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Tiger Woods said on his website Monday that he has parted ways with Sean Foley, his swing coach for the past four years.
"I'd like to thank Sean for his help as my coach and for his friendship," Woods said on tigerwoods.com. "Sean is one of the outstanding coaches in golf today, and I know he will continue to be successful with the players working with him. With my next tournament not until my World Challenge event at Isleworth in Orlando [in December], this is the right time to end our professional relationship."
Woods, who is sidelined with a back injury, said he doesn't have a timetable for hiring a new coach. He began working with Foley at the 2010 PGA Championship.
Foley was the third coach Woods hired as a professional. He left Butch Harmon in 2003 and began working with Hank Haney a year later. He parted with Haney in the spring of 2010 when Woods returned from the scandal in his personal life.
"This is not a bad day, not even a sad day. It was a complete honor to work with him, and he couldn't have been better about this," Foley told ESPN.com in a phone interview after Woods' announcement. "If anything, I'm so grateful for what I was able to go through with him. These sorts of things are inevitable. Like in any industry, people part ways."
Woods, 38, withdrew from the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Aug. 3 after injuring his back while falling into the bunker on the second hole at Firestone Country Club. He went on to play in the PGA Championship but missed the cut.
Last week, Woods said it would be "a month or two" before he swings a club.
Woods won nine times since 2011 working with Foley but was unable to add to his 14 major titles, the last of which came in 2008 when he was under the guidance of Haney. Woods captured six majors with Haney between 2005 and 2008 and also won 31 PGA Tour titles while they were together, starting in 2004.
Prior to Haney, Woods worked with Harmon, changing his swing under his guidance following his 12-shot victory at the 1997 Masters. The work was necessary, Woods and Harmon said, to tighten his swing and gain distance control. Once it clicked, Woods went on one of the great major tears in the game's history. Starting with the 1999 PGA, he won seven of 11 majors, including four in a row in 2000-01. He also won the Masters and U.S. Open in 2002 but parted with Harmon after the 2002 PGA.
Numerous issues, including how much Harmon's swing affected Woods' knee, were part of the breakup.
Harmon, who has a full client list, including Phil Mickelson, said a reunion with Woods won't take place.
This is not a bad day, not even a sad day. It was a complete honor to work with him, and he couldn't have been better about this.” -- Sean Foley
"No I would not and he's not going to call and ask," Harmon told Golfchannel.com when asked if he would coach Woods again. "I don't think he needs a swing coach. If I were advising Tiger I'd tell him, 'You're the greatest player that ever lived, just go to the range and hit shots.'"
Woods won five times in 2013 and had high expectations for this year, with three of the major championship venues at places where he had won previously, as well as Pinehurst for the U.S. Open, where he had finished second and third.
But none of that mattered because Woods could not get healthy. The back issues that led to March 31 surgery lingered from the end of 2013, and he missed both the Masters and the U.S. Open. Woods returned in June, had his worst 72-hole finish as a pro in a major at the Open Championship and, after another setback at the WGC-Bridgestone, missed the cut at the PGA -- just his fourth missed cut as a pro in a major championship.
"It's not frustrating," Foley said of the back issues that kept Woods from finding his form or being able to practice. "It's unfortunate. Tiger has been going at it for a long time. He's been playing golf at a high level since he was a kid. There's probably 50 or 60 golfers out there now who have a bulging disk or back problems. We weren't supposed to twist and turn like that for all these years. This is not an acute injury, like the leg injury that happened to Joe Theismann. This has happened over years."
"We showed what we could do together when he was healthy," added Foley, "but it's all credit to Tiger. He is the one who did it, not me. I didn't do anything. It's like Hunter Mahan [winning] yesterday. I've been saying the same thing to him [Foley is Mahan's coach] for five months. He put it together recently and won. If he hadn't won, that doesn't mean I'd say something different to him this week."