Tiger’s monthly newsletter

Here’s the monthly newsletter Tiger Woods writes on his Web site. You have to sign up – it’s free – to take a look, so I’ve pasted on this blog for you. As always, there’s a golf tip at the end.

NEWSLETTER

December 20, 2007 By Tiger Woods

I have so much to be thankful for in 2007. Obviously, my wife and new daughter top the list. I had always heard that fatherhood changes your life and perspective, but until you experience it, there’s no way to really understand how much. Every day, Sam does something new that brings a smile to my face. I appreciate the little things, like having her watch me hit balls on the back of the driving range or watch sports with me on TV. She’s a wonderful, curious little girl, and Elin and I cherish every moment together.

Golf-wise, I’ve always said if you win a major, it’s a great year. Everything else is gravy. Winning the PGA Championship was the highlight, but I played consistently most of the season and am very pleased with my progress. It was also satisfying to win two World Golf Championship events, and of course, the inaugural FedExCup.

The only disappointments were coming up short at the Masters and U.S. Open. I put myself in position both times, but just couldn’t get the job done. I’ll think about that during the next few weeks and hopefully come back even stronger in 2008.

It was nice to end the year with a W in the Target World Challenge. Coming off a 10-week break, I wasn’t sure how sharp I would be, but I putted great and hit big shots when I needed them. I also accomplished it playing the new Nike ONE Platinum ball. More importantly, we were able to raise a lot of money for the Tiger Woods Foundation, which will enable us to help more kids. My thanks to the players, sponsors, staff, volunteers and of course the fans for making the tournament such a big success.

The Tiger Woods Leaning Center in Anaheim, Ca. has exceeded all expectations, and we are making great progress in our Washington, D.C. efforts. We also have some exciting programs I plan to launch in January 08. More on that later.

I would like to thank my good friend Hank Haney for all his help and support this year. Henry dealt with some family issues and I know it wasn’t easy. He didn’t attend as many events as he usually does, and rightfully so. But he was there when I needed him. All the countless hours we have put in together are paying off. I have a better understanding of my golf swing than ever before and know how to fix most of my faults. When I don’t, Henry will continue to be my extra set of eyes.

I will start the 2008 season next month by defending my title at the Buick Invitational. I want to spend as much time as I can during the holidays with family and friends. Although I’ve never been much of Christmas guy, things are different now that we have Sam. As a kid, my parents used to give me a left shoe for Christmas and a right shoe for my birthday (Dec. 30). Real funny. I’m not a great shopper, but look forward to picking out a few presents for her.

That’s all for now. Elin, Sam and I send our best wishes for the holiday season. Have a safe and healthy New Year.

Tiger

TIGER’S TIP

By Tiger Woods, Golf Digest Playing Editor, Edited By Pete McDaniel and Mark Soltau

My 4 Best Tips

How To Play My Dominant Shots

1. MY BEST TIP: IRON PLAY

I don’t have to look far to find the key to the nice, little run I made late in the year. As the season went on, my laundry list of body and club positions to make my swing consistent got shorter and shorter. By August, I was freed up to just play and ease into my natural rhythm. I putted pretty well, too. That helps.

I can boil down every facet of my game to a couple of fine points that keep it grooved. It’s a one-two punch for success that might benefit you, too.

Take my iron play: (1) I make a full shoulder turn while keeping my head from moving to my right. At the top, my shaft is parallel to the target line, and the toe is pointed down, which means the face is square. (2) I release stored power at impact: My head stays steady as my hips turn left and my arms extend.

2. MY BEST TIP: 3-WOOD DRAW

a. SWING ALONG YOUR FEET
I’ve regained my ability to shape tee shots with my woods. The 3-wood draw is a staple for me. With a slightly closed stance, I take the club back along my toe line. The shaft tracks to the inside halfway back. It tracks along that same path on the downswing, allowing me to deliver the club from the inside and impart right-to-left spin.

b. KEEP YOUR RIGHT HEEL LOW
You can’t draw the ball without releasing the club through impact. But release too soon and you risk hitting a shrimp; too late and it’s a block. In the past, I would get up on my right toe very quickly from too much pace in my swing. Keeping the inside of my right heel on the ground longer means I’ve swung within myself for a well-timed release.

3. MY BEST TIP: SHORT-IRON CUTTER

a. STARTING DOWN
I love to control the trajectory of my shots. Gives me a bit of an edge in windy conditions. I don’t have to beat down on the ball or change ball position. It’s all in the release. Here I’m holding it against the wind coming from the right. A slightly open stance, one extra club and a delayed release are the main requirements for this little cutter.

b. HOLD OFF THE RELEASE
To flight the ball down, I try to abbreviate my backswing and through-swing. With this fairly compact action, I attack the ball from the inside even for a cut shot, holding off the release a millisecond to impart left-to-right spin. When the wind is against and from the right like on this shot, I’m careful to start the ball right of the flagstick.

4. MY BEST TIP: LAG PUTT

a. RIGHT HAND CONTROLS
Lag putting begins and ends with proper mechanics. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a rotational putter like me or a linear (straight back and through) putter like some others who can really roll their rock. You should position your eyes directly over the ball, hold your head in place and keep your wrists from breaking down. I do this with my right hand.

b. RELEASE THE PUTTERHEAD
Some players keep the putter low back and through. I have a pendulum stroke, where the club comes off the ground. My right hand controls my stroke. I’ve had posture problems in the past, so I’m cognizant of staying tall through impact. I allow the putterhead to release naturally, and impact feels very soft, as if the ball just gets in the way.

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About Jill Painter

Jill Painter is a sports columnist for the Los Angeles News Group, covering everything from the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, USC, UCLA, Kings, golf and all human interest stories in sports.