Hank Haney was a well-respected golf coach before 2004. He had schools, clinics, and according
to his biography, worked with more than 200 professional golfers. But when Tiger Woods asked Haney, who never won a tournament of any significance anytime or anywhere, to help
reconstruct his swing, Haney became part of golf royalty.
During the six-year period (2004-10) that he kept telling Tiger, "you da man", and "finish with
your hands high", Woods won six major championships and 29 tournaments. Haney became
popular, rich, and gained the credibility he never would have if he was coaching say, Duffy
Waldorf. He never made a 5-foot under pressure or hooked a 3-wood around a tight dog-leg
onto a green the size of a postage stamp to win a tournament. That was all Tiger. Just as in
baseball, there are hitting coaches, but none in the hall of fame. It's all the about the player.
Did you ever hear Albert Pujols credit a batting coach for his success? Exactly. Same with
golf and Tiger.
Like a lot of relationships, the one between Tiger and Haney fell apart. After feeling like he
was left twisting in the wind by Tiger, Haney submitted his resignation via text. And it was
over. Kind of.
In his own little way to get back at Tiger and let the world know everything about one of
most magnetic and polarizing figures on the planet, Haney has penned a book called, "The Big
Miss", which is set to be released on March 27, the week before the Masters, a tournament
that draws the biggest ratings and will provide Haney a great platform to unveil his dirt,
private moments, and the imperfections of Tiger. It's akin to a doctor releasing the
medical report of one his patients on the Internet. You trust a friend with private information
and he runs and tells the world you have everything but erectile dysfunction.
In a run-up to the Masters, Haney has released some excerpts from the book to create
some attention. In other words, he's lubing up and ready to give Tiger the whole fist. Think
Chevy Chase bending over the table in the movie, "Fletch."
Concerning Tigers' quest to break Jack Nicklaus' record on 18 major championships, Haney
said, "There was more urgency and less fun. He never mentioned Nicklaus' record, but it
started to weigh more heavily at every major. And Tiger's actions indicated he believed he
had less time to do it than everyone thought."
Now, the majority of golf analysts and everyone else for that matter, will take that excerpt
and run with it and say Tiger was scared of the pressure. What a joke. Tiger never said those
words about 'more urgency and less fun'. That was all Haney, who of course has to make
it gossipy and juicy or like most books on sports, there will be no interest meaning no book
sales, and that's what it's all about these days, isn't it? Forget about loyalty, class, confidentially,
and respect. Dammit, if there is money to be made and a way to bring more attention to
myself, I'm going to do it. Screw Tiger and screw everyone else.
Haney also said something about Tiger wanting to be a Navy SEAL in the prime of his
golfing career. Aren't the SEALS, after killing bin Laden and rescuing two Americans in Somalia,
more popular that ever? Nice touch, Hank. All to sell a book. Is is worth it? After the smut,
smear, and sleaze, is it ever really worth it?
In January, Tiger made it clear that he wasn't happy with the forthcoming book and the
way in which Haney sold him out. "I think it's unprofessional and very disappointing, especially because it's someone I worked with and trusted as a friend. I think people understand that this
book is about money. I'm not going to waste my time reading it.
Tiger made a mistake that many of us do when it comes to friends and business. We think
think there is trust, respect, and honor. But when it comes down to the nitty gritty, most of
the people you think are your friends, are just enemies in disguise, willing to lie, exaggerate,
and speculate just to make themselves look better.
I understand that it's easy for everyone to pile on Tiger right now. The sex scandal is still
lingering and he hasn't won anything of importance in years. Reporters are challenging him,
other players are mocking him. Now we have a swing coach, a dang swing coach, ready to air
Tiger's dirty laundry. I guess stabbing others in the back is still the American way, but doesn't
this stuff get old?
"The Big Miss". The title is catchy but it's really hard to tell if that title is more about Tiger
or Hank Haney.