SANDWICH, England -- As swing instructor Sean Foley approached the chipping green at Royal St. George's, a grinning Justin Rose hollered, "We're playing at 10:10 tomorrow morning with Rock. He's excited."
Rose was teasing his coach a bit. You see, Foley is rather fond of Robert Rock's swing.
It's hard to figure out who is more excited to spend the day together -- Foley or Rock. Apparently they have a bit of a man-crush on each other.
"I think we’re both fans of each other," said Foley, whose clients include the injured Tiger Woods, Hunter Mahan and Stephen Ames. "He’s a big swing geek like me."
"Outside of my guys -- obviously I’m biased -- Robert Rock, to me, is one of the greatest hitters in the world," he said. "I love watching him swing."
The 34-year-old European Tour standout Rock has worked with professional golfer and instructor Mac O'Grady, who like Foley is an iconoclast known for his eccentricity.
Foley met Rock for the first time in person on the driving range last month at the U.S. Open, where Rock made headlines for reportedly spending $24,000 in legal fees to secure a visa to enter the United States after qualifying for the U.S. Open. (He needed a visa because of a drunk-driving incident when he was a teenager.) Arriving at Congressional less than 12 hours before his first-round tee time, Rock, who had never seen the course, shot a respectable one-under 70.
Just an example of Rock being a "cool cat," as Foley puts it.
"I went up to him and told him I thought he was great," said Foley. "And I’d been looking at his swing on YouTube for the last three or four years, and I just wanted to meet him."
Turns out the appreciation was mutual. Rock replied saying he was actually a fan of Foley's, too, and he liked how his students were swinging.
"He’s a bit of a legend, too," said Foley, laughing.
From the sounds of it, Foley and Rock will have plenty to discuss regarding their theories on the golf swing. And what is it about Rock's swing that Foley fancies?
"You know, that would take two hours to explain," said Foley.
(Photo: Jeff Haynes/Reuters)