Friday, May 14, 2010

Tiger and New Instructor Thoughts

It was announced yesterday that Hank Haney quit as Tiger's coach. Yes, Haney stated and he wanted to 'make it clear' that HE quit working with Tiger. It almost reminded me of something George Costanza would do.

Well, nobody just quits teaching the #1 golfer in the world and a player that could perhaps go down as the greatest of all time, unless:

1. The instructor despises the student.
2. The instructor knows he's going to get fired, so he'll beat the student to the punch (the Costanza move)
3. The student wants to part ways, but wants to be nice about it and allows the instructor to quit instead.

If Haney did break up with Tiger, then I think it's still a low move for Haney as a friend should stick with another friend it tough times, not jump out the car when the road starts to get bumpy.

If Tiger worked soemthing out with Haney, then at least Tiger is a decent enough guy to understand how these things work and how they can effect a person's career.

Personally, I'm in the relief stage of this because now Tiger can at least start to get back to his old swing and more importantly, his old great ballstriking. He still needs to find somebody to get rid of the bad stuff and bring back the good stuff, but the first step IMO was getting away from the Haney teaching methodology.

The early leaders in the 'So You Think You Can Teach Tiger?' are Mike Abbott and Sean Foley. Abbott works with Pat Perez, Tommy Armour III and Mark O'Meara...all good friends of Tiger. Both O'Meara and Armour III worked with Haney for awhile, so Tiger might be averse to going to Abbott feeling that Armour III and O'Meara may not be the best judge of instruction after his issues with Haney.

Foley teaches Sean O'Hair and Hunter Mahan among others. O'Hair is a good friend of Tiger's and both he and Mahan are quality ballstrikers, plus Foley is located in Orlando.

Personally, I don't think it's *that* hard to get Tiger turned around. I think even somebody like myself could spend an hour or two with him and get him back on track, and I'm not even a professional instructor.

I think what Tiger needs is somebody who can get him out of the Haney vortex and just as importantly, explain WHY the Haney stuff didn't work for him and WHY the Butch Harmon stuff did work for him. And he doesn't even need to bring back his old swing, he just needs to get away from what he's doing now.

Remember, Tiger is a Stanford guy and is not stupid. He's always been a guy that loves technology and an instructor not afraid to use things like Trackman, 6-degree 3D motion systems, force plates, etc would be something that probably appeals to him.

Ted Fort would be a great teacher for Tiger. He hasn't been around as long as Haney or Butch, but hasn't had natural superstars show up on his range either. In the meantime, he made Jean Reynolds into a #2 on the Futures Duramed Tour last season.

John Dochety has studied MORAD, S&T, 1PS, etc and is a great developer of student's golf swings.

Brian Manzella works occasionally with David Toms, a guy that finished 3rd in my 2009 Ballstriking Statistical Rankings and teaches with Trackman.

David Orr is an expert in golf swing and putting instruction, probably one of the most respected putting instructors around.

Dan Carraher is a young, upcoming instructor who currently teaches Nationwide upcomer Brian Smock.

I don't know much about Mike Abbott or Sean Foley and they may meet every expectation I could have about a golf instructor. But I think Tiger would be better off taking some serious time to seek out the right instructor. And more importantly, ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS..and see what other instructors say and see what makes sense to you.

And if that fails, I'm only 30 minutes away in East Orlando :)



Siteseer2 said...

Great Post Rich....Tiger would be well served by any of the teaching Pros you speak of...

But see, the thing in my mind is this: you don't teach just "suggest," you "consult" and he makes the decision. A player like Tiger thinks he knows more about the golf swing, and can execute it better, than anyone on this planet. It's that attitude that makes him the best. You need that cocky arrogance as a player in order to play GOLF, not golfswing, IMO.

Its only when a better has totally lost it, and completely breaks down, that he is open to instruction.

Butch occupied a unique role in that he was mentor to Tiger long before he became TIGER, and was only tiger, the golfgeek (nickname at Stanford, Urkel)

Yeah, whoever gets Tiger as a student will get the best athlete the game has ever known, IMO. It will also be tough to discern who's the master and who's the apprentice...

Anonymous said...

I keep telling grant to bite the bullet and say yes to the job. Tiger keeps askin ghim questions, but he won't answer...yet.

Erik J. Barzeski said...

Grant would be a good choice. Knowledgeable fella. His kid Osten knows a good bit too from what I've heard.

Rich, what would YOU fix in his golf swing? I know what I'd fix (roughly a list of two small things but one BIG thing), and I've shared those thoughts a few times. What would you change?

Rich H. said...

I think most players, particularly somebody who is somewhat analytical would greatly benefit from having pretty good knowledge of D-Plane. Not only the relationship of face and path, but how attack angle comes into the equation. It probably won't do a lot of good for Fred Couples, but IMO there are very few Fred Couples types out there. Much less than ever given credit for.

I think every golfer who gets a lesson does wind up playing some 'golfswing' instead of playing golf for moments in time. I think when Tiger changed to Butch he was 'playing golfswing' for a little while until he integrated it. And that's a guy that at one point was playing better than anybody had ever played.

Understanding D-Plane allows a golfer like Tiger to understand what the base root of the problem is and also helps avoid faulty instruction to solve those problems. Furthermore, I think *good instruction* is a bit easier to understand what the instructor is teaching if you understand D-Plane.

While I'm proud to be a Coastal Carolina University graduate, it's not MIT and I'm not Stephen Hawking's offspring. Furthermore I was HORRIBLE at science in school. Yet, I understand it pretty well.

The problem is you have haters who claim it's 'too scientific' and 'you have to be an MIT grad' to understand it because they know it conflicts with their faulty teaching.

So if Tiger had decent knowledge of D-Plan, he could:

1) Fix his misses quicker
2) Avoid instruction that causes those misses.
3) Understand that Haney's teaching is very flawed and avoid all that stuff like the plague.
4) Hit it 30 yards further, more accurately and more consistently off the tee.
5) Help his putting
6) Hit more great shots

I really wish I knew this stuff when I was a junior golfer. I could've really been an accomplished amateur and who knows from there. If anything, I would've saved myself A TON OF AGGRAVATION and more importantly ENJOYED THE GAME A HELLUVA LOT MORE.

I'll probably go into what I think Tiger should work on in a future post, but I really don't want to give it away. I ain't hard to find

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