Tiger Woods was first introduced to Chris Como during Notah Begay III’s charity event in late August. Woods was two weeks removed from another painful missed cut at the PGA Championship, and only a few days from splitting with his swing coach of four years, Sean Foley.
But during Woods’ initial conversation with the little-known Como, “I knew that things were going to go well when within the first five or 10 minutes, they were already talking about certain philosophies or ideas that each one of them had,” Begay said Tuesday on “Golf Central”.
“And in that particular instance, Chris was doing more listening than talking, and I felt like that was a step in the right direction because Tiger had a preconceived notion on what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it. He just needed to find the right component to build something that hopefully will perform for him.”
Less than two months later, Woods took to social media to announce that Como was “consulting and working with me on my swing.”
Woods has worked with three swing coaches since he turned professional in 1996, and he’s won with all three. Whether this current arrangement will be different than his work with Butch Harmon or Hank Haney or Foley matters little, Begay said.
“It’s all semantics at a certain point,” he said. “Every player needs to have somebody that they trust to take a look at their swing. There’s so much at stake. ... They need to have somebody there that can give them some honest and objective feedback.”
And that’s exactly what Begay did in the days and weeks following the PGA, when Woods announced that he was withdrawing from Ryder Cup consideration and shutting it down until his Hero World Challenge, which begins Thursday at Isleworth.
A close friend of Woods’ for nearly 30 years, Begay said that it was time for the former world No. 1 to “take ownership over his own golf swing.”
“My job was not necessarily to provide answers,” Begay said, “but to ask more informed questions. What did he want his swing to look like? What was most important to him? How do we get rid of this (back) pain? He really started to formulate ideas on what he felt needed to happen.”
Swing changes take time to implement, and not even Woods knows what to expect when he returns to competition this week for the first time in four months.
“I felt like (Como) he was the right person at this particular point in Tiger’s career to be able to not provide solutions, but to have relevant discussions with Tiger,” said Begay, who first met the Dallas-based Como in 2008. “Tiger ultimately is the one making the final decisions on these certain mechanical changes that need to be made.
“But Chris is a sounding board, I’ve been a sounding board at times, and we’re all in this together to try and provide (Woods) with the best feedback possible.”