The article below was written by Matt Chivers of National Club Golfer.
Sean Foley believes the PGA Tour owes Tiger Woods “everything.”
The 15-time major champion’s former coach says Woods’ career has had a larger influence on current prize money than the tour’s own “business development aspects.”
Foley worked with Woods from 2010 to 2014 after successful stints with Justin Rose, Hunter Mahan and Sean O’Hair.
Describing himself as one of Woods’ “biggest fans” to No Laying Up, Foley also admitted his “arrogance levels” as a coach might’ve been high by the time they joined forces.
“To be able to spend time with him like that and get to know him and just see the sheer difficulty of his life, that type of fame and that type of notoriety,” he said.
“You wouldn’t wish it on anybody.
“And I think the game of golf, especially the PGA Tour, they owe that guy everything because purses are not here today because of the business development aspects of the PGA Tour.
“It’s all due to a kid in a red shirt from Orange County, California.”
Woods returned to World No.1 and won eight times under Foley’s tuition, but he also suffered back trouble and underwent a procedure to repair a bulging disc.
The pair parted ways in August 2014 and Foley described it afterwards as a “lifelong ambition of mine to teach the best player of all time in our sport.”
“I think we did a pretty good job together,” he added on the podcast. “I think what I would have done much more, that I understand now is I would’ve probably spent less time coaching him and more time just being his friend as I was.
“Like how arrogant was I to think ‘Did you actually teach Tiger Woods about golf?’”
What was it like to be Tiger Woods’ golf coach?
Woods had already won 71 times on the PGA Tour by the time Foley came along, having previously worked with Butch Harmon and Hank Haney too.
Foley first helped Woods during the 2010 PGA Championship, six months after the golf star made a televised statement concerning the widely reported issues in his private life.
“You’re dealing with someone who’s incredibly wounded, probably embarrassed, just in a way different place than he’s ever been in his life,” Foley said.
“I mean it was like going from a deity to a punchline almost overnight.”
The Canadian-born instructor now has a performance centre in Florida, hosts Playing Lessons with the Pros on Golf Channel and produces content for Revolution Golf.
But despite also coaching Lydia Ko, Cameron Champ and Danny Willett, nothing could’ve prepared Foley for being a staple in Woods’ life for four years.
“Being on the range and watching helicopters fly over and film us and stuff. Justin Rose, Sean O’Hair and Hunter Mahan are pretty well known, but we got to like a Prince/Michael Jackson level.
“I would imagine 99 out of 100 people in the world who have never touched a golf club or even been on a golf course still know who Tiger Woods is.
“I had to deal with a lot more, there were the fans of what we were doing and the people who hated it, so I ran into both of them at the airport.
“But look, I was the one who said ‘yes’ to doing it and so basically, because I chose to do it, I’m responsible for whatever occurred after that.”