Tiger doesn't need a coach, says golf guru

Tiger doesn't need a coach, says golf guru
Golf coach David Leadbetter.

He started his glittering career under Butch Harmon, and then enjoyed a stunning run with Hank Haney as his tutor.

Tiger Woods' next coach was Sean Foley, and the 14-time Major champion is now being guided by Chris Como, as he struggles to regain his world-beating form after becoming embroiled in a lurid sex scandal at the end of 2008, then going through a divorce while also battling injuries.

Leading golf instructor David Leadbetter (above), who has worked with world-class golfers like Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie, believes the former world No. 1 should trust his game, and his knowledge of the game, and ditch coaches, to become a force again.

Speaking to The New Paper at Capella Singapore in Sentosa yesterday, Leadbetter says that Woods (inset) must re-find the creativity that for so long made him the best golfer on the planet.

The Englishman said: "He needs to get more feel and creativity back. He's got enough knowledge about his own swing.

"I don't know why he needs a coach, to be honest. You would think he would go out there for a year, and say, 'Hey, I'm going to work this out on my own.'

"You would think he has enough knowledge to do that without having to get somebody to tell him, "You're doing fine.'

"You used to see him practise a lot of hitting, making slow swings, hitting shots.

"He used to have his nine-shot routine - straight: high, medium and low; draw: high, medium and low; fade, high, medium and low. You don't see him do that any more.

"It's like he's so tied in to the mechanics now, the numbers, he's seemed to have lost some of his creativity."

While Leadbetter doesn't think another Major is beyond Woods, who has sunk to 156th in the world rankings, he doesn't see the 39-year-old getting back to the peak of his powers.

Long touted as the one to surpass Jack Nicklaus' record 18 Majors, three factors are against Woods' bid to create history, according to the 62-year-old, and that is age, fitness and the level of competition.

"He's getting older. Form generally deteriorates as you get older," said Leadbetter.

"I'm not saying he's not going to have flashes of the past. I just don't think he has any chance of returning to the glory days.

IMPOSSIBLE

"That's just gone. It was his peak period. That is not to say he can't show for one or two weeks that sort of form but, to sustain it like he did for a decade, I think it's impossible.

"Then you take into account his injuries, all his personal issues, and whether his mind is as strong as it used to be, which is a big factor.

"His putting is not as good... when you take all of these things into account, you have to say his best is behind him.

"He could still win a Major - Jack Nicklaus won a Major at 46 - but that will be a one-off."

Citing the emergence of a whole host of young stars like current world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, Leadbetter added: "The level of competition is so strong now. They are not scared of him anymore.

"Tiger used to hit shots that nobody else could hit, but now they are hitting those shots too, and even probably better than he does."

Woods may be past it, but Leadbetter vividly remembers how the American took the world by storm the moment he won his first Major at the 1997 Masters, going on to amass 13 more within the next 10 years.

"He was never the greatest driver of the ball. He was long, obviously, he was a fantastic iron player with a great short game," he said.

"He had a period where I don't think even Jack Nicklaus could play like Tiger during that time, and to sustain it like he did was pretty incredible."

Renowned celebrity golf coach David Leadbetter is in Singapore as a special guest for the Julius Baer Golf Classic, to be held at the Sentosa Golf Club this year. Leadbetter had conducted a charity golf clinic for a selected group of participants prior to the corporate tournament. The Swiss bank has been running its Julius Baer Golf Classic since 2009, hosting more than 1,000 guests to date


This article was first published on May 27, 2015.
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