Tiger Woods to Fly Solo After Parting Company with Swing Coach
So what are we to make of the news that Tiger Woods has split from his coach Chris Como? Actually, not a great deal. Woods has history in this regard, more of which later.
The truth is that since his return from injury, it is the golfer himself who has returned with what most people generally regard as the best swing he has possessed for years. It is Woods who knows what his body will and will no longer stand up to. And a man who has won 14 majors really does not need anybody to tell him how he should be swing a club.
It is instructional that there are no hard feelings from Como, a man who has been largely redundant in recent years – at least as far as Woods is concerned. Woods has spent most of their time together nursing various injuries, and has also played the worst golf of his career, even when supposedly fully fit. Until now.
Como took the news in good heart and wished Woods well for the future. “Tiger's electrifying play at the Hero World Challenge was the by-product of a lot of hard work over the past few years while fighting through injury and pain. As a result, there's a lot of enthusiasm for 2018,” said Como. "When our professional relationship began, I was asked to help Tiger utilise his own instincts and feel while playing pain free. I think we've accomplished that and I'm proud of the results.
"Tiger is ready to have an incredible next run in his career. I'm eager to watch what will be one of the most exciting sports comebacks of all time. I will continue to be a close friend and resource to him and am extremely excited about Tiger's future, the golf industry and for the fans of golf.”
Woods has had several swing coaches during his illustrious career, including Como, Buttch Harmon, Hank Haney and Sean Foley. Now he has decided to go it alone.
He first hired Como, an expert in biomechanics, in 2014. In a statement posted on his Twitter account, the 14-time major winner said: “Since my fusion surgery, I have been working hard to relearn my own body and golf swing. I’ve done this by primarily relying on my feel and previous years of hard work with Chris. For now, I think it’s best for me to continue to do this on my own. I’m grateful to Chris Como for his past work, and I have nothing but respect for him.”
Woods recently returned from his fourth bout of back surgery by playing at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, where he finished on eight under par and a tie for ninth place.
Harmon and Haney have both said that they liked what they saw from Woods. Harmon, with whom he enjoyed most of his success, said: "The two things that really stood out to me were that he seems to have total freedom in his swing again. I don't see any of the up-and-down movements that he used to put in there, and he looks to have his speed back. And you can tell that he's pain-free. That is the main thing for me.”
Haney was just as enthusiastic. "The thing that I see is that he also has a golf swing he can play with. It’s interesting that the move that he is making coming through the golf ball is one that releases pressure on his back but also helps to eliminate his big miss. His big miss is when he hangs back on the ball, his head gets stuck back, his shoulders get stuck under, the club gets behind him too much, too flat a plane coming down and then he hits a two-way miss, a block to the right or a quick hook to the left. … I like what I'm seeing out of Tiger right now. It is just good stuff. He looks healthy. He's got great clubhead speed. He's hitting phenomenal shots, he's hitting as good shots as anybody.”
For the record, this is how he fared with his various coaches:
BUTCH HARMON (1996-2003)
Major wins: 8 majors won in 24 starts.
Majors missed: 0.
PGA Tour wins: 34 titles in 127 official starts from turning pro through 2002 (26.8% win percentage).
HANK HANEY (2004-2010)
Major wins: 6 majors won in 23 starts.
Majors missed: 2 (2008 Open, 2008 PGA).
PGA Tour wins: 31 titles in 93 starts (33.3% win percentage).
SEAN FOLEY (2010-2014)
Major wins: 0 in 13 starts, dating to 2010 PGA.
Majors missed: 4 (2011 U.S. Open, 2011 Open, 2014 Masters, 2014 U.S. Open).
PGA Tour wins: 8 titles in 55 starts (14.5% win percentage).
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