Aug 28, 2014

    Woods doesn't need a coach, says Els

    ERNIE Els yesterday said Tiger Woods should forget about hiring a new coach after splitting with Sean Foley and could return to Major-winning form on his own.

    The South African said Woods had never been the same since he stopped working with Butch Harmon in 2003, and that he did not like the direction his American rival had taken under Hank Haney and then Foley.

    But Els said the injury-hit Woods, far from looking at the embers of his career at 38, was still capable of returning to the very top of world golf.

    "I don't think it's the passing of the torch yet," Els said during a phone conference ahead of October's Venetian Macau Open, which he is headlining. "Because I know where I am at 44, and Tiger's not 40 yet, so there's still a lot of life left in the dog."

    Woods, a 14-time Major winner, ended his four-year association with Foley earlier this week after cutting short a troubled season dominated by his recovery from back surgery.

    Many wonder whether golf is seeing a power shift from Woods, without a Major win since 2008, to world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who won this year's British Open and PGA Championship, and is only 25.

    But Els, who won his fourth Major - the 2012 British Open - aged 42, said Woods could still challenge McIlroy if he returns to full health and gets back to basics with his game.

    Els said: "He's young enough, he's strong enough. He's had some really bad injuries to his tendons and to his back now, that's not a great sign. But if he's healthy, he's shown that he can win."

    Els thought Woods was on a "different level to everybody" during his days with Harmon, with whom he won eight Majors.

    "He doesn't need a coach. He needs a friend of his to lay eyes on him all the time, just to check his fundamentals," said Els.

    "He just needs to look at tapes and see what his body can do, and see if his body can do the same as what he did back in the day."

    Els' assessment chimes with Harmon's, who had told the Golf Channel: "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.' "