Woods insists that his struggles can be attributed to the fickle nature of the game and that he's "very close" to getting his swing where he wants it to be. In the meantime the swing doctors have been throwing verbal haymakers. Noted instructor Jim McLean told Golf World in April that Woods's swing has degenerated under the influence of Tiger buddy Mark O'Meara and coach Hank Haney. Butch Harmon, the coach with whom Woods severed ties after his victory at Bethpage, dismissed speculation that he and his former pupil would reunite, recently telling Golfweek, "I have no desire to go back to the same situation where I spend all my time at tournaments with Tiger Woods.... I sat in that hot seat for 10 years, and now someone else can sit in it."
As always, all eyes will be on Woods at Shinnecock. Well, most of them. After making an appearance on Long Island the day before the Open to promote Sebonack Golf Club, a course he codesigned with Tom Doak, Nicklaus will make like a cicada and take wing—to attend to various business interests. Asked last Friday if he planned to watch the Open on TV, Nicklaus said, "I might happen to see a few minutes of it walking by a set."
What might he miss? The answer is blowing in the wind.
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