Planet Golf — 25 August 2014 by GW staff and news services
So, what’s next for struggling Tiger?

NORTON, Mass. — So what now for Tiger Woods?

While he recovers from an ailing back and failing to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs, the hunt and speculation for who his next coach will be is on, even as Woods says there is no timetable for a replacement for Sean Foley.

One coach who won’t be working with Woods is Butch Harmon. He was with Woods from 1993 until 2004 and earlier this week said he won’t be coaching him again.

There are plenty of other names that are and will be talked about, too.

There are plenty of other names that are and will be talked about, too.

What type or style of coach will he seek? That’s another question, and one that will perhaps provide some insight as to who that coach will be.

Everyone has their theories.

“I think that he needs a coach to sort of balance out his over-technical tendencies,” Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee said. “I think that’s an interesting subject to talk about, the wonderful techniques of golfers and all of the geometry that’s been brought to the swing in the last four, five or six years.

“But I don’t know that it serves Tiger or any golfer particularly well, and you need a teacher who is strong enough in their beliefs to think golf ball forward. Most teaching these days is golf ball backwards. It’s from the golf ball into the backswing. There are a number of teachers out there that I think could help Tiger along that line. But it also has to be a teacher that convinces Tiger that what he’s doing in the gym is not helping him on the golf course. If indeed he hires another instructor, it’s going to have to be somebody with enough gravitas to convince Tiger that all of this work he’s doing in the gym has made him so big and thick at the top that there’s no way that he could ever go back to swinging anywhere near the way he used to.”

Likewise, Johnny Miller thinks the less-is-more approach is the way to go for Woods.

“Tiger is looking for too much,” said Miller, the longtime NBC Sports analyst. “I think he should just go play golf. He can be very athletic. There’s the target; you swing at the target. You don’t swing way left. You swing at the target. It’s a very simple thing.

“He knows enough to tell most coaches what to do. He needs to quit being Ponce de León looking for that fountain of youth.”

At a soon-to-be 39 years old, Woods indeed does have a lot of miles on his body. He has undergone multiple surgeries on a variety of extremities and his return from microdiscectomy surgery at the end of March has proved, in his words, to be the most debilitating of them all.

Few players also attack the ball the way Woods has throughout his career and that sort of explosiveness comes with a steep price tag.

“What he really needs to do, I think with the long game, is swing a little smoother instead of exploding into it and blocking everything right and flipping it left,” Miller said. “Not that he’s going to play golf like (Jim) Furyk, but Furyk is kicking butt right now and he can barely hit it where Tiger hits a 4-wood.

“Forget about that explosive — he keeps saying, as soon as I get my explosive power back. He’s about 15 years late on that.”

None of this, by the way, should be taken as a dig at Foley.

Woods won five times last year and in his four years with Foley was plagued by a variety of injuries. Others — Justin Rose and last week’s Barclays winner Hunter Mahan, among others — have also enjoyed success under Foley’s tutelage.

But it’s also clear that Woods felt like it was time for a change. This one, however, might be the most difficult of them all, according to Chamblee.

“It’s going to take time to unlearn and relearn the muscle memory that he needs to make another change,” he said. “He’s doing it now with sort of a banged up, older body. So that’s going to require a sort of incubation period that will slow golf down for a little bit.”

And in the meantime continue to give everyone else more chances to win.

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