What we learned: From Kraft to Shell to Masters


Each week, the GolfChannel.com team offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the most recent events. This week, the team reflects on the final warmup for the Masters, the Shell Houston Open, as well as the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the LPGA season.

I learned that just when we thought Sean Foley's stock had reached an all-time high, it split and paid dividends. One year ago, players, media, fans and especially some fellow instructors were calling for Foley's head on a platter, submitting his lack of success with Tiger Woods as an example of his so-called futility as a teacher. Those people aren't criticizing any longer. That's what a combined four wins from your three highest profile players in a two-month span will do for a guy. Foley is now one of the hottest names in the game and even though he constantly deflects credit to his clients, the rest of us should be heaping praise on him for the work he's done. – Jason Sobel

I learned that it has to be tough to be Sean Foley. With Hunter Mahan's second win of the year on Sunday at the Shell Houston Open, students of the Canadian-born teacher now have four wins on the PGA Tour. Mahan has his pair, Justin Rose won at Doral and Tiger Woods took Bay Hill. And, oh yeah, Woods was runner-up at PGA National.

He has five fridge-worthy accomplishments from his students and probably not enough room or magnets to showcase them all. ('They're all special! I promise,' he probably says.)

Last year, the concocted Chubby Slam was broken up by Keegan Bradley taking the PGA Championship. The gregarious agent enjoyed the infatuation with him, as a guy who didn't hit a single shot in the major wins by clients Charl Schwartzel, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke.

Sean Foley might be a bit more subdued if he is so fortunate to represent three majors winners in 2012.  Ryan Ballengee

I learned that if you're looking for a Masters favorite search no further than Sean Foley's stable. The swing coach has nearly run the spring table with victories at the WGC-Accenture Match Play (Hunter Mahan), WGC-Cadillac Championship (Justin Rose), Arnold Palmer Invitational (Tiger Woods) and Shell Houston Open (Mahan).   Rex Hoggard

I learned that April Fool's Day is no joke. Not for I.K. Kim. This year, we've seen a player blow a six-stroke lead in a final round. We've seen a player blow a three-stroke lead on the final hole. But this: missing a 1-foot – if that – putt to win a major? There can't be a more painful way to lose.   Mercer Baggs

No putt is a sure thing to win a major championship.

A foot can seem like more than a mile. A foot can seem longer than a lifetime, because players who miss short putts to win their heart’s desire never know if they’ll get another chance to win it back.

It didn’t seem fair, didn’t seem right, didn’t seem decent that I.K. Kim would miss that 12-inch putt Sunday and squander a chance to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Golf is cruel. We didn’t learn that Sunday, but we were powerfully reminded. Randall Mell