Woods' coach Foley hits out at predecessor

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The Independent Online

Tiger Woods may now claim everything to be peace and harmony in his private life, but his golfing life can sadly make no such boast. Apart from his desultory form, a very public argument has broken out between between his coach, Sean Foley, and his predecessor Hank Haney.

It is a distraction Woods could doubtless do without as he tries to end the longest losing run of his career, which stands at 18 tournaments and 16 months. Yet the enmity between Foley and Haney has erupted with the once-subtle put-downs now anything but. The golf gloves are finally off.

Yesterday Foley called Haney "unprofessional" and said: "There was nothing about what he [Tiger] was doing in his previous swing that made any sense to me." After reading the comments on an American website, Haney, under whom Woods won six majors, replied on Twitter: "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'."

Haney then retweeted this comment from a follower, "Sean Foley = clueless", adding: "He is sure he has the answers and no one else does."

How Foley could do with his pupil coming good at the WGC Cadillac Championship, which starts in Doral, Miami today. The Canadian, who also coaches England's Justin Rose, claims not to care about his seemingly ever-growing legion of critics but his reaction hints at a different story.

Foley says his doubters, who include Lee Trevino, "don't have a clue". He told Golf Canada: "They say, 'How does Tiger Woods struggle when he's in the hunt? Look at what he did for so long?' New days. New times. You're probably an invalid if you don't think what he went through hasn't affected his belief system."

While some might be offended by the "invalid" reference, the statement is actually contrary to what Woods has constantly declared – that he is simply in another swing rebuilding "process". However, he did let on yesterday that his schedule is being affected by his new circumstances. When asked why if, as he says, he needs to play more competitive golf, he doesn't, Woods replied: "Well, because I have a family and I'm divorced. If you've been divorced with kids, then you would understand."

As it is, he has just one more tournament after this before next month's Masters. Woods, who has won at Doral six times, will be playing alongside Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell as the 72-man field – featuring the world's top 50 – goes out in world ranking order.

With Woods down in fifth, the way is left clear for the world No 1, Martin Kaymer, to partner Britain's Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. Westwood could regain top berth on Sunday – and to do so might only need to finish fourth – while Donald will be looking to win back-to-back WGC titles after his glory at the World Match Play two weeks ago.