Tiger Woods has sung the praises of his swing coach for three years but it took Justin Rose winning the U.S. Open to convince fellow Englishman Lee Westwood to add Sean Foley to his payroll.
Westwood, a former world No. 1 who has made no secret of his yearning to win a major championship, hopes that his work with swing guru Foley will help him hoist that first major trophy -- preferably a claret jug as early as Sunday at the British Open.
"When you look at what Sean has achieved with Tiger and Justin, plus the likes of Hunter Mahan, you've got to say he is in the top drawer as a coach," Westwood told the Telegraph's James Corrigan on Monday at Muirfield. "He obviously knows his stuff."
Woods believes so. The world No. 1 has won no majors since hiring Foley in 2010 but he has added seven PGA Tour triumphs to his second-best overall total of 78 since splitting up with Foley’s predecessor, Hank Haney. Rose has rocketed up the world rankings leaderboard, from 83rd to No. 3 after his win at Merion.
As for Westwood, the 24-time PGA and European Tour winner sacked former coach Pete Cowen last August. He spoke with Foley at the Memorial in late May/early June and hooked up with him after Rose, a first-time major victor last month at Merion, suggested he do so.
"I feel like my golf game has gotten better and better every year I've been with Sean. I've picked up distance and I'm hitting the ball straighter," Rose told Corrigan about the four years in which he has been Foley's acolyte. "And for me to go into a U.S. Open and feel like it was one of my legitimate chances to win a major was a testament to my ball striking. So I got to give a lot of credit to Sean."
Westwood, who said he was looking "for a new set of eyes" and found Foley’s instruction "pretty simple to follow," also recently began working on the greens with 1991 British Open champ Ian Baker-Finch to get his game in shape for this week's contest.