Foley, Tiger have a game plan for the Masters

IAN HUTCHINSON

, Last Updated: 8:39 PM ET

Whether it’s a very public feud with his predecessor Hank Haney spilling over to Twitter, or Arnold Palmer questioning the logic of Tiger Woods changing his swing, the week ahead promises to be tumultuous for Canadian Sean Foley on the manicured carpet at Augusta National.

The attention and controversy that has dogged the coach of the four-time Masters champ may well intensify in the fishbowl that will also contain Woods this week and Foley is likely to take more shrapnel as the world seeks to understand what’s happening with the former No. 1 player in the world.

“I can’t hide from the fact that when I started with Tiger, he was No. 1 in the world and now he’s No. 5 (as of last week). It is what it is. I don’t really care — I don’t look at development that way. It’s not based on a weekly referendum of ‘Oh, this was better. This was worse,’ ” said Foley.

“We have a game plan in mind and Tiger will arrive where he needs to when he gets there,” he said, adding that, as coach, he will play a limited role.

“The coach sets up the play in the NHL, but (Alexander) Ovechkin has to steal the puck and go down and deke the goalie and score. Coaching in other sports is much more interconnected to the play because they’re calling the play,” said Foley.

“I’m paid 4.5%. I’m paid a small percentage, so if I’m at 4.5% of what my players earn, then I’m 4.5% responsible for them winning. I’m 4.5% responsible for them finishing 25th and I’m 4.5% for them missing the cut or finishing dead last,” he added.

“The caddies are paid more to carry their clubs,” said Foley.

That means he’s there to work on their games and support them in any way he can, but in the end, the player will be the one who suddenly clicks in to what they’ve been working on. It may come this week, or not.

“Tiger knows what to do. It’s kind of really the funny thing about all the criticism that he’s got and that he’s not got his swing change. It’s really not that big of a swing change. People don’t get it,” he said.

That curiosity combined with a mega-media world puts everything on the table for dissection, according to Foley.

“The way golf’s getting with the coverage, it’s like every day is a daily referendum,” he said. “I read an article the other day. It talked about this guy, his friend is an expert in the Chinese calendar and Tiger will suffer for eight more years under this zodiac. It’s like what is that? Give me a break.

“You’ve got commentators who made less than 42% of their cuts as professionals analyzing everything he’s done. When did they think golf got really easy?” he added.

That will intensify this week as Woods returns to not only the site of past glories, but one in which he made his highly-anticipated return a year ago after scandal rocked his world. Foley says Woods is a survivor, having faced racism and the death of his father and mentor Earl, but this is something he’s never faced.

“This is kind of uncharted waters for him and it’s going to take him some time to navigate his way out of it,” he said.

“I’ve never got a divorce, but I know plenty of my friends who have been lawyers or doctors or businessmen who have got a divorce and for some time after that divorce, their work struggled. We’re human beings,” said Foley.

The difference is the whole world has been watching Woods and Foley and will continue to do so this week at Augusta.


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