Tiger Woods splits with swing coach Sean Foley
Tiger Woods is leaving swing coach Sean Foley after four years and no victories in major tournaments during that span.
The Associated Press
PARAMUS, N.J. – Tiger Woods is leaving swing coach Sean Foley after four years and no victories in major tournaments.
Woods said on his website Monday he will no longer work with Foley, a Canadian whom he hired when his game was at its low point after the upheaval with his marriage.
The announcement came one day after another Foley pupil, Hunter Mahan, won The Barclays.
“I’d like to thank Sean for his help as my coach and for his friendship,” the 38-year-old Woods said. “Sean is one of the outstanding coaches in golf today, and I know he will continue to be successful with the players working with him.”
Woods has been coping with back problems for more than a year. He had surgery March 31 to alleviate a pinched nerve, forcing him to miss two majors during his three months of recovery. He missed two cuts, withdrew from another tournament and had his worst 72-hole finish in a major after returning.
He is taking three months off in a bid to regain his full strength, and said this would be the right time to dismiss Foley. Woods is not scheduled to play again until his World Challenge in Orlando, Fla., the first week in December.
He does not have a coach and said there was no timetable to hire one.
“My time spent with Tiger is one of the highlights of my career so far, and I am appreciative of the many experiences we shared together,” Foley said in a statement posted on Woods’ website.
Foley was the third coach Woods hired as a pro.
Woods began working with Butch Harmon in 1996, and they changed his swing twice. The biggest overhaul was after Woods won the 1997 Masters by 12 shots.
Many believe the new swing produced Woods’ most dominant golf, though he also was in his early 20s and had not had serious issues with his knee.
Woods won eight majors while with Harmon, including seven in 11 attempts and an unprecedented sweep of them in 2000-01. They parted in 2003.
On Monday, Harmon told Golf Channel: “I don’t think he needs a swing coach. If I were advising Tiger, I’d tell him, ‘You’re the greatest player that ever lived. Just go to the range and hit shots.’ ”
Woods went to coach Hank Haney in 2004 and produced another memorable stretch with a different swing. In a two-year period covering 34 events, Woods won 18 times (four majors) and was runner-up six times.
That ended with the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, shortly before his fourth and most invasive knee surgery. That was Woods’ 14th major title, and he has not won another.
He remains four short of Jack Nicklaus’ record.
Haney announced he was leaving Woods in 2010, although those close to Woods felt a split was imminent. Woods went through some of that year without a coach until hooking up with Foley for the first time at the 2010 PGA Championship.
Woods won three times on the PGA Tour in 2012, and then delivered a five-victory season in 2013 when he returned to No. 1 in the world ranking. But he rarely challenged in the majors, partly because of injuries.
Foley has Mahan and former U.S. Open champ Justin Rose among his clients.
“It was a lifelong ambition of mine to teach the best player of all time in our sport,” Foley said. “I am both grateful for the things we had the opportunity to learn from one another, as well as the enduring friendship we have built. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him.”