Woods-Foley Relationship Continues to Grow at BMW

By Randall MellSeptember 9, 2010, 3:35 am
BMW ChampionshipLEMONT, Ill. – It’s official: Tiger Woods is buying into Sean Foley’s swing principles.

He’s a believer, a convert.

That was the big news of the day at the BMW Championship in Woods’ continuing bid to resurrect his game.

Foley worked with Woods again on the practice range before Wednesday’s pro-am and followed him early in the round. Afterward, Woods went as far as saying he is “committed” to Foley’s methods and likes where his game’s headed.

Those are large admissions in Woods’ world as he overhauls his swing for the third time as a professional.

But while Woods is committed to what Foley’s teaching, he isn’t committing to the coach yet.

In the midst of a news conference where he sounded very much like he was officially bringing Foley on board as his coach, Woods was asked point blank if Foley is now his coach.

“He’s coaching me,” Woods said.

They’re still in the courting phase.

“We’re working on it,” Woods said.

So what’s the problem?

Hunter Mahan remembers his first dance with Foley before he committed to him as his coach two years ago. Mahan knows the multi-level dimensions of the courting process in golf. And he sees wisdom in what he suspects Woods is doing.

This, Mahan believes, is about more than Woods committing to Foley’s teaching philosophy. It’s also about the partnership they’re considering, the relationship and the nature of their personalities.

It isn’t easy getting in Woods’ inner circle. A swing coach is often a confidant. There’s a trust the best swing coaches forge that goes beyond the value of a golf lesson.

“When you introduce a new coach into your game, it’s a big change,” Mahan said. “It’s a big step.

“Your coach is going to be with you a lot, on and off the course. You’re going to get personal, to know each other very well. So you really need to make sure your personalities mesh.

“Even though the information a coach is giving may be good, if your personalities don’t sync up, it just won’t work out. It won’t work if your personalities clash.”

Foley officially began working with Woods a month ago, and despite the expected stumbles in understanding a new swing, Woods is clearly making progress.

In the first two FedEx Cup playoff events, Woods has recorded five scores in the 60s.

That’s one more than he posted in the eight PGA Tour events he played leading into the playoffs.

Woods will tee it up Thursday at the BMW Championship looking to win his first PGA Tour event since he won this tournament a year ago. He’s also looking to run his streak of rounds in the 60s to four. After starting the FedEx Cup playoffs 112th on the points list, Woods has climbed to 51st. He made up ground tying for 12th at The Barclays two weeks ago and tying for 11th at the Deutsche Bank Championship last week, but he needs another good week to move into the top 30 and advance to the Tour Championship.
The progress bodes well for Woods, who is looking to win at Cog Hill for the sixth time.

 'I just have to keep heading in the right direction,' Woods said.

Foley is clearly helping. Woods is hitting more fairways. His misses are less wild.

“I’m pleased at the progress I’ve made in my game working with Sean,” Woods said. “That’s been nice to see the progress, to be able to go out there and hit the golf ball the way I know I can, to know the fixes and understand the concept. That is something I am proud of. I’m showing some good signs so far and just got to keep building.”

Saying he was “committed” to Foley’s philosophy bodes well for the future of their relationship and the possibility they’ll officially become a team.

“I needed to understand the whole concept before I committed to what I was doing,” Woods said. “I’ve committed to the concepts, and more than anything, I understand what he’s trying to teach. So that’s the biggest thing.”

Woods said he’s advanced more quickly understanding the new swing and how to fix it than he did overhauling his swing under Butch Harmon and Hank Haney.

Mahan isn’t surprised.

“It’s very simple,” Mahan said. “Tiger will get this in a couple months. He will get it a lot faster than he did with Butch and Hank. Sean’s teaching is based on scientific principles. It’s not theory. It isn’t what he thinks. It’s what he knows, what has been proven.”

The relationship might be the last piece Woods needs before committing entirely to Foley as his coach.

“I think it’s going to be a good partnership,” Mahan said. “Tiger wants to figure things out himself a lot of the time, and Foley will give him exactly what he needs. That’s what makes Foley a good coach. He knows how to talk to a player. It’s good to have information, but if you don’t know how to talk to a player, it doesn’t do any good.”

So the courting continues.
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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."