Attention has been and will continue to be paid to Tiger Woods as the anniversary of his Nov. 27, 2009 accident approaches. Woods has tried to get ahead of the story with his op-ed in Newsweek, and his foray into tweeting. He is taking stock. He is connecting, or trying to connect, with his followers. It has not been a very good year.
That said, the year is certainly going out on a more positive note for Woods than it started. As part of his self-renewal, he has been working with swing coach Sean Foley. Woods’ 6-under-par run the last six holes of the recent Australian Masters suggests he still has some game. Can he put it together next year and return to winning?
Foley will be at his side, as he has been since late summer. If it has not been a good year for Woods, it has been a very good year for the 36-year-old Canadian, who works out of the Core Golf Academy in Orlando. Foley has become something of a celebrity. That is not necessarily what he was after when he said a few years ago that he hoped one day to work with Woods and, indeed, that he felt this would come to pass.
But celebrity status goes with working with Woods, on the upswing and, as it has happened for his former coaches Butch Harmon and Hank Haney, on the downswing. Not that this has mattered to Harmon or Haney, who remain highly popular and successful without working with Woods.
This brings the discussion back to Foley, whose new DVD, which he did with his brother Kevin, who produces sports shows, is being released today. It is likely to be a hit, given his profile these days. Meanwhile, his followers already speak of a “Foley swing.” That is what they call it on the forum www.torontogolfnuts.com.
But what is Foley trying to accomplish with his foray into the world of instruction by DVD? First, some back-story.
“My brother and I were together about two years ago and he said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we did a DVD together?’” Foley said the other day. He added something that might surprise readers who think there is nothing more to this engaging and well-read young man than an idea about a golf swing. He, like all good children, even adult children, wanted to do something that would bring a smile to his parents’ faces. So did his brother. They decided their parents would be thrilled if they worked together on the project.
Presto, the idea of a DVD was born, long before Foley was working with Woods.
The DVD did not happen immediately, of course. There was the usual gestation period, and in the meantime, Foley was privy to another form of gestation: the birth of his and his wife Kate’s own child, that is. Their son, Quinn, is approaching his third birthday. Fathers influence sons, of course, and little Quinn is already influencing his father.
“It’s funny, but since I have become a father, I have realized that all parents need from their children is to have a sense of pride as they watch them evolve as professionals and people,” Foley said. “So every chance I get to make them feel that way, I put effort towards doing so. That was the true genesis of the DVD.”
The reasons for doing it, that is, were intensely personal. Anybody who knows Foley will readily accept this. They would not be surprised to know that one of the reasons Foley looked forward so much to going to the Open Championship in St. Andrews last July was that he was going to take his parents there. That in itself made for a memorable week. It did not matter, personally to Foley anyway, that Woods did not win his third Open at the Old Course.
Still, Foley would not have done the DVD without sound professional reasons. They are, he said, “To allow people for an affordable price to get some insight into what I believe can allow them to be more skilled golfers. It really is a compilation of a lifetime of what I have learned from others, experienced through hours and hours of teaching golf, and then using science to define the things that truly can be measured. The lesson and skill sets in the DVD if practiced properly will ensure better contact, better creation of power and speed, and greater accuracy.”
There is something else, too. Foley and his wife intend to direct half the DVD’s profits to the Foley Foundation. His vision extends beyond helping Woods and his other players win golf tournaments.
“Our dream is to work with single mothers to allow them to make positive strides in their careers and to help them support their children,” Foley said. “They are such an overlooked demographic in the social system and I would like to bring light to their sacrifice and struggle.”
Foley’s aspirations are impressive and laudable, both on and off the course.