Sympatico Column: Is the Haney Project Over?

I failed to post the link to last week’s column on Sean Foley and the rumors of a link to Tiger Woods. Hard to say what was the truth in all of this — but now that Tiger is hurt, does it make Foley more attractive? After all, Stephen Ames credits Foley for helping his swing and his back…

Here’s a taste :

Three years ago, Sean Foley was just another swing coach with a single notable student and an almost laughable dream: he wanted to instruct Tiger Woods, the world’s top golfer.

“I think I could inspire him to do amazing things, given his money and intellect,” Foley told the Globe and Mail. “I don’t see why I should paint a small picture for myself. I believe it will happen.”

It doesn’t seem so ridiculous now, with Foley, who grew up in Ontario and now works largely out of Florida, tipped as the next in line to become swing doctor to Woods. According to sources close to Foley, Woods first started speaking with the Canadian swing coach at last year’s Presidents Cup in San Francisco. Woods has struggled with his swing since returning from his self-imposed exile amidst a sex scandal that followed a car crash outside his home last November. Talk of the possibility of working with Foley heated up yesterday after Woods played a practice round with two of the teacher’s students “ Sean O’Hair and Hunter Mahan.

If the rumor about Foley is true, Woods will be changing swing coaches at a tumultuous time in his personal and professional life. Woods, who is teeing it up in this week’s Players Championship, missed the cut last week at Quail Hollow, and seemed slightly lost while shooting 79 in the second round. That debacle of a round led to rampant speculation this week at the TPC at Sawgrass in Florida that Woods was going to split with longtime swing coach Hank Haney, with whom he has worked with since 2004. While working with Haney, Woods has six victories in majors. Woods previously worked with Butch Harmon, but the pair split in 2002.

The normally effusive Foley was initially reluctant to say much of anything on the subject, responding with a an uncharacteristically curt “no comment,” to a question about whether he would soon be working with Woods. He later threw cold water on the rumor.

“I have had no discussion with tiger at all about coaching and don’t want to imply anything else simple as that,” he said via e-mail from the Players Championship in Florida. “All of these news agencies have already created enough on their own without even contacting me at all.”

The column continues here.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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