How the Best in the Game Keep Learning
By Keith Stewart, PGA
Tiger Woods and Cary Cozby, PGA at Southern Hills Country Club on April 28, 2022.PGA of America
Tiger Woods played a practice round last week at Southern Hills Country Club in advance of the 104th PGA Championship next month in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The second major championship of the 2022 season is just about three weeks away.
The causal golf fan may ask why Woods would visit Southern Hills. Didn’t Tiger already win a PGA Championship there? In 2007, Tiger did win the 89th PGA Championship by two strokes over Woody Austin. So why did Woods make a return visit? In 2015, golf course architect Gil Hanse started a restoration of the course. The same architect who designed the East Course at PGA of America’s new headquarters in Frisco, Texas.
Tiger’s time is very limited, and we all know once the jet lands, the clock is ticking. So he asked for some local help to learn the new layout and talk through the changes. Who did Tiger ask? The best teacher possible, SHCC’s Director of Golf Cary Cozby, PGA.
One of the most important lessons is golf doesn’t have to do with backswings and fundamentals. All golfers should know when it comes to teaching the game, swing or otherwise the best instructor possible is a PGA Professional. Cary is in his seventh season as the Director of Golf at the famed layout. The 2016 National PGA Professional of the Year is not only Tulsa’s top teacher, but a nationally regarded player as well.
Woods wins major championships because of his legendary preparation. In this case, he wanted Cozby to spend some time with him while he was preparing on property. Cary seized the opportunity and caddied for him. Woods quickly accepted the prospect of getting the best possible guide through the course.
When Tiger wasn’t swinging, you can see Cozby standing right next to him. In Cary’s words, Tiger was in full prep mode. He was inquisitive and very focused. Cary also went on to mention that Woods was striking the ball beautifully.
We all know Woods has a great record at SHCC. He finished 12th in 2001 at the US Open and of course won the PGA in 2007. With all that success, he still enlisted a PGA Professional to enhance his preparation for this next tournament. If the best modern player in the world asks for help from a local PGA Professional, why don’t you?
The women and men of the PGA of America are the lifeblood of this industry. They are the teachers and coaches of players and their instructors. The men’s #1 player in the world, Scottie Scheffler, has been taught since his teens by 2002 National PGA Teacher of the Year Randy Smith.
On Thursday, Tiger reinforced a very important lesson for all golfers. Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Ask for help and at the course the best place for help is with the local PGA professional.