Sean Foley Strikes Again – Si Woo Kim Back Injury (Updated)

Updated At Bottom – Worse Than I Thought

I was looking at Si Woo Kim’s swing this past weekend after he won the Players Championship, and while I thought his swing looked a lot better than Tiger Woods’ ever did under Sean Foley (update – WRONG, I just hadn’t seen the face-on angle) – the Foley Curse has reared its head again.

Now, you may ask yourself, how on earth does a 21 year old hurt his back swinging a 13 oz golf club?

The answer is – it doesn’t matter how old you are, when you’re planting your heel and swinging with your torso instead of the hips and legs.

To be honest, my initial thought while watching the below clip was “pretty good hip turn for a planted-heel swinger,” and I knew he was 21, so I figured he would last for a while with Foley before the eventual back injury showed up (updated: I hadn’t seen a clear shot of Si Woo face-on before this morning, but as you’ll see in the update below, that is one back-breaking top position).

Well, the party’s over, according to Joel Beall from GolfWord & GolfDigest:

Si Woo Kim exits AT&T Byron Nelson with back injury

Those watching the Players Championship final round witnessed Si Woo Kim maneuver past the 10-car pileup at TPC Sawgrass, turning in a bogey-free 69 for a three-shot victory. Viewers also observed the 21-year-old clutching his back on multiple occasions, attempting to stay loose throughout the day.

It appears more than tightness was at play. On Monday, the 21-year-old dropped out of this week’s AT&T Bryon Nelson, citing back issues.

“On Saturday night at the Players, my back began to flare up,” Kim said in a statement. “On Sunday when I arrived, I received treatment from a physio on the putting green that helped me get through the round, and fortunately, win the tournament. Having dealt with that the last two days, I feel it is best for me to take precautionary measures to ensure I can play and compete fully healthy for the rest of the season.

So, just when it seemed that Sean Foley was beginning to shed the legacy of having wrecked the back of the greatest modern swing player in history and arguably the 2nd greatest player of all time (Tiger Woods, of course), his prize pony goes down with a back injury at 21.

Again, how do you hurt your back at 21 years of age, swinging a 13 oz golf club?

The answer, of course, is “by swinging in the modern golf swing style.”

And this will keep happening until this thing goes away.

Ironically, I was spending some time with the Welshman yesterday, and he was smiling at me as I groaned and strained to simply pick up a tee or to put one into the ground for a driver swing – and the he was smiling because I said:

Look at me, I can’t even pick up a tee – it’s a good thing you swing with your hips and legs and not with your back!

The Welshman, by the way, was so enthused with the simplified MCS setup and swing method that he hit 2 jumbo buckets of balls yesterday, this a 60 year old man who thought he’d have to give up playing golf, which he only took up a while back, and who also has scoliosis.

He emailed me after our time at the range, and said simply, “Thank you for pain-free power!”

So, some people just aren’t interested in wrecking their backs swinging a golf club, and for them, there is thankfully the classic golf swing, and for the lucky few, the MCS Golf Swing.

So, a 47 year old (yours truly) with scoliosis can hit balls cold without any warm up that consists of anything other than a couple of wedges, a longer iron (8 or 7) and then the driver, full steam, any time you please… and a 21 year old will be at home getting treatment for a back injury incurred (unless he’s Dustin Johnson) by hitting golf balls.

I can only say, it must really suck, if you’ll pardon the vulgar phrase, to be a modern golf swing player.

Luckily for Si Woo Kim, he just banked over $1.8 million with the Players win and likely has enough money made and coming in the short term, that a shortened career (perhaps done by 30, if your back is in trouble already at 21) wont’ be the end of the world.

Most of everyone else who wrecks their back swinging a golf club won’t be that fortunate.

I’ll stick with the classic swing and MCS, thank you very much.


Aaaaand, I’ve been looking for a face-on view of Si Woo that is recent, just to see exactly what he’s doing with his lower back, and the mystery is solved:

I thought with angles of the swings I saw, nothing much looked amiss except for the very quick change of direction at the top.  But now, having seen a face-on look at his swing, that top position combined with the quick hips on the transition… big, big trouble…

No need to wonder if it’s just a coincidence or the actual Sean Foley curse.


It’s Sean Foley through and through, and Si Woo is not going to last long with this move:

si woo kim2.jpg

Funny enough, a Wax reader asked me yesterday about how long it would take for Si Woo to break down with Foley, and I replied, “He’ll be fine as long as he doesn’t do what Tiger was doing!”

And looking above, you can throw that qualification out.

Swing change urgently in order…


13 thoughts on “Sean Foley Strikes Again – Si Woo Kim Back Injury (Updated)

  1. Beuf

    DJ, I knew you would jump on this but you missed the full story, which is much better, Kim had been experiencing back issues for a couple years, so he decided to go to Foley to learn a swing that would NOT hurt his back! Guess he didn’t see what happened to Foleys other players. How funny are these guys?

    1. D Watts Post author

      Beuf, good to see you! And you’ve got to be joking:

      Kim had been experiencing back issues for a couple years, so he decided to go to Foley to learn a swing that would NOT hurt his back! Guess he didn’t see what happened to Foleys other players.

      That is like going to see a fire-eater to get help with chronic heartburn.

      This is not going to end well:

  2. The Welshman


    It’s true what you say about our session.

    Two jumbo’s yesterday and no (sorry) NO back pain or golfer’s elbow this morning. Nothing. Nada. Rien.

    Looking at the ‘before’ video, there’s so much movement in the swing I could start a transportation company with that swing.

    The after is much more fluid, comfortable and – natural- I can’t think any other way of describing it. It just feels ‘natural’

    More work to bed it in but now I can practice without pain.

    And impact on distance? What would you say DJ? Two clubs? Within 30 mins I was hitting a 7 iron as far as I’d hit a 5.

    Great stuff. Great teacher.

    The Welshman

    1. D Watts Post author

      Thanks for the kind words, Welshman – but I think it was 3 clubs difference from the club you were hitting to the same flag when I arrived, once you got going 😉

    1. D Watts Post author

      That top position is horrific – I will admit I haven’t seen any of this young man since he hit the Tour – mostly because I never had reason to look him up. Now that I have, I wish I hadn’t.

  3. Laser

    Well, if you’ve got a couple of minutes to waste, this is how to teach a golfer to ruin his body, from Foley (2:39). Don’t try this at home.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Here’s something I’d love Mr. Foley to explain – looking at his stance and position in the screen cap – please explain how, if one’s arms are roughly if not exactly the same length, you are supposed to stand with a vertical spine position and level shoulders with one hand six inches lower on the club than the other, without doing doing something strange in order to do so?

      Because, I’d love to hear that explanation…

      Perhaps that’s why he deliberately chose a tilted spot on the golf course on which to stand… because he knows you can’t do what he’s talking about on a level surface.


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