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Swing coach Sean Foley steps into Tiger's lair

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By DOUG FERGUSON
The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 15, 2011; 5:26 PM

PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Sean Foley had a peaceful Tuesday morning on the PGA Tour. No more than a half-dozen people paid attention as he walked a practice round with a client who was coming off a strong finish that was sorely needed.

That would be Stephen Ames, who tied for third in Puerto Rico.

It's that other client - Tiger Woods - who brings Foley more scrutiny than ever, and lately, more criticism.

Woods was 100 miles away in a made-for-TV exhibition on his home golf course, although that won't stop the growing debate about where he is in this "process" of changing his swing, and whether he is heading down the right path.

Foley was expecting this when they first began working together last August at the PGA Championship.

"When I started with Tiger, I didn't think it would be a month and then he'd kill everyone," Foley said. "Remember, I got him right after Akron, the low point of his professional career."

It was last year at Firestone, where Woods had won seven times and had never finished worse than fifth, that he had the worst 72-hole score of his career (298) and tied for 78th against an 80-man field.

A few months later, Foley said he stopped reading golf stories and turned the volume down when watching golf on TV.

He says the criticism doesn't bother him.

"Look, I'm a Canadian who at 19 was a white kid at an all-black university," said Foley, who played college golf at Tennessee State. "This couldn't even be called criticism what I'm going through now."

With Woods, criticism comes with the territory.

"For some reason," Woods said last week with a grin, "I tend to get a little bit more scrutinized than most players do, analyzed to the nth degree about what goes on within one round of golf. That's something new to him. He has not quite faced that. But he said the one positive thing is I'm always on TV, so he gets to look at a lot of golf swings."


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© 2011 The Associated Press

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