Over the course of his World Golf Hall of Fame career, Greg Norman has made adjustments in his swing, even during major championships. But he’s never undertaken a complete overhaul of his swing ala Nick Faldo or Tiger Woods.
Changes that significant take time to integrate, Norman said on the eve of the Franklin Templeton Shootout he hosts this weekend. Woods, for example, finally ended a 30-month victory drought with three wins earlier this year, bringing his total to 74, which ranks second all-time on the PGA TOUR.
"That’s their choice and decision to do it," Norman said. “If you’re changing coaches, obviously the coach is going to inject his belief on how the golf club should be swung during the motion and the player is gonna listen. Obviously he wouldn’t change coaches if he wasn’t going to listen to that coach.
"So you expect it, and you have to work together. It takes time, two to three months to really make a change, just one change. So if you’re making three or four changes, it may take a year. It’s a big effort. You can pretty much write off a year if you’re going to make a significant change and build into the future."
Woods has restructured his swing with three different coaches, most recently Sean Foley. Norman, though, thinks Woods’s swing, circa 2000, when he was embarking on what came to be called the Tiger Slam was the "purest I’ve ever seen him swing a golf club technically."
Norman said he isn’t sure exactly why Woods decided to make the various changes. "Maybe injury is a significant reason," the former world No. 1 suggested, adding that he and Butch Harmon engineered changes in Norman’s swing from time to time to alleviate stress on his back and spine.
"Like I say, I like the way he swung the golf club in 2000 at any stage of his career," Norman said. "He was technically correct. To me, he was a better middle iron player and controlled his distance better then than he was or is today.
"Right now, from what I read — and that’s all I can say, is what I read — is he’s just trying to take one side of the golf course out of play, which is hitting the ball left. I think he’s worked pretty hard on doing that."