Bubba: Tiger Woods going 'wrong way'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tiger Woods is not at the Wells Fargo Championship. But that hardly keeps his name from coming up in conversation.

In part of a larger discussion about swing coaches, Bubba Watson -- a frequent practice round partner of Woods' -- said without prompting that he believes "Tiger is going the wrong way.''

Watson has never employed a swing coach. The conversation centered on the fact that Woods' teacher, Sean Foley, parted ways with Sean O'Hair this week.

"I'll just go ahead and say it. I think Tiger is going the wrong way,'' said Watson, who won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Sunday, his third PGA Tour title in 10 months. "I just think he's so mental right now with his swing.

"Just go out there and play golf. He used to hit shots, he used to bomb it, used to do all that stuff. In 2000 and '97, I think he did pretty good. He won the Masters by 48 shots or whatever he won it by. I think sometimes he gets carried away on that. And a lot of guys do.''

Woods is sitting out this week's event on the PGA Tour due to a knee injury. His status for next week's Players Championship is still undetermined.

Woods began working with Foley last August while in the midst of his first winless season as a pro. Woods has not won on the PGA Tour since September 2009.

Watson, who is playing in his week's Wells Fargo tournament and has risen to No. 10 in the world, is unlike many of his top-ranked peers. He does not travel with an entourage. Aside from a caddie and a trainer, Watson does it alone.

"I want to be the boss,'' Watson said. "My dad taught me to be a leader or a follower, and he said follower ain't fun. So I want to be the leader of Bubba Watson. What I say goes ... I'm hitting shots I want to hit. I'm doing the things that I want to do. I play it my way.''

Watson, 32, has long claimed he's never taken a lesson -- that if he were to have to go that route, he'd quit. And nobody is quite sure if he's kidding.

"It's just not my way,'' Watson said in reference to golf teachers and the O'Hair-Foley split. "I'm good friends with Sean Foley, I'm good friends with Hank Haney, with Butch [Harmon]. I know them as people, I know them as friends, but I don't ask them for advice.

"It's just not the way I go about it. All of us are good at golf. Sometimes I think some of the great players, they get too wrapped up in the mental part ... when you start talking about other people trying to help you with your swing, look at this, look at that, I think they take a step back. So I'm hoping they all get coaches.''

Bob Harig is the golf writer for ESPN.com.