ean Foley, one of the most well-known golf teachers of the last two decades, says that his failings as a swing coach keep him awake at night.
Foley disclosed that he frequently wakes up in the middle of the night, usually around 3 a.m., on fellow instructor Claude Harmon III’s podcast, “Off Course with Claude Harmon.” He doesn’t know why, but he has a pretty good idea.
“I suppose it has something to do with maybe someone I didn’t help,” Foley explained to Harmon. “I’m not sure, but it happens pretty frequently.” I do fall asleep again, but the feeling is still there. It has to be about golf.”
While Foley has had a lot of success – his current and former players include Justin Rose, Danny Willett, Cameron Champ, and Tiger Woods – he confesses he hasn’t always done things right, especially with Woods. Foley and Woods worked together for almost four years until splitting up in August 2014.
A five-win season in 2013 was plagued by back and driving issues that Tiger Woods had while training with Foley.
A lot of people questioned Foley’s coaching style during the end of their collaboration and after they broke up, saying that it was too technical.
Foley now refers to it as “over-coaching.”
“At the time, I was still too methodical, and I think it was excellent for all of my first players that I met on Tour, and I think what happened was that I underestimated – I was too arrogant – I underestimated the state that he was in, period,” Foley said. “Overnight, [Woods] went from a deity to a punchline. He came back in 2009 and won five of his last six tournaments. By the middle of 2010, he couldn’t break par, but nothing had changed – he still had the same swing, putting, and chipping, and he still had Hank teaching him. So, I think that demonstrates how tough it is to transition from invincible to victorious.
“I think I over-coached him in the sense that I assumed a lot of the issues were more technical than they actually were.” However, I could say the same thing about everyone I’ve coached. “You don’t always get things right.”
“I’d want to thank Sean for his efforts as my coach and for his friendship,” Woods said in a statement announcing their breakup seven years ago. Foley insists that the two are “still extremely close” and that he isn’t thinking about what might have been.
In the midst of Desert Storm, “I was there for him when everyone else was leaving his world and I was entering it, right?” After Woods’ 2009 controversy, Foley says, he began working with him again within a year. In addition, I was aware that I was going to be assessed on what he had accomplished at the age of 22. So, I knew it would be difficult, but I was there for him, defended him, loved him, and did my duty as a coach, but I believe it is foolish to believe you could do it again. I mean, if they can do it again, they’re all geniuses.”