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Defensive Foley?

Head held high: Sean Foley fires back at Bubba Watson over comments about Tiger Woods.

I wonder when someone is finally going to call BS on Sean Foley.

I’ve interviewed Foley plenty of times over the last year — he’s engaging, talks a mile-a-minute and is frank to the point of being painful occasionally. He’s rarely careful about what he says and that’s what makes him a fascinating interview, at least when he’s not off on some biometrics speak that few understand.

Since taking on Tiger Woods as a client last year, Foley has been at the center of a storm, especially since Woods has now gone 18 months without a win anywhere, all the while overhauling his swing. In the meantime, Foley has lost one of his prized “guys” in Sean O’Hair, who dumped him last week after fumbling his way through a series of missed cuts. This is the same Sean O’Hair who, only a year ago, was in the “Sean Foley changed my life camp.”

Along the way, Foley has said repeatedly that he doesn’t care what his critics say:

I couldn’t explain how little I care. I absolutely don’t care. And if people think I’m brilliant, I don’t care about that either. I’m more focused on how I feel about myself than how others feel about me. If it were my Mom or my Dad or my wife or my brother, well they have earned the right to say something about me because they know what makes me tick. Everyone else has some sort of agenda.

I didn’t believe him before his latest spat — blowing off Bubba Watson on an Irish radio show after the big hitter questioned Woods’ decision to rework his swing yet again. After all, if you don’t care what your critics say, why bother memorizing Brandel Chamblee’s playing record just so you can use it to put him down?

Foley on Chamblee:

“When did (Golf Channel analyst) Brandel Chamblee and (NBC’s) Johnny Miller and guys like that forget how hard golf is when you have conflict and you don’t have clarity?

“Brandel Chamblee made 180 out of 398 cuts on the PGA Tour (in his playing days). Like, when did this become so easy for him? That’s like 43 per cent. You’re talking about a guy (Woods) who’s missed six cuts in his life. It’s just sensational. That’s what they do.”

If you don’t care, how can you possibly know how many cuts Chamblee made in his career? That’s called preparation — being geared up to fire back at your critics.

Foley would look far better if he simply didn’t respond. If he’s so sure that he’s right — and that Woods is doing the right thing — than why respond to Watson’s remarks, which seemed kind of harmless to me. In Watson’s experience, he felt Woods wasn’t hitting the ball as well as he had been in the past. What’s so shocking about that?

Beyond that, Foley seems to suggest that only people with as many wins as Tiger — maybe Jack Nicklaus — have the insight to comment on Woods. I guess, in turn, that would sort of eliminate Foley, and all the coaches who have worked with Woods in the past. After all, how many wins does Foley have? Exactly.

Foley had this to say about Watson:

“He has the right to his own opinion but you probably shouldn’t make comments about a guy who has won 69 more times than you and you are virtually the same age,” Foley told a radio station in Dublin. “You know what I mean?”

Foley also believed the comments were more about Watson than Woods.

“Let the guy do what he’s doing and you do what you’re doing and it will be fine,” Foley said. “There is absolutely zero need for him to make that comment. But you know, Bubba loves the camera anyway so, I mean, whatever.”

I’m not sure it is just Bubba that loves to hear himself talk or see himself on TV…

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Jeff Lancaster

Jeff Lancaster is the Publisher of CanadianGolfer.com.

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Robert-What was it you called Foley a few years back again? First impressions…

    I do have a question though. When Eldrick replied ‘We’ll talk’, was he answering the question about Bubba, or thinking about Butch Harmon? After his opening 9 holes this morning, I’m leaning towards the latter…

  • Foley is egotistical and insecure despite what he says. Why else does he jump at anyone who criticizes Tiger or his other students? If he was comfortable with his work and students he wouldn’t get so worked up and would let things be, instead he gets defensive.

    Also, I really dislike when people say you can’t have an opinion or be critical because someone lacks experience.

  • Right on Rob, Foley has TW playing real well, withdrawing after shooting 42 on the front 9.

    Nice to have you guys back from the Green Isle.

  • Correct Scott, one thing you can’t do as Tigers’ coach is become too loquacious in regards the media. Look what happened to Butch .

  • Mr. Thompson,

    Ii am quite confused at your commentary. To start with, i am not sure what makes you even remotely qualified to comment in a professional forum on the top golfers and coaches in the game? How many of the top players or coaches would even recognize you if you were face to face with them? Have you ever been a top player or coach? Do you socialize with golf’s elite on a regular basis?

    You have repeatedly attacked Mr. Foley over the years including “Sean Foley – Canada’s top golf coach or pretentious wanker?” from 2007. In the article you note that you doubt Foley would have the oppotunity to work with Tiger b/c you dont buy into the whole “Secret” methodolgy. Guess what RT? You were wrong on that one. In fact, you have been wrong on almost all your critiques of Mr. Foley and on your opinions on professional golf as a whole. So i ask again. What are your qualifications to comment on the world’s best coaches and players?

    I think i will be waiting for a while for a good answer.

  • Insight: Thanks for your considered remarks. I can’t begin to say how impressed I am that you’ve learned to use a computer.

    You misunderstand my basic comments, and frankly the notion that I have to have “qualifications” to comment on Sean is silly. That would fit into the notion that you’d have to win a couple of PGA Tour events to comment on a player — and if that was the case, Sean would be out of the running, now wouldn’t he?

    I’ve had the opportunity to talk and spend time with most of the good coaches in the world — Leadbetter, Haney, Flick, Jim McLean, etc. And I’ve interviewed a lot of players over 15 years — I spend most of my time writing about golf, reading about golf and talking to people about golf.

    Sorry though — I don’t socialize with Tiger Woods, but from what I hear when talking with Sean, neither does he.

    Finally, I actually like talking to Sean — I just think he’d be more gracious and come off in a better light if he didn’t feel the need to answer back to all of his critics.

  • I for one, as a fellow CPGA member, and a friend of Sean’s am very proud of what he has accomplished and some times find it hard to believe that they guy who did a little cable golf show on Oakville TV has reached his level of success. Kudos to him!

    The media gives Tiger a hard time because he never opens up and gives us his honest opinoin and yet when Sean says what he feels and makes some great quotes he gets roasted. Maybe some of the things, and I say MAYBE, are what Tiger is feeling and Sean is speaking for him. If you were Tiger woods wouldn’t you want to punch Brandle Chamblee right in the face!
    Just my thoughts!

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