Tiger Woods and his Canadian swing coach, Sean Foley, have parted ways.
Woods, who had back surgery earlier this year and reinjured it after returning to play, had worked with Foley for four years. Foley rose to prominence as the swing coach for Calgary’s Stephen Ames.
He has since worked with the likes of Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose and Sean O’Hair.
“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 said in a statement. “With my next tournament not until my World Challenge event at Isleworth in Orlando, this is the right time to end our professional relationship.”
Foley also issued a statement on the split: “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.”
Golf industry sources said Foley was not surprised by the announcement and that Woods has not been as receptive to his teaching methods as his other golfers.
Foley, who grew up in Burlington, met Ames while coaching junior golfers at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont. Ames, who was struggling with back injuries at the time, hired Foley, who had moved to Florida.
Ames’ success under Foley, and the fact his back injury improved, led other golfers like Mahan and U.S. Open winner Rose to turn to Foley.
His players praise Foley’s ability to get the most out of them.
“I’ve invested in him and it has paid off — I’m a better ball-striker,” Mahan said. “I’m not going off talent; I’m going off flat biomechanical techniques. It isn’t a theory. Sean didn’t wake up and think, ‘Here’s how Hunter should swing.’ He’s not making it up.”
Foley, who has been brash and outspoken about his critics who claim his methods led to Woods’ inconsistent play and potentially to his back injuries, started working with the 14-time major winner in late 2010. Three years earlier Foley told the Globe and Mail that he believed he would one day work with Woods.
“I think I could inspire him to do amazing things, given his money and intellect,” Foley said. “I don’t see why I should paint a small picture for myself. I believe it will happen.”
Under Foley, Woods returned to become the No. 1 golfer in the world for period of time and won eight times on the PGA Tour. However, Woods did not win a major, something he’s not accomplished in the past six years.
Woods is not expected to return to golf until December when he says he’ll play his World Challenge tournament. And though there have been rumors he could potentially reunite with Butch Harmon, who led the golfer to major wins early in his career, Woods says he’s not working with anyone right now.
“Presently, I do not have a coach, and there is no timetable for hiring one,” added Woods.
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