In a move predicted by many after a fourth season without a major win, Tiger Woods announced Friday that he will no longer need the services of swing coach Sean Foley. Now, although Tiger is without a coach, the next move almost seems like a foregone conclusion. If Woods is determined to win more majors, he needs to get back together with the man he worked with for over a decade, Butch Harmon.
This isn’t a condemnation of the job Foley did with Woods, or with any of his other players for that matter. Woods won five tournaments in a mostly healthy 2013 campaign under Foley’s tutelage. He earned his way back to No. 1 in the world. Unfortunately, while there’s no way to know if Foley’s adjustments led to the injuries that hampered Tiger’s progress, the end result is the same: zero major championships in thirteen starts, with four missed due to injury.
While Woods stated Friday that he doesn’t have a coach right now, and there is no timetable for him to hire a new one, all eyes are now on Harmon, who Woods split with in rather unceremonious fashion back in 2004. Woods’s dogged pursuit of swing perfection is well-documented, but Harmon himself put it best in this quote from John Feinstein’s book “Moment of Glory”.
“I wasn’t going to give him some kind of new move just to tell him something. His golf swing was good – hell, he was about to win his eighth major title and his second in a row. Why would I tell him to change that?”
Now, as Woods continues his search for a 15th major championship, he must at least consider reuniting with Harmon, who led him to the most success of his career. Harmon is the coach who helped Tiger’s longtime rival Phil Mickelson adapt his game to links-style golf and an Open Championship victory. He’s completely rebuilt Rickie Fowler from the ground up, and that led Fowler to consecutive top-five finishes in each of this year’s majors.
Imagine what he could do with a healthy Tiger. It won’t be easy; Woods is a prideful player who isn’t known for opening himself up often. Still, at this late stage in his career, Harmon is the one coach who brings not only the knowledge of the swing, but the ability to lead Tiger specifically that can get him back on top.