The Guardian's Lawrence Donegan lays out the pros and cons of coaching Tiger Woods. The upside, of course, is the money. Sure, there's scrutiny, but the prestige of coaching the best player in the world leads to numerous earning opportunities, although not directly from the boss, who, Donegan notes, reportedly paid former coach Butch Harmon $35,000.
Donegan lists hotshot coach Sean Foley as the leading candidate to replace Hank Haney, along with more unlikely picks like his former coach Butch Harmon and legendary Scottish coach Bob Torrence. Stephanie Wei of WeiUnderPar.com wrote last week that the hot rumor between players and caddies at TPC Sawgrass was that Haney was out and Foley was in. Foley coaches Sean O'Hair and Hunter Mahan, and Foley walked with O'Hair, Mahan and Woods during a practice round at the Players.
After Wei's story, Foley responded in The Globe and Mail that he had not had any talks with Woods about coaching. However, Foley did add that, “Who knows what will happen? I’d like to work with Tiger if I got a chance, sure. Is there an interest? Absolutely there is. But again, there’s been no discussion at all at this point.”
That's a door open wide enough to drive a Cadillac Escalade through.
Over at the Golf365 web site, Dave Tindall lists some more candidates. The favorite, he says, is David Leadbetter. Tindall also says Todd Anderson and Pat Perez's coach Mike Abbott are strong possibilities.
Anderson, who teaches Davis Love III, Brandt Snedeker and Charles Howell III, is a solid dark-horse pick. Other names being tossed around are Y.E. Yang's coach Brian Mogg and Zach Johnson's coach Mike Bender. Foley is definitely the hottest coach on Tour, but he might have trouble observing Team Tiger's Rule No. 1: Never outshine the master. Glory days, yeah, they'll pass you by The Washington Post's Thomas Boswell, one of the most insightful observers on the Tiger beat, wonders if Woods will ever regain his dominance over the golf world. Boswell looks at the historical record, which is not encouraging for Woods.
Will the Tiger Era, from the 1997 Masters to the 2008 Open, go into eclipse? That's about the same number of years that Nicklaus stayed No. 1 in the world rankings system of his time: '65 to '77.
Don't say it can't happen. It's one of golf's oldest themes, just one that we despise. At 34, Woods's age, Arnold Palmer won his fourth Masters. But the next season, Nicklaus took over as the top ranking from him, and Palmer never won another major.
After Nicklaus lost the No. 1 ranking to Watson in '78, he won "just" four more major championships. That's a lot. But if Woods's career follows a similar arc, it may be nip-and-tuck whether he passes Nicklaus's record of 18 majors.
Watson himself fell from the No. 1 perch when he was 33, after a five-year run. Few thought it meaningful at the time. But he won only one more major title. Soon enough, Tom's yips were a match for Jack's bad back. What does golf wear out — neck, back, knees or nerves? Take your pick.
Paddy Downer Padraig Harrington has played a lot of uneven golf since winning his third major at the PGA Championship in 2008. The Irish Independent's Karl MacGinty has some advice for the pensive Irishman: Cheer up!
Harrington was maddeningly inconsistent in the first two rounds, putting badly on Thursday (for a 73) and then failing too often to hit his ball close to the target from mid-fairway on Friday. The resulting 72 led to a second missed cut in three tournaments, including the Masters.
His swing looked good and Harrington has rarely driven the ball better, but it helps if the course offers enough of a challenge to stop the Dubliner getting in his own way.
Harrington hasn't won on Tour since Oakland Hills and, as the pressure mounts, it might serve him well to heed the sound advice he offered McIlroy after the Masters — simply ease up on himself, go out there and have fun.
Just a few items we noticed while wondering whether Rickie Fowler is going to audition for the new Smurfs movie.
A Notre Dame golfer disqualified from an NCAA tournament says she reported false scores as a joke. "I was just out goofing around," said ND senior Annie Brophy. (Via AP.)
Former Atlanta Braves hurler John Smoltz missed qualifying for the U.S. Open after shooting a 6-over 76 at the Hideout Golf Club in Naples, Fla. Smoltz is a frequent playing partner of Tiger Woods, who once reportedly said that Smoltz was the best golfer he knows who isn't on the PGA Tour. (Via Atlanta Journal-Constitution) BTW, make sure to catch Smoltz and Bob Costas on the MLB Network. They are the best announcing team in baseball, and one of the best in sports.
Finally, golf balls in the water that we can all be a happy about. The Miami Herald said that golf balls might be able to help stop the Gulf of Mexico oil leak. "The next tactic is going to be something they call a junk shot,'' U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen said on Face the Nation. "They're actually going to take a bunch of debris, shredded up tires, golf balls and things like that and under very high pressure shoot it into the preventer itself and see if they can clog it up and stop the leak."
Guess we know where Tiger stands on the "Is it OK to break up via text message?" question.
Monday was the end of a too-brief era when Lorena Ochoa was official removed from the women's world golf rankings. Just last week, Ochoa had dropped to No. 2 behind Jiyai Shin after 158 weeks at No. 1. Ochoa asked to be removed from the rankings following her retirement. (Via UPI)