With Plenty to Fix, Tiger Woods Should Take His Time

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is holed up, far away from the spotlight of the game as the FedEx Cup enters its final stretch and the Ryder Cup looms.

So much a part of these events in the past, Woods is currently a shell of his former self despite being a year removed from a five-victory season. He recently took himself out of consideration for a Ryder Cup captain’s pick and made more news with the announcement that he and swing coach Sean Foley have parted ways.

In a statement released on his website Woods said, “I’d like to thank Sean for his help as my coach and for his friendship. 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. With my next tournament not until my World Challenge event at Isleworth in Orlando, this is the right time to end our professional relationship.”

Being Tiger’s coach is always going to come with a ton of scrutiny and second-guessing. There has been talk for a while that Foley’s plan is no good for Tiger and as each major passed without a Woods win the second-guessing just ramped up even more. But Foley isn’t clueless, he’s working with Justin Rose who won twice last month and Hunter Mahan who won the Barclays, a FedEx Cup playoff event, and was recently a captain’s pick for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. It just looks like this was a coach and player who weren’t cut out for each other, plain and simple.

Plus Foley never dealt with a healthy Woods like Butch Harmon did and he never worked with a Woods who was in a groove that could only be described as other-worldly like Hank Haney did. Woods suffered from an inflamed facet joint in his neck in 2010, had a left Achilles’ strain in 2011 and he re-injured it in 2012. He also sprained his left MCL in 2011 and this year he had surgery on his back for a pinched nerve.

So Tiger is banged up, getting older (Woods turns 39 in December), and has a driver he can’t trust. But he is also one of the best players ever and one major win away from reigniting Tiger-mania and becoming the biggest story in the sports world, not just in golf. With that said, some teachers will shy away from the pressure and spotlight but others will be attracted. The idea of being the coach who coaxed Tiger over the hump and past Jack Nicklaus as golf’s greatest major champion will definitely be tempting.

With each passing day speculation will grow as to who will get the chance to work with Woods, who we know is stubborn and thus we know who some of the candidates won’t be. Harmon, who was his coach from 1993-2003 and helped Woods win eight of his 14 majors and 39 PGA Tour titles is out. The egos involved are too big and Tiger would never essentially admit that he should have never left Harmon to begin with. Haney worked with Woods from 2004-10 when Woods won six majors and 32 titles. However, Haney wrote a book after they split, The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods and it may have made him a few bucks but it didn’t do him any favors with his former employer.

So who is left? David Leadbetter, Chuck Cook, Rick Smith, or Todd Anderson could be called upon or maybe Tiger just looks at the man in the mirror, admits that at least physically he is not what he once was, and works with what he has which is great ability, feel, and acumen on the golf course, and goes from there.

There is a lot to fix with Woods; his back, his driver, even his confidence and maybe it’s time for him to turn to the one man who has been there for the entire ride… himself.

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John Nestor
John Nestor is a Philadelphia sports fan and veteran sportswriter trapped in Connecticut. Tweet him @nestorjdn