Talk about taking on the triumverate — PGA Tour player Charlie Wi, a big support of the stack and tilt swing theory espoused by Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett, rips into Mike Weir and Aaron Baddeley, and then suggests Sean Foley, new swing coach to Tiger Woods, is a plagarist of sorts.
“Aaron Baddeley was the worst ball-striker on the PGA Tour,” Wi said after shooting a 69 at Cog Hill on Friday. “He won three times with Andy and Mike, and they also took him to inside top 20 in the world. And if that’s not good enough for Aaron, well, it is what it is.
“And also Mike Weir — he was also one of the worst ball-strikers on tour, and he won two times with Andy and Mike and made $6 million in two seasons, and he thought that wasn’t good enough. If you look at it, they’re not here this week. So maybe they should be working with Andy and Mike. And they’re friends of mine, too.”
But he wasn’t finished — he then went after Foley as well:
Wi also took a shot at Canadian swing instructor Sean Foley without referring to him by name — saying “whoever Tiger is working with,” when he said Foley has the DVD and instruction book written by Plummer and Bennett.
“And he always calls them asking questions,” Wi said. “They definitely know what they’re talking about.”
A couple of points here — Foley did call Plummer and Bennett all the time. I recall a noted golf teacher telling me he was having dinner with Plummer and Bennett when Foley called to pick their brains. Foley spoke for a while and when the conversation ended, one of the two stack and tilters turned to their dinner companion and said, “How did he get to where he’s at?”
A second anecdote. While playing with Jessica Shepley last year, I noticed how much she set up on her left side with her driver. Was she a stack and tilt student, I asked.
“Nope, I work with Sean Foley,” she said. It immediately made sense.
Truth be told, does it matter where Foley takes his teaching from? The way he name drops Harmon, Leadbetter, Plummer and Bennett would seem to indicate he’s a pragmatist. I’m not sure he’s ever claimed to be completely original — and does one even need an original thought to be a good instructor? Shouldn’t the best teachers be generalists? If something from stack and tilt works — wouldn’t a good teacher embrace those elements?
The shot at Weir is interesting. I’ve heard Weir is in discussions with David Leadbetter to work with him once his elbow injury is healed. Weir had one win under Plummer and Bennett, and seven with Mike Wilson. That said, it is clear Wilson isn’t working for Weir.
As for Baddeley, I wondered if he was finished with S&T after his game fell apart under the pressure of the final round of the U.S. Open at Oakmont.