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Mogg has eye of the Tiger

Teaching pro who might be Woods' next swing guru visits Pine Ridge

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Was that Tiger Woods' next coach on the range at Pine Ridge Golf Club on Tuesday?

Maybe.

We likely won't know the answer for some time, but that definitely was Brian Mogg conducting a clinic and having lunch with Players Cup sponsors.

Mogg's name surfaced recently on a Sports Illustrated list of candidates to succeed the recently departed Hank Haney as Tiger's swing and golf guru.

Among the eight names other than Tiger's own, Mogg was listed at 30-1, while Canadian Sean Foley seems to be the consensus favourite at this point.

Mogg wasn't shy about the possibilities on Tuesday.

"Delicately, humbly, because I've been with John Cook for a long, long time, and because I teach a mile away from Isleworth and I've got a lot of Isleworth members and because I'm with Nike, I would imagine it's not a big stretch to say, if Tiger's going to choose a coach -- and that's a big word, if -- I would likely be on the short list because of all of those factors," Mogg said.

"And, I've spent a decent amount of time with Tiger in the past. Common sense is I'd probably be on some short list and whether there's truth to it or not, we'll have to wait and see."

Other than time constraints due to his thriving teaching business based in Orlando, Mogg sounded like he wouldn't shy away from the challenge.

"I've spent enough time with Tiger, not in the near past but in the past, (that) I understand what he wants and how he would operate should he hire another coach," he said.

"The reality is that Tiger right now needs friends around him and he's not going to go hire a coach right now because he's been burned from a trust standpoint from all the scandals and all that happened.

"So to hire a coach, someone he doesn't know, barely knows or might know a little bit, he's not going to do that. Maybe I'd be a little higher up the trust factor than some of the other guys he just flat doesn't know, but to invite someone into his inner circle right now -- that's why he's not going to hire a coach right now."

Mogg seems certain that Woods will go it alone for a while while he tries to get his game and his life back on track.

"If I had to go get a golf lesson from somebody right now, he'd be one of the guys I would call," Mogg said. "His eye is that good. He's awesome.

"I would digress and say I don't like what he did with Hank. He's gotten off track for the last five or six years mechanically. But in terms of an eye, and I've been around him and when I worked with John Cook and Tiger's come up, he's had some great comments to make."

Mogg has been a frequent visitor to Winnipeg in the past. His grandmother was from St. James and the former PGA Tour player used to be a regular at the Canadian Tour stop here. He likely still holds the local record for consecutive cuts made, 14, at the Manitoba Open/MTS Classic.

The native of Tacoma, Wash., enthralled the Canadian Tour event sponsors Tuesday with swing tips on the range and tour stories -- a particularly good one was about Tiger vs. Phil at table tennis -- over lunch.

He's taken an unusual route to a reputation among the elite teachers in the game. It's rare a tour player evolves into instruction at such a high level.

"Falling into teaching after playing the Tour for several years, I don't really view it as teaching, I view it as helping people," Mogg said. "Some of it is technical, some of it is mechanical and some of it is hugely more mental or preparation.

"When you're helping people, it doesn't feel like you're working."

Having worked with the likes of John Cook, Bart Bryant, Skip Kendall, D.A. Points, Joey Sindelar and even former MTS Classic champ Lee Williamson, Mogg is currently enjoying new-found status after one of his clients, Korean Y.E. Yang, beat Woods for the PGA Championship last August.

"Every victory has been cool," he said of the 22 tour wins he can claim by his players. "After 21 of these victories, Y.E.'s victory at the PGA is equal to or surpasses the others combined, and that's not to knock the John Cook wins and things like that.

"The hoopla, the attention, the uniqueness that he's the first Asian, the first to take Tiger down, the first that he came from behind to take Tiger down and how that's reverberated throughout the golf community and the world, that one victory alone, the attention, hoopla, recognition, has surpassed everything else that ever happened for me."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 9, 2010 C4

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