There are many opinions as to whom Tiger Woods should select as his next swing coach.
From Davis Love III to his buddy Steve Stricker and even returning to Butch Harmon, the suggestions for the 14-time major winner are aplenty.
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It all seems moot, however, as Woods chimed in earlier this week during his Hero World Challenge press conference and said he’s not currently looking for a new coach. He even offered some insight into the differences between player and coach.
“As far as knowing more than my coaches, I would have to say on the technical side, I probably don’t know as much as some of them,” Tiger explained. “But from a feel standpoint, which is something that I think is innate, because of what we’re able to do at such an elite level, yeah, I think I know a lot more than they do because they’ve never played down the stretch on the back nine of a major championship, never won majors, never felt that, what do the hands feel, what does the body feel, the things that we as players at this level who have won enough times understand, what it feels like.”
Tiger’s thoughts are a major turn from where he’s been the last few years under Sean Foley’s rule. Foley is ultra technical and it showed in Woods’ swing. For golf purists, Tiger’s comments are a step in the right direction. For Back9Network ambassador Tony Jacklin, it’s safe to say it was music to his ears.
“When talking coaches, you’re talking to the wrong guy,” Jacklin said in a Back9Network interview. “My attitude was ‘show me one guy who can beat me and I’ll listen to them.'”
For Jacklin, a two-time major champion, seven-time Ryder Cup player and four-time Ryder Cup captain, it was better to go at it alone.
“I was playing with the best players in the world. If I ever wanted advice, I’d ask,” he said. “Arnold, Jack, Gary … we’d discuss aspects of the swing and swing thoughts. I don’t know why (today’s players) are so interested in what coaches are going to say. If I’m talking to the best players in the world as opposed to theories from guys who have never done it or proved it, I’m better off.”
With his recent comments, it seems that Tiger is falling in line with Jacklin’s point of view.
“You’ve got to be able to understand your practice sessions,” Tiger said. “Will they work on the back nine on a Sunday of a major, either yes or no, and I think that’s one thing I’ve always tried to tell all my coaches, will it work or not work.
“And if it’s not going to work, then we’re not going down that road.”
Clearly, majors are a focus for Woods. Having not claimed one since his unbelievable playoff victory over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Woods remains in the hunt of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships. But setbacks due to injury and performance have delayed that run in recent years.
Does he still have a shot at the game’s ultimate benchmark? Only time will answer that question. But Jacklin thinks the key to continued success is perhaps less and less golf.
“Nicklaus never played more than 18 tournaments in a year,” Jacklin said. “He did that because he knew he couldn’t give his best beyond that. I think that takes a lot of intelligence and Tiger took that approach.
“You learn what courses suit you,” Jacklin continued. “Those that don’t fit your eye, you don’t play. You stick to the ones that work with you.”
According to Tiger, he’s not currently in search of a coach. Instead, he’s focused on rehabilitating his back injury and getting his body back in condition to play at the highest of levels.
“I’m in no hurry to look for one right now,” Woods said. “… I’m just focused on what I’m doing. “
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