Tag:sean foley
Posted on: August 31, 2011 11:41 am
Edited on: August 31, 2011 1:28 pm

Mediate says Woods problem stems with coaches

NORTON, Mass. -- Rocco Mediate is rarely at a loss for words.

Sometimes, that's not a great thing.

The ever-loquacious PGA Tour veteran weighed in with his opinion on old pal Tiger Woods' travails in the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday and effectively trashed the fading former No. 1's last two swing coaches.

"I love the way he plays, but I'm disgusted with what's going on with him because it's sad for our game," Mediate said Tuesday. "A lot of guys are happy Tiger isn't playing well. I'm not. ...

"We need to have Tiger back at the top, because he's the draw. It's fantastic all these other kids are winning, but they're not Tiger Woods."


Mediate believes that Woods' new swing under new coach Sean Foley is putting too much stress on his body. By design, it's supposed to do just the opposite, by the way.

"The physical motion is wrong," Mediate told the newspaper. "To get that stress off his body is a piece of cake -- the guys working with him just don't know. Sean knows some stuff, but what's going on with Tiger is not correct. That's why he keeps breaking and that's why the ball keeps going sideways."

Wow, hard to know where to begin here. Mediate knows more about the golf swing than Foley, whose students include Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan, who both won twice last year? Mediate didn't leave out Hank Haney, Woods' former coach, either.

"Starting with Haney until now, it was a complete and absolute destruction," he said.

As an aside -- Woods was more consistent from week to week under Haney than at any point in his career. Haney has the incontrovertible data to back it up. Woods won 45 percent of his starts in their final three seasons together.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but no one is entitled to their own facts," Haney said in an email Wednesday.

Mediate said that if he was coaching Woods at this point, he might bow out.
"If it was me [as his coach], I would say to Tiger, 'Look, dude, I'm not helping you, you're getting worse. You've broken down three times and you've had 57 knee surgeries. It's not happening,'" Mediate said.

So, the assertion here is that none of Woods' issues are of his own making? Really? Recall that 13 months ago, after Haney quit as his coach, Woods hit rock bottom while flying solo at the Bridgestone Invitational, finishing one spot out of dead last, his worst 72-hole finish ever. He was lost and looking for a lifeline, and began working with Foley a week later.

Then there's the loss of his psychological edge, his crisis of confidence, his frequent and various injuries, the fact that his putting has been frequently ghastly, and that he hasn’t won on the U.S. tour in nearly two years. Woods beat Mediate in a 19-hole playoff to win his most recent major title, at the 2008 U.S. Open. Mediate is the defending champ at the Frys.com Open, where Woods will make his debut in a second-tier Fall Series event on Oct. 6.

If it were only as simple as the swing coach, Woods might have righted the ship by now.

Mediate lauded Woods' decision to play, although it might have been a condition of being added to the Presidents Cup team as an at-large pick. The U.S. team is captained by Fred Couples, who publicly asked Woods to add a tournament because he is ineligible to play in the current four-week FedEx Cup series.

"It just shows another side of him," Mediate said of Woods' commitment to the Fry's event. "He's trying to get better, trying to figure out his swing problem. When he gets his stuff together, he'll be No. 1 again and everything will be back to normal."

Normalcy and Tiger Woods? That not only would be welcome, it would represent a first.

Posted on: July 28, 2011 8:38 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 3:20 pm

Woods ambles back at Firestone after all

ORLANDO, Fla. -- As ever, Tiger Woods is keeping ‘em guessing.

Despite the fact that he hasn’t worked with his swing coach in two months, Woods said Thursday night that he will play next week at the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, where he has seven wins.

It stands to reason that he’ll play the following week, too, at the season’s final major, the PGA Championship in suburban Atlanta. The host PGA of America confirmed Friday that Woods has committed to play.

"I'm excited to get back out there," Woods said on his website.

Nobody has a clue what to expect, frankly.

Quite possibly including Woods himself.

Woods hasn’t completed 18 holes since the Masters, when he injured a ligament in his left knee and aggravated an Achilles problem in the same leg. He quit after nine holes at the Players Championship in mid-May, after tweaking the same two injuries.

The last time he played at Firestone, he had his worst four-round finish as a professional, finishing second-to last in the field. A week later, he began working with Orlando swing coach Sean Foley and began a complete overhaul of his swing, the results of which remain decidedly mixed.

Woods' website said Thursday night: "Following the advice of his doctors, Woods has rested and rehabbed his left leg, and just recently began hitting practice balls."

However, Foley said Tuesday told CBSSports.com and the Golf Channel that he hasn’t worked with Woods on the practice range in weeks and had no idea when he planned to return to the tour. With the announcement, the two are set to practice together Friday, where there's certainly much work to be done and rust to shake off.

Woods, now spending much of his time in Jupiter, Fla., has a backyard practice area with several short holes, so it stands to reason that he’s been practicing on his own. Woods hasn’t won on the PGA Tour in 22 months, easily the longest drought of his career, and this week dropped to No. 21 in the world, his lowest ranking since his first full season as a pro in 1997.

That’s not all that’s in transition, if not upheaval. Last week he fired Steve Williams, his loyal caddie and point man for the past 12 years, and according to the Golf Channel, will use boyhood friend and employee Bryon Bell on the bag next week at Firestone. Bell caddied for Woods at the Disney World event almost a decade ago and the two have been friends since junior high and played on the same prep golf team together in Southern California.

Bell, who was directly linked to the never-ending Woods sex scandal by online news reports, is now the head of Woods’ near-dormant golf-course design firm, so he’s likely got plenty of spare time.

Woods hasn’t hit a shot since May 12, when he shot 42 on the front nine of the first round at TPC Sawgrass and walked off the course. Over the past few weeks, Woods insisted that this time, he would not return until his leg had fully healed. Doctors have green-lighted Woods to play, agent Mark Steinberg said.

"Cleared and ready to play next week," Steinberg said in an email Thursday night. "Sean is his coach and no changes."

After years of defying medical advice and causing even more wear and tear on a knee that has seen four surgeries, the 35-year-old decided to take a more prudent tack. As a result, he’s only played in six PGA Tour events this year tournaments. He has played 21 official rounds globally, including a first-round loss at the Accenture Match Play.

What happens next? At this point, it’s hard to say.

Firestone is a hilly track and Woods hurt himself hitting fairly routine golf shots from moderately flat terrain at Augusta National and Sawgrass.

“Feeling fit and ready to tee it up at Firestone next week,” Woods tweeted. “Excited to get back out there!”

With an exclamation point, mind you.

It was now or never, for all practical porposes, as it related to the 2011 season.

Had he not played next week, or at the PGA Championship, his season likely would have been over. He is ranked 133rd in FedEx Cup points and only the top 125 advance to the four FedEx series events, which start two weeks after the PGA.

Unless he moves up the points list over the next two weeks, he won’t be eligible to play in any of the four, including the third leg in the series, the BMW Championship, where he won his last PGA Tour title in September, 2009, a few weeks before his career-derailing scandal began.

Woods finished a distant T29 at the PGA Championship in 2001, the last time it was played at Atlanta Athletic Club. He actually committed to play the season's final major three weeks ago, a PGA of America official said Friday. The commitment deadline for the PGA was July 7.

Category: Golf
Posted on: July 26, 2011 6:15 pm

Foley on Tiger status: 'We've not hit any balls'

ORLANDO, Fla. – Even after two months on the bench, Tiger Woods’ status for the next two weeks, if not the rest of the season, remains very much uncertain.

Three days removed from the commitment deadline for next week’s WGC Bridgestone Invitational, a tournament he’s dominated unlike few others in his career, Woods still hasn’t begun working toward his comeback from physical issued that have dogged him for months.

Swing coach Sean Foley said in a text message Tuesday night that the pair have not been working together, which seemingly creates the very real possibility that Woods will miss the PGA Championship next month, too. Bridgestone and the PGA are staged in consecutive weeks and Woods has regularly played in both.

“We have not hit any balls,” Foley wrote Tuesday night. “And I have no idea what his plans are as far as when he plays again. It’s up to the doctors.”

Hardly a ringing reason for optimism.

Even with his talent and temperament, it’s hard to envision that Woods could get ramped up and ready for a World Golf Championships event or a major with only a few days of preparatory work, especially in light of his physical condition and overall state of readiness.

Woods has played nine holes on the PGA Tour since the Masters in April and dropped to No. 21 in the world ranking this week. Given the layoff and his position on the seasonal points pecking order, the rest of the season is in doubt as well.

Woods stands outside the top 125 in FedEx Cup points and if he doesn’t play over the final three weeks of the so-called regular season, he’ll be ineligible to play in any of the four FedEx Cup events that begin immediately thereafter. In other words, he can’t play even if he’s cleared physically because he didn’t earn enough points.

Thus, Woods would not be eligible to play in the Deutsche Bank Championship, which is hosted by his charity, or defend his title at the BMW Championship outside Chicago, which represents the last PGA Tour event he won, nearly two years ago.

After the Bridgestone and PGA, the last chance to crack the top 125 in FedEx points is the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., held Aug. 18-21.

Barring an appearance in the Fall Series, the year would effectively be over.





Category: Golf
Posted on: August 28, 2010 6:06 pm
Edited on: August 28, 2010 6:14 pm

Woods psyched about syncing feeling

PARAMUS, N.J. – For those expecting pouting or petulance, Tiger Woods is sorry to disappoint you.

Even though the scorching 3-wood he yanked out of bounds on his first swing on Saturday likely cost him any chance of winning The Barclays, Woods continued to sing a song of contentment after his 1-over 72 at Ridgewood Country Club.

In fact, after starting the round with his first triple bogey in nearly 3½ PGA Tour seasons, Woods settled in nicely and played the rest of the day in 2 under, continuing a gradual renaissance of sorts this week after bottoming out three weeks ago in Ohio.

“I pretty much striped it on the back nine,” he said.

While Tiger isn’t getting his stripes back overnight, he still sounded as upbeat as he had since last year about his prospects, especially since he’s only three weeks into some swing tweaks orchestrated by Orlando-based swing coach Sean Foley, although he admitted that his gaffe on the No. 1 tee was a direct result of his resistance to the new ideas. In case you hadn’t heard, he can be a little stubborn at times.

“Simple, I got caught between the two swings,” Woods said. “I wasn't committed to what I was doing, and that's strictly from lack of commitment. I wasn't focused on exactly what I should have been doing, what I've been doing on the range, what I've been doing the last couple of weeks, and it backfired. 

“After that I just said, ‘Hey, put it away.’ Be committed to what I'm doing each and every shot for the rest of the day. And I hit the ball really good all day.”

As one observer noted, Woods talking about commitment? Insert own punchline here. At any rate, it’s been a long while since Woods, who is T28 and stands nine shots back, was able to express the latter sentiment for three consecutive days without drawing raised eyebrows from his listeners.

Not long ago, and we’re talking about a matter of days, jerking a tee ball into a parking lot and making a triple on the first hole would have signaled disaster for the day.

“In the end, it will end up probably costing me a chance to win the golf tournament,” he said. “But I'm pleased how I sucked it up and got it back the rest of the day when it easily could have gone the other way. Hitting a ball like that, it can derail you and it didn't. I got it right back.”

He needed to.

On two different occasions in the third round, Woods slid out of the top 100 in projected FedEx Cup standings, the points threshold on Sunday night needed to advance to next week’s second event in the so-called playoff series. As it stands, his birdies on the last two holes saved the day and he stands a projected 81st.

This is inside-baseball fare, but Woods has been hitting fairways and greens at a better clip than he has in just shy of forever, and his distance control has been mostly unerring. It’s hard to believe he’s made this in three weeks with the new swing adjustments.

“I'm very excited about what I'm doing, how I'm hitting the golf ball,” he said. “The shots that I'm hitting, the crispness coming off, and how many shots I hit the last three rounds pin high, exactly pin high.  That's something I haven't done all year.”

Woods reiterated that he isn’t quite sure how much more work is left to be done with Foley, or if he will establish a formal teacher-pupil accord. But so far, the bigger question might be, why wait? Foley had him on the practice range last week in his bare feet, trying to get the sequencing back in proper rhythm.

“It's not necessarily rhythm, it's putting my legs and my upper body moving correctly at the right times, the sequence of it,” he said. “As we all know I can move my hips pretty good but they're moving at the wrong time. So it's just a matter of syncing that all up.”

Syncing stops sinking. Woods cracked that it had been awhile since he hit balls without shoes. Before, it was mainly for vanity reasons.

“I used to do it all the time,” he said. “But just to kind of work off my sock tan.”

The first shot of the day notwithstanding, Woods has been in bright sunshine all week. He has hit 34 of 42 fairways to rank first in the tournament. He isn’t sure how much more of the Foley swing principles there is to absorb, how long it might take, or if he even wants to sign on for another full-blown overhaul. But the early results have been impressive.

“I don't know, just continue down the road,” he said. “Continue down the process. It's a process. Anytime I've made a change in my golf swing it's a process and I'm very pleased at what's been going on.

“The results are there. I'm driving the ball better than I have in years. And the distance I'm hitting it now, it's amazing.”

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com