Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tiger-Haney Parting Not A Huge Surprise

When news broke late Monday night that Hank Haney had decided to end his tenure as Tiger Woods' swing coach, it wasn't entirely surprising.

There has been talk for a while now that Haney's time as Tiger's extra set of eyes might be running out. It doesn't mean Haney didn't know how to fix what's not working in Woods' game right now. Their record together demonstrates how effectively they worked as player and coach.

Sometimes, though, it's time for a change. Haney said in his statement that it was his decision to leave, not Tiger's. So far, we haven't heard from Tiger about Haney's departure. You wonder, though, how hard Woods fought to keep Haney on his team. Maybe he begged him to stay. Maybe he understood it was time to do something different for both of them.

The question now is where does Woods go for a coach?

As good as he is, Woods needs a coach. He has a few familiar swing issues -- getting the club 'stuck' behind him and dropping his head on his downswing are the ones most commonly picked out by television analysts -- and it helps to have someone like Haney there to coach.

Woods had great success with Butch Harmon before working with Haney but it seems unlikely he'll reunite with Harmon, who now coaches Phil Mickelson among others. Harmon has been outspoken about Woods' game in recent years and, given his alliance with Mickelson, it seems a long shot that he'll go back to Harmon.

Last week, Sean Foley -- who coaches Sean O'Hair -- was the name being thrown around as Tiger's next coach. Foley denied having even spoken to Woods about it but the rumor mill was already churning before Haney issued his statement Monday night.

Right now, Woods' game is in a strange place. He's not playing well, his neck is bothering him and now he doesn't have a coach. It doesn't sound like a recipe for a quick fix.