 293 yards per drive), and while I'm sure Woods would be able to get the ball out there with today's equipment and his 1994 golf swing, I'm not sure we would be seeing a man averaging 340 yards per poke.
But Johnny is going to be Johnny, and his point on the power and the length of that early Tiger golf swing had everything to do with clubhead speed and pounding the golf ball as far as possible.
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