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« Headline Writers Feast On Tiger's Early Practice Round Restart | Main | Telegraph: Secretary Change, Progress Coming To Muirfield »
Tuesday
Jul162013

Westwood Moves To The Foley Stable

James Corrigan with the news that Lee Westwood has enlisted Sean Foley to help with his game.

“When you look at what Sean has achieved with Tiger and Justin, plus the likes of Hunter Mahan, you’ve got to say he is in the top drawer as a coach,” Westwood said. “He obviously knows his stuff.”

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Reader Comments (31)

Westwood doesn't need Foley. He needs a Stockton or Uttley!
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
Tee to Green, he's been fantastic for 3-4 years. He's improved his short game under Baker Finch. But his putting...I would'nt want him to have to single-putt for my life.

Jay Haas is who he has to hang out with.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered Commentermehstg
Agree, it's all about the putter for Westwood now. Guy is running out of opportunities and really has only 3-4 years or so left at the top level.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichD
Don't forget about the greenside chip shots that he sends all over the place fellas.

Not sure where Foley could help him whereas an Utley or Stockton or Bender could be more effective. What happened to Mark Roe? I though he was the short game coach to Westwood.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Interesting that Foley sent Mahan to Roe when he had the short game yips, 3ncz. As I understand it, it was a mental issue and not one that involved technique.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
@ johnny - he's improved his scrambling immensely under IBF - currently 9th in the stats, whereas his putting stats are awful - he's down amongst the dead men on the short stuff.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered Commentermehstg
What say you now, all you Foley knockers?
He has proved himself to be a very good teacher. His followers are quite pleased with their results.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
Wake me when he wins, Stanley. Do you really believe Foley can make him a better ball striker than he is already? I can't even think of a contemporary at Lee's level with a putter that bad. It isn't simply the missed putt, his speed control is just as awful and results in too many bogies or worse.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
Really gonna suck for the haters if Lee starts putting and chipping better!
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Can you guys fathom how great of a ball striker this guy must be to achieve such a high level of success in professional golf and be such a poor putter? It's actually hard to believe. Sergio would be a comparison, but Sergio is comparatively a much better putter and that's saying something about how bad Westy really is on the greens.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris from DE
@ Stanley,

You do understand there was a time when the 'Foley' of the day was "Flick," "Leadbetter," or "Smith," or "Harmon?" Or any other of a myriad of names? He's the trend of the day. If having him standing behind them for a few shots on the range makes them feel better in the head, then so be it. Hearing Lee talk of seeing a "better ball flight" yesterday and better positions in the swing makes one wonder if he really is being honest about where he's missing out on scoring.
However, if Sean can make it so Lee hits every iron to tap-in length, I guess he may help him.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
It's interesting, I know of a few people who have come up against Westwood in amateur county games years ago ( i am from Derbyshire which neighbours Nottinghamshire where he is from). They all said the same thing - he had a wonderful short game and in particular putting!

I know there is a vast gulf between the amateur game and the tour, but this came from a former county champ who is now a pro and a former Ireland international off +3, so I am inclined to trust their opinion.

Earlier on in his career he wasn't the ballstriking force he is now and holed more putts. He isn't the first to stop holing putts while his long game got more solid - look at Watson.

FWIW, I think his problem is all in his head and not technical. He has just seen too many putts slide by and I believe it has dented his confidence a little. He doesn't believe he is dangerous on the greens like Phil or Tiger.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichD
At least swing-wise, Westwood is already down with the Foley wipe (as opposed to Tiger, who has to go against his natural instinct with every twirl of the club). And Foley's actual strength -- his mental coaching -- might help Westwood with his actual problem -- his head.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRLL
What is the Foley wipe?
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ
You pull your right arm across your chest horizontal to the ground after contact with the ball, turning EVERY shot into a wipe across the clubface CUT.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRLL
I like Lee. Anyone who has lost their game and brought it back is someone I will root for - Campbell, Stricker, etc. I'd love to see him win a big one or two on the homestretch.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
@RLL be careful with that wipe assessment. Yes, if the ball curve left to right, then it CAN be called "wipey". If that same move produces a slight draw...then it's called "textbook" to many teachers.

There have been TONS of great players who had their right arm tight to the body through the ball...and they were all known as solid ball strikers. What Tiger appears to be committed to is eliminating the left side of the course. A one way miss is a thousand times better than his old army-golf pattern.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
RLL,
Take a look at Hogan's swing, he swung hard left after impact and maneuvered the ball both ways.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ
@johnnny: that's why I refer to the Foley wipe, which is designed to do one thing, rather than the kind of multi-purposed swing you refer to. (Also, eliminate half the course and it's more likely you eliminate half your wins than save half your losses. Tiger's biggest strength used to be that it didn't matter where his misses went, he would find a way to pull out a save.)

@j: think you better be the one to look at Hogan's swing... If you can find me one clip where his right hand and arm finish horizontally at shoulder height or below rather than even ABOVE his head, I'd like to see it.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRLL
Yes, Hogan used to have an abreviated follow through on ocassion with the irons, but his release was a high fader release with high hands, not the pull left cut away swipe mentioned above. Not on footage i've seen anyway.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichD
Have already discussed Rose / Foley connection at length in a prior thread somewhere, which actually brings me full circle back to what I was really saying here -- that Westwood's connection to Foley will, IMO, benefit greatly from Foley's mental coaching, not swing coaching.

Rose was quoted just last weekend talking about exactly what I'm referring to, which is, "I have always thought I could win a major from early in my career but I didn't know what was required to do so," Rose says. "I have had the talent to win one since Birkdale 1998 but the reality was something very different. Not until recently did I realise what effect the start to my pro career [he missed the cut in his first 21 consecutive events] did have from a deep-rooted confidence point of view."

It's this "deep rooted confidence" type of thing that I applaud Foley for going at (even though I know many scoff at it along with the language he uses). I think it's more the thing that separates the few who break through to major victories than the swing coaching. And I think it's what Westwood will benefit most from when he works with Foley.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRLL
I get what your saying.

Just want to point out that here was a thread awhile back where someone tried to argue that Rose won a major despite the inferior swing imposed upon him by Foley, and how the "Foley" swing is inferior. Roses quotes about his better ball striking suggest otherwise. This quote can't be ignored:

"I feel like my golf game has gotten better and better every year. I've picked up distance and I'm hitting the ball straighter. And for me to come into a U.S. Open and feel like this is one of my legitimate chances to win a major is a testament to my ball striking. So I got to give a lot of credit to Sean."
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterOC
And for the second time, the "someone" would respond, no question, that quote cannot be ignored, OC... <g>..., but that Rose's swing has been a gem since he was but a child, and Foley obviously (and to his credit) hasn't and wouldn't mess with it when he sees Rose is his own man when it comes to swinging the club. It what's in Rose's head that Foley has amped up. And also no question, it's improved his ball striking -- and his ability to win -- which is what Rose (to his credit) recognizes and says.

See you on the links. ;=]
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRLL
RLL, just STFU already. Believe the players in their assessment of their games. They oughtta know and collectively they say they are better under Foley. One guy was even ranked 58th in the world and told he would never win a tournament again, much less return to World Number 1. One radical swing change later that guy is World Number One by a freaking mile. That guy is Tiger Woods. Go sit in the corner
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEnigma
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ma84i1Ok3I0

RLL and Rich, take a look at this video of Hogan (look at 3:40 or so), who cares where his follow thru ends up, his motion is low and Hard left. Why don't you learn something about how the golf swing works, the hands can be moving left and the clubhead can still be moving right and hit a draw. Just like all good players hands are moving up at impact while the clubhead is moving down as the wrists unhinge.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ
RLL, While that is an interesting opinion, I don't think that it will hold up to the facts. Look back to Justin Rose's own words before the US Open:

Q&A with Golf Weekley: I made the switch to Sean a little over a year ago and a lot of what I have worked on with Sean has been relatively easy because of where we had got before. Nick [Bradley] and I had done well together – he took me to No 6 in the world. But I just thought I was ready for a change. I feel that Sean has ‘rounded off’ my swing made it more of a circle, made the plane a little better and more consistent and he’s added shots to my game. In the past I felt like I didn’t really know how to shape a ball. I didn’t really understand the science of hitting a ball right to left or left to right, clubface versus path versus hand angle and so on. Sean really teaches principles based on using feedback from TrackMan – he’s at the forefront of teaching that way. That’s the way golf is going right now and it suits me because I’m a fairly analytical type of player.

Read more at http://www.golftoday.co.uk/golf_international_mag/features/justin_rose_interview.html#RVBUXZ4sFmMl6ljt.99

April 2011: "It was the 2009 US Open. I was playing with Sean O'Hair and I was being completely outclassed," he says with trademark honesty. "I was playing with a guy who was consistently hitting great shots. He looked like he was completely under control, while I was grinding and struggling. After watching Sean, I thought to myself: 'That is where I want to be....Before I met Sean I wasn't working very hard on my game because I was so uncertain. It is hard to stand out there on the range and beat balls when you are thinking: 'God, I don't really know what I am doing,'" he says. "He has given me a new perspective. He has given me clarity. There is a lot of hard work involved, but it is easy to work hard when you are going in the right direction."

September 2011: ""It was just nice to get a couple of things clarified in my golf swing, got a couple of simple feels," Rose said. "I like to play with a swing thought, but the more simple it is the better that is to play with. We had a nice lesson and we sort of worked my golf swing into position with one simple swing thought, and that was nice for the week." Rose opened the tournament with a 63 and led after every round, posting his third PGA Tour victory in 15 months and giving credit to his teacher.

If these quotes or further evident won't change "someone's" opinions or have "someone" reconsider that opinion, that "someone" is really bias and shouldn't be taken seriously.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterOC
you guys with the swing analysis are hysterical. I personally like the trap-draw swing that I learned as a young kid, it's the best shot in golf to control the ball and I am no way, shape or form swinging left, I am swinging right as far as I can. It is a go-to shot that won me a couple of majors.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnny
I agree with many above and I think the stats show it, he needs help with the short clubs. Great driver and iron player, certainly above average. To many mediocre chips and putts is what costs him. How to make 2 from the side of the green rather than 3 and putting are the two areas where he will gain strokes.
07.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKG
Good stuff, OC. Thanks. I appreciate your facts and the way you present them. Moves my opinion of Foley up a notch -- even if I still don't care for what he's done with Tiger's swing.
07.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRLL
"Also, eliminate half the course and it's more likely you eliminate half your wins than save half your losses. Tiger's biggest strength used to be that it didn't matter where his misses went, he would find a way to pull out a save." --RLL

Uhhh...not sure ho to respond to that line except with a large guffaw and/or an incredulous facial expression that would make Jim Carrey blush. Methinks you are confusing how Tiger USED to be able to knock in the critical par savers due to his short game prowess. Trust me...NO ONE out there appreciates or even wants any part of a two-way miss. No way Jose!! It is impossible to play consistently at a high level if, mentally, one is playing "flip the coin" over the ball.

(Also: See Rory this year...he fears the snap and is leaving a few bleed out into the right rough more than ever)
07.17.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz

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