Sean Foley, who started working with Tiger Woods last summer, responded to critics that have called him “a swing-theory thief with a super-sized ego” in an entertaining Q&A with SI’s Farrell Evans. Since Tiger and former swing coach of six years Hank Haney parted ways last May, Haney and Foley have taken a few harmless digs at each other. Things heated up between the feuding instructors on Wednesday after Haney read Foley’s latest words — some excerpts via Golf.com:
Do you feel that there’s a target on you now because you’re working with Tiger? You didn’t do yourself any favors when you said some less than flattering things about other coaches, including Haney, in a September interview.
Sure. I don’t regret anything that I said about Hank. I’ve said some things that I can’t take back. It’s just that my back was pushed up against a wall so I reacted perhaps in an unprofessional manner. But I’m not going to give anyone credit for how hard I’ve worked.
But don’t you like having a modicum of fame and celebrity?
There is nothing about it that interests me. I have no interest in having Sean Foley Golf Academies all over the world and being a multimillionaire but not seeing my son play in his soccer game for two years. When kids come up to me for an autograph I just shake their hands. I don’t sign autographs and I never will. All anybody is trying to do when they ask for an autograph is have contact with you. So why sign their hat when you can find out a little about them?
Haney once said, “I always felt like I knew Tiger from observing. I did not feel I knew him from knowing him.” Has that been true in your case?
Hank built most of his career around Tiger. I found most of that interview to be unprofessional. I don’t understand how, if you don’t get to know the person, how you can teach them. There is the business aspect of it where you have to keep things separate from that standpoint, but if you’re spending eight hours a day with this person you have to have some things in common. There was no way I was ever going to be able to stand on the range with anyone who was not kind to people or rude just to make my career better. I could care less about it. There has to be a semblance of ethics and values in the person. It’s interesting to see how hard Tiger works. How kind he is to the people at Isleworth. He’s a solid guy.
Haney took the war of words to another level: Twitter, of course. He fired back at Foley’s comments in a series of tweets, starting with this one, “If you want to be entertained go to Golf.com and read Sean Foley’s latest version of ripping Hank Haney, all I can say is wow.”
Here’s a sampling of the many, many retweets from his followers, which defend Haney and take shots at Foley.
I got sick of reading the nonstop RTs after the first 10 or so. Every time I check, there are more! — to be fair, not all are about Tiger and Foley.
I don’t know Haney at all, but I’ve gotten to know Foley a bit. I think he’s a great guy, personable, and very bright, to boot. (You can even talk to him about non-golf topics!) He always says hello and remembers names (which, you’d be surprised, is rare). He doesn’t act self-important and shows the same passion and energy when working with all of his students on Tour, which include Sean O’Hair, Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose and Stephen Ames.
I’m going with Team Foley.