Tiger Woods may have decided to dispense with a swing coach, but he’s still been backed by one of the most renowned of instructors
Woods, 42, announced his split with Texas-based instructor Chris Como last month after four years together.
Beset by injury since he famously overcame a damaged knee to win the 2008 US Open on one leg, surgery to fuse his vertebrae last April was his fourth back operation since 2014.
And, as he continues his comeback at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, a finally pain-free Woods said per ESPN: “The only big deal about it is that no one really understands what it's like to have a fused back and be able to play.
"It's not about how the swing actually looks like. You can get into positions and things of that nature, and there are a lot of things I can't do anymore because of the nature of the fusion.
"So I'm relying on feel and my past performances.''
Nick Faldo won six major championships and became world number one after completely overhauling his swing under the tutelage of David Leadbetter in the mid 80’s – an alliance so profitable it lasted 13 years.
But, Leadbetter doubts Woods will feel Como’s absence too keenly.
He told ESPN: “Tiger's gone through maybe four or five swing changes. What he's done is taken it all on board. And I think for the most part he wants to take ownership of it.
"In coaching, you have to allow the player to feel it's all coming from them and not just the coach. It's important that they own the swing.
"Tiger is a very smart guy. He's looked at umpteen videos and seen what he did in time.
"I think he's at a stage now where he wants to take responsibility for his own game. What can a coach add?
"In reality then, why does he need the coach? It's almost like a crutch. I think Tiger is his own man. He'll do it the way he wants to do it. He's very self-determined in what he wants to do.'
“I honestly do feel that some players are overcoached,” Leadbetter added.
“I'm from the old school. I don't like to be out there every week. Let them work it out themselves, rather than being out there and saying, 'Let's do this, let's do that.' Once they're put back on track, you don't need to do a whole hell of a lot with a player."
What remains to be seen is whether he will miss the vital feedback which the likes of Leadbetter can provide.
However, it didn't seem to trouble him during his return round, and he even went inches from nailing a hole in one, which you can see below.
Fellow American Stewart Cink opined: "I think it's pretty helpful to have an extra set of eyes. Most of us do, but a few of us don't.
"I think with him (Woods) maybe he's trying to clear the mechanism a little bit. He's got so much physically going on, and so much has emotionally shaped him in the last 10 years, maybe he wants to use golf as a way to be simple."
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