Tiger Woods Comeback – What Did He CHANGE?

Tiger Woods Comeback – How did he do it?

Tiger Woods Interview

That’s almost hilarious. There was never anything wrong with his swing or his physical game or talent. We all know exactly what happened to him.

Nobody thinks it’s a total coincidence that his game went downhill after his personal problems.He has said in interviews that he rebuilt his swing and his game…blah blah blah…

Awhile back, I wrote a post saying that Tiger Woods is not mentally tough. I got all kinds of flack for that from Tiger fans. But, I was just calling it exactly like it was at the time. He wasn’t. His personal life hurt his golf and he didn’t win for quite a long time.  That’s not even debatable.

So what about today? Well, since I preach to all the teams and athletes I work with that mental toughness is 50% resilience, then yeah, I have to say that Tiger, having regained #1 world status again, has become mentally tough….and that’s not really debatable either.

Whatever you think of Tiger Woods, his recovery in golf brings up an important point for your game…and your life.

What did he change and how do you make CHANGE like that?

Well, this is exactly what I do…help people CHANGE.

If this weren’t the case, people could give up smoking easily, we wouldn’t have an obesity or drug and alcohol problem.  AND, this is the same functionality that creates problems with your golf swing or putting stroke. If you’ve been with me for any amount of time, you know that this is the core of everything I teach here.For starters, in order to make any kind of permanent or long-lasting CHANGE, it has to be done at the unconscious (subconscious) level of the mind.

Tiger Woods Comeback SwingWhen you tighten up, you have a program at the unconscious level that needs to CHANGE.

When you “yip” a putt, that’s your unconscious mind creating that problem.

When you can’t stop all of that negative thinking and worrying on the course, that’s also your unconscious. You are in need of CHANGE.

In fact, all of your problems out there can be traced to the unconscious mind…and so were Tiger’s.  There was never anything wrong with his game or swing.

So…step 1 is just understanding that you have a conscious and an unconscious mind and that you must INTEND to make your CHANGE in the unconscious mind because this is what controls your emotions, and your emotions are the police force for your behaviors and performance. If you get to understanding this, you are 40% of the way to making your CHANGE.

8121786_xxlStep 2 Find an antidote thought. This is something that “counters” or directly challenges the problem at it’s core. For instance, you might have the program:  “This hole always gets to me and I never do well on it.”
The antidote could be:  “A golf hole is a golf hole no matter where I play and the fact that I know this hole makes it more likely that I can own it.”

Do you see how this antidote is really specific to the problem? We’re not just doing a general “affirmation” like:  “I’m a great golfer”  which is supposed to overcome all of your problems. That kind of general antidote doesn’t have near the CHANGE power as one that is specific. You are now 60% of the way there.

Step 3Mental repetition with INTENTION to go to the unconscious.  Think your antidote thought at least 10 times a day. Take a moment, stare off into space or close your eyes, take a deep breath and think your antidote thought.  Let the antidote thought integrate with the rest of your knowledge of the game and your other beliefs. Process it in. ( I could write a book on just this step but this is the basics)

This is probably the most common and simple way to make CHANGE. If you do step 3 with INTENTION, you are basically doing hypnosis. Hypnosis is nothing more than communication with the unconscious mind.

Golf Mental Game TipsAnother even more powerful way to make CHANGE is to take advantage of highly emotional states.  Whenever you are in high emotion, you have opened the gateway to the unconscious mind.  When that gateway is open, whatever you are thinking at the time has a very good opportunity of becoming your new program in the unconscious mind.

So, going back to Tiger Woods comeback, I don’t know exactly how he rebuilt his mental toughness but somehow, he had to integrate what happened in his personal life with his beliefs as a world class golfer.

Clearly he did that. Bravo for him for making this CHANGE. Sure would be nice to hear from the press about any positive changes he’s made in his personal life in addition to his game.

You can do the same thing with any problem for your golf game all on your own…or, you can get guidance with someone like me. Basically, coming up with antidotes is all I really do. Maybe you’ve picked up some by now!

I’d love to see your comments or questions below.

Greens and fairways,


Craig Sigl

  • Leon says:

    Saw a tabloid headline in the grocery store yesterday about how TW convinced Lindsey Vonn to take a chance on dating him. The term “sex addict” was used. How convenient for him that she’s recovering from a broken leg, therefore mobility-challenged, while he is still globe-trotting, with probably the same number of opportunities for infidelity to Lindsey as he had before Elin found out about his extra-curricular antics and dumped him. TW has changed huh? I wouldn’t be too quick to say that just yet. Let’s wait and see if Ms. Vonn becomes Mrs. Woods and their nuptials last longer than his first one with Elin. THEN, there will be proof of a change.

    • Craig Sigl says:

      HI Leon,
      Interesting take on it all. Thanks for the comments!
      Greens and fairways,

  • Taps says:

    I am so sorry to have to say this Craig but trying to tie in your mental change philosophy to Tiger’s resurgence is poorly done. Any golfer, even a casual one like myself, can see that he has indeed changed his swing…and not for the first time.

    This is Tiger’s second major change and if we use the first one as an basis of what can happen when a pro changes his swing (which as it happens is a perfect control experiment as he was not in the middle of some emotional upheaval that we know about) then it becomes pretty clear that the process and consequences of a swing change under both circumstances are almost identical. For a layman like myself that suggests that what we have been witnessing in Tiger’s struggles and his comeback is primarily about his golf swing and not some emotional trauma that needed sorting out.

    What I do agree with you on however is that there is no doubt that undertaking a major swing change can itself unleash some emotional demons, more so when your current swing has taken you to world number 1 and 14 majors. Most golfers with that kind of swing would be considered crazy just for thinking about changing a swing that has given results like that. Tiger has said that his physical condition and injuries had forced him to play through severe pain and had in a way shaped his swing as he had to play around some of his physical limitations. He took the time to sort out those injuries, and made what in the clear light of day seems a very rational and measured decision…he decided to build a swing for his new physical condition and a swing that will hopefully not itself create future health challenges. In typical, and for some infuriating, Tiger style when he was asked about the new swing he insisted that it was a change he needed to make to get even better than he was before…that’s right he wanted to be better than world number1, he wanted to beat ‘old Tiger’…such audacity!

    With that decision made he then did the surgeries and set about rebuilding body and his swing. He changed caddies and hired a new swing coach. Tiger would have to be a machine if he never once thought of abandoning the swing change and going back to the tried and tested old one (albeit fraught with future injury potential). No doubt that is the mental strength to which you refer in your article, but that mental strength was needed to see through the swing changes, it was not the change itself.

    As an amateur golfer however I cannot but fully endorse your ideas around balancing of emotions and thoughts etc. in optimising the potential of what you have at your disposal. However no amount of mental strength can push you beyond what your swing and physical condition are capable of delivering.

    Tiger’s resurgence is almost all about the change in his swing, to do the change he needed mental strength and good emotional balance. If that weren’t the case then the world number 1 would consistently determined by whom the most emotionally balanced golfer on tour was, and without too much judgement I can pretty much confirm that this had not been the case….for decades.

    • Craig Sigl says:

      Hi Taps,
      I really appreciate what you wrote here. You make a good case for the swing change. Thanks for comment!
      Greens and fairways,

    • Jim L says:

      It does appear that his Sean Foley aided full swing is less stressful on his left leg, now when he posts up on it there is not the “snap” that he used to have. However, I believe the Yogi Berra comment cited earlier is entirely appropriate. I root for this 2nd coming of Tiger to endure. Craig’s ideas about the subconsious remind me of Deepak Chopra’s “Zen Golf” philosophy. I think both are on the right track and quite challanging to incorporate.

      • Craig Sigl says:

        Hi Jim, thanks for comments. If golf wasn’t a challenge, we probably wouldn’t play it or be so addicted to it, right?
        greens and fairways,

  • Goldchip says:

    Hi Craig

    Very well put. Unfortunately we all go looking for swing changes to improve our game. With Tiger, who can afford all the coaching input he needs, one of the main parts of his game that improved was his putting!!
    Why would he need to change his swing when he was top man for so long. He screws up his game when he screws up his private life.
    I don’t think it is any coincidence that the smiling face on winning is matched with a smiling face on his website with a new girl on his arm!!
    I like many do not support his behaviour both on and off the course but he has found a way back. wish we could find the mental route that got him there.
    Keep up the good work

    Best wishes

    • Craig Sigl says:

      Hi Goldchip,
      I like the smiling faces analogy!
      Greens and fairways,

  • Jaspal Singh says:

    So very true. When you believe you can do it, and you commit yourself to it fully, then you really can do it – not only in golf, but also in life!

    • Craig Sigl says:

      Thanks for comment Jaspal!

  • Archie Amos says:

    I totally agreed with everything you said. The subconscious is the root of accomplishment and achievement. However you final comment about his personal life, tasteless. You have no more right to comment on his personal life as he does about yours. Let’s stick to golf!

    • Craig Sigl says:

      Hi Archie, Thanks for your opinion and posting. I’m very happy that you commented. I welcome disagreements with me. My blog IS all about my opinions and your comments about them. This isn’t just about golf and those who have followed me for any amount of time know that I mix golf and life regularly. My opinions of Tiger Woods or any other athlete come from the body of my work with young athletes. When millions of kids look up to an athlete (or any other famous person) and they then are reported in major news having engaged in less than upstanding behavior, I’m going to speak out. Many of my young golfer clients follow golfers like Woods and are highly influenced. He is also well-known for very unsportsmanlike conduct on the course…destructive to the game itself and little kids hear it from the ropes. Just my opinion. There’s no doubt he’s a great golfer and I am very impressed with his comeback!

      • Dave Smith says:

        Right on, Craig! While I think I understand Archie’s point, he’s overlooked the negative impact that professional athletes have when they make egregious errors and try to hide or ignore them.

        • Craig Sigl says:

          Thanks for your comment Dave!

  • ayn says:

    Hi, Craig, do you have a book on this type of mental help that you’ve written or can suggest? Thank you, Ayn

    • Craig Sigl says:

      Hi Ayn,
      Fromrangetocourse.com is where I have my best work on this kind of work.
      Greens and fairways,

  • Rocky Phelps says:

    So true, Craig. I used to KNOW that I would have trouble on par 3s. I did fine on 4s and 5s, but always choked on 3s. Then someone told me “A par 4 is nothing but a drive and a par 3.” Gawd, I then knew all holes were jus a shot or two and a crummy par 3. I knew my game would just collapse!! But I had to change my thought process – my subconscious – to a positive par 3 attitude. My game has improved markedly since then. It’s almost all in the head!!

    Like Yogi Berra said: “Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical.” He was right!

    • Craig Sigl says:

      Thanks for your comments Rocky!

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