Tag:hank haney
Posted on: March 6, 2012 4:46 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 4:51 pm

More info comes out about Tiger and the SEALS

Tiger Woods spends time at Fort Bragg in 2004. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

Just when we thought the Navy SEALS story about Tiger Woods was dead, GolfDigest.com revealed even more from the upcoming Hank Haney book and it’s even more intense than you think.

"The Big Miss" is the upcoming Haney account of his time with Tiger, and while the book hasn’t hit the stores yet, pieces keep leaking and it just gets juicier and juicer. 

So we know that Tiger thought about becoming a Navy SEAL, but how intense was he? According to the book, incredibly. Tiger went on multiple training sessions with the SEALS, and even did a three-day parachute training session just 18 days before the 2006 U.S. Open, which prompted the following e-mail from Haney to Woods.

With the U.S. Open 18 days away, do you think it was a good idea to go on a Navy SEALs mission? You need to get that whole SEALs thing out of your system and stick to playing Navy SEAL on the video games. I can tell by the way you are talking and acting that you still want to become a Navy SEAL. Man, are you crazy? You have history to make in golf and people to influence and help. Focus on your destiny, and that isn't flushing bad guys out of buildings in Iraq. Just play the video games some more. That Navy SEAL stuff is serious business. They use real bullets.

The four page excerpt on GolfDigest.com has even more about his infatuation with the SEALS, saying Tiger went as far as to play SEALS-based video games for days on end and even told Haney they’d make an age-exception for him if he wanted to join, but your best bet is to head over to their site and read the whole thing for yourself. 

Tiger might have dismissed questions about this last week, but the more information that comes out, the more he’s going to get the random reporter wondering just how far he was willing to take this idea before he finally snubbed it. 

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Category: Golf
Posted on: February 28, 2012 5:36 pm

Haney: Tiger considered becoming a Navy SEAL

Tiger shakes hands with members of the Armed Forces at the 2007 AT&T National. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

Judging by his brains, good looks and killer instinct, it seemed when Tiger Woods came into our lives he had the ability to be anything he wanted. Sure, he was a golfer since basically birth, but his larger than life persona made it seem like he could be a CEO, professional baseball player or even the president. 

But one of the things you probably didn’t expect to hear is that at one point, Tiger seriously considered becoming a Navy SEAL. 

Golf Digest has some excerpts from Hank Haney’s tell-all Tiger book, and one of the quotations from Hank says that Tiger once told him he seriously was considering leaving golf to join one of the most elite forces in our military. 

"Tiger was seriously considering becoming a Navy SEAL. I didn't know how he'd go about it, but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan....I thought, Wow, here is Tiger Woods, greatest athlete on the planet, maybe the greatest athlete ever, right in the middle of his prime, basically ready to leave it all behind for a military life."

As Mr. Wall points out, there isn’t exactly a time indicated in Haney’s quotes, but to say “the middle of his prime” meant that it had to have been when Woods was winning all those majors, not when his personal life was in shambles. 

That, in itself, is pretty incredible because it shows that Tiger really thought about doing this for no other reason than to serve his country. 

Tiger’s dad, Earl, was a Green Beret in the United States Army so it isn’t like Tiger didn’t have a military background, but it’s incredible to hear he even thought to do this with the level of fame and success he reached at this certain point. 

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Category: Golf
Posted on: January 19, 2012 4:01 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 6:20 pm

Woods: Haney wrote book for the payday

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Just days before he heads to the Middle East to collect an appearance fee, rather than play in the PGA Tour's event at Torrey Pines, Tiger Woods lashed out at his former swing coach and characterized him as a mercenary.

In an interview Thursday with ESPN, Woods said a new book set for release this spring, authored by former swing coach Hank Haney, was done for financial gain.

"I think it's unprofessional and very disappointing," Woods told ESPN.com, "especially because it's someone I worked with and trusted as a friend.

"There have been other one-sided books about me, and I think people understand that this book is about money. I'm not going to waste my time reading it."

That's hard to envision, since Woods reads practically everything written about him these days.

Haney coached Woods for six years as the former world No. 1 put together the most sustained and successful stretch of his career in terms of consistency. Haney titled the book The Big Miss a multi-faceted reference to wild tee shots and missed opportunities. Haney quit as Woods' coach in mid-2010 as Woods labored to overcome the scandal, swing and injury issues.

Though Haney said the book isn’t a tell-all, its release, set for shortly before the Masters, is sure to cause Woods even more discomfort just as the sports world largely seems to be letting go of the scandal-related issues.

Woods next week will play on the European Tour in Abu Dhabi, where he will receive an appearance fee, rather than play in the PGA Tour's event at Torrey Pines, where Woods has experienced incredible success, winning seven times, including the 2008 U.S. Open, his last major title.

Woods hasn’t won an official event since Haney quit. Despite the disappointment, Woods told ESPN that he was thankful for his time with Haney. With the release set before the season's first major, Woods is sure to be back under the microscope in at least some uncomfortable fashion yet again.

"I just think this book is very self-serving," Woods said.

Posted on: August 31, 2011 11:41 am
Edited on: August 31, 2011 1:28 pm

Mediate says Woods problem stems with coaches

NORTON, Mass. -- Rocco Mediate is rarely at a loss for words.

Sometimes, that's not a great thing.

The ever-loquacious PGA Tour veteran weighed in with his opinion on old pal Tiger Woods' travails in the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday and effectively trashed the fading former No. 1's last two swing coaches.

"I love the way he plays, but I'm disgusted with what's going on with him because it's sad for our game," Mediate said Tuesday. "A lot of guys are happy Tiger isn't playing well. I'm not. ...

"We need to have Tiger back at the top, because he's the draw. It's fantastic all these other kids are winning, but they're not Tiger Woods."


Mediate believes that Woods' new swing under new coach Sean Foley is putting too much stress on his body. By design, it's supposed to do just the opposite, by the way.

"The physical motion is wrong," Mediate told the newspaper. "To get that stress off his body is a piece of cake -- the guys working with him just don't know. Sean knows some stuff, but what's going on with Tiger is not correct. That's why he keeps breaking and that's why the ball keeps going sideways."

Wow, hard to know where to begin here. Mediate knows more about the golf swing than Foley, whose students include Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan, who both won twice last year? Mediate didn't leave out Hank Haney, Woods' former coach, either.

"Starting with Haney until now, it was a complete and absolute destruction," he said.

As an aside -- Woods was more consistent from week to week under Haney than at any point in his career. Haney has the incontrovertible data to back it up. Woods won 45 percent of his starts in their final three seasons together.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but no one is entitled to their own facts," Haney said in an email Wednesday.

Mediate said that if he was coaching Woods at this point, he might bow out.
"If it was me [as his coach], I would say to Tiger, 'Look, dude, I'm not helping you, you're getting worse. You've broken down three times and you've had 57 knee surgeries. It's not happening,'" Mediate said.

So, the assertion here is that none of Woods' issues are of his own making? Really? Recall that 13 months ago, after Haney quit as his coach, Woods hit rock bottom while flying solo at the Bridgestone Invitational, finishing one spot out of dead last, his worst 72-hole finish ever. He was lost and looking for a lifeline, and began working with Foley a week later.

Then there's the loss of his psychological edge, his crisis of confidence, his frequent and various injuries, the fact that his putting has been frequently ghastly, and that he hasn’t won on the U.S. tour in nearly two years. Woods beat Mediate in a 19-hole playoff to win his most recent major title, at the 2008 U.S. Open. Mediate is the defending champ at the Frys.com Open, where Woods will make his debut in a second-tier Fall Series event on Oct. 6.

If it were only as simple as the swing coach, Woods might have righted the ship by now.

Mediate lauded Woods' decision to play, although it might have been a condition of being added to the Presidents Cup team as an at-large pick. The U.S. team is captained by Fred Couples, who publicly asked Woods to add a tournament because he is ineligible to play in the current four-week FedEx Cup series.

"It just shows another side of him," Mediate said of Woods' commitment to the Fry's event. "He's trying to get better, trying to figure out his swing problem. When he gets his stuff together, he'll be No. 1 again and everything will be back to normal."

Normalcy and Tiger Woods? That not only would be welcome, it would represent a first.

Posted on: March 1, 2011 4:50 pm

Haney as confused about Tiger as we are

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- You are not alone.

Like most everybody, even some prominent former members of the Tiger Woods camp are perplexed about the state of the fallen world No. 1's game.

If not about its direction.

In fact, Hank Haney, Woods' swing coach for six dominant years, is posing the same queries that the rest of us are asking. A sampling of quick-n-easy ones spring to mind.

Where is he and why isn't he playing? What's the deal with the swing changes? What's taking so long to post decent results?

They sound all-too familiar.

"It's hard to micro-analyze golf," Haney said. "You can’t make too much of match play last week because it's one round and Torrey Pines was one tournament. I don't know if there has been enough of a sample size. Maybe he just needs to play more."

But, of course, he hasn’t.

It's already March, yet Woods has logged nine live rounds as the tour heads to the Honda Classic and kicks off the Florida Swing, the traditional gateway to the Masters, which begins April 7.

Sure, empires have been built in five weeks. Empires have crumbled in the same span. Haney, watching from afar like the rest of us after severing ties with Woods last May, is scratching his head just as often, too, as Woods sends forth obtuse messages that have caused more confusion than clarity. He is expected to play this month at Doral and Bay Hill, where he can log eight more rounds before the Masters.

Like others, Haney doesn’t understand why Woods keeps explaining that he needs more time and repetitions, yet hasn’t added any stars. After getting bounced in the first round of the Accenture Match Play last week, Woods didn’t play this week, citing unspecified commitments. He's never played at Tampa's Transitions Championship, either, and rarely deviates from his list of annual tournament favorites.

Thus, as time keeps ticking away, so does his stature on the global pegboard. Woods this week dropped to fifth in the world ranking, his lowest position since the week before he won the 1997 Masters, the first of his 14 major championship titles.

If you think his new swing looks foreign, so does his movement in the ranking -- backwards.

Two weeks ago, after reading reports that longtime confidant John Cook said that Woods had suddenly solved his offseason swing issues, Haney recalled a similar moment in their time together and predicted that Woods would win. Then he watched as Woods washed out in the Tucson desert, losing in 19 holes to underdog Thomas Bjorn.

"I get confused when I listen to everything, because everything seems contradictory," Haney said. "He says he needs more reps, but he doesn’t play any more? John Cook said he doesn’t really need to hit a lot of balls anymore, he just needs to play. But I thought he just needed more reps? More reps, but you don’t need to practice? What is it?"

What it isn't is pretty. Woods hasn't posted a win on the PGA Tour in 17 months and hasn’t mustered an official top 10 on American soil since the U.S. Open last June. He again skipped the Honda, played two hours from his Orlando home. If there's one thing we have learned over the course of Woods' 15 years as a pro, is that he views stubbornness as an attribute.  He's not going to add tournaments just because nearly everybody thinks that's what is best.

Note that we said nearly. Lee Westwood, who supplanted Woods as world No. 1 exactly 18 weeks ago, said playing more often might not work to Woods'  advantage at the moment. Westwood ought to know, having endured a slump several years ago in which he dropped out of the top 200.

"When I went through my bad patch, it was a juggling act to stay at home and practice and work on your game, or go out and play and risk maybe not playing well and taking another confidence knock," said Westwood, now No. 2 in the rankings. "It's very much, in situations like that, up to the individual.

"So Tiger has to do what he feels is right and not what everybody else feels is right, not what suits everybody else."

Forget suits, we might need straitjackets. Moreover, Woods himself might not know what's best at the moment. Given their time together, Haney wonders why it's taking so long for Woods to play at a level close to where he performed previously.

"The notion that it should take time, or should take a lot of time, I don’t really buy into the theory," said Haney, also a former analyst for ESPN and ABC Sports. "Once again, it's been contradictory. I thought things were coming along faster."

Who didn’t? Woods finished fourth against a thin field at the Australian Masters and was second in the short-field Chevron World Challenge last fall, but has been struggling to string together two good rounds since. Along the way, Woods pointed out that it took two years for swing changes ingrained under Butch Harmon to take hold, and 1 1/2 years for his work with Haney to congeal.

Not exactly true, Haney said. The longest that Woods went without recording a PGA Tour top 10 in their time together, which began during the Florida Swing in 2004, was three weeks -- their first three starts as teacher and client.

"That's what he says, but that's not what the record says," Haney said. "Maybe he is referring to how long it took to be confident or comfortable. There is no telling."

Woods is clearly grinding to find a sustainable rhythm on the course, if not some old magic. He took a half-dozen practice swings with a 3-wood on his extra hole against Bjorn last week at match play, then hit his tee shot so far into the desert, it took an aerial shot from the blimp to find it.

Interestingly, new swing coach Sean Foley's other high-profile clients, including Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan, aren't implementing the same moves into their swings and have shown improvement over the past couple of years. Woods, still in an awkward stage, looks like a high-dollar guinea pig of sorts.
"It does look different from them, definitely," Haney said. "Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan have very good-looking, classic swings. Tiger looks like he is trying to do something totally different from what they are doing, so it's confusing.

"Maybe it just needs more time. Not to defend myself, but I started in the middle of the year. He had a whole offseason here. Tiger never lost at Torrey Pines when I was helping him, so I was surprised he didn’t come out of the gate stronger, with a whole offseason to practice and being on arguably his favorite or most successful course. But it's just one tournament."

To be fair, unlike with Foley, Haney never had to deal with any of the residual blowback from Woods' personal issues, the impact of which can't possibly be measured by anyone not named Eldrick Tont Woods.

No longer in the Woods inner sanctum, Haney has kept pretty busy since he initiated the breakup  last May. The final episode of this season's Haney Project on the Golf Channel, with Rush Limbaugh as the high-profile pupil, is airing this week.

"He turned out to be a great student," Haney said of the talk-radio star. "For as big a talker as he is, he's a better listener. He is a great, great listener."

It's unclear what messages Woods is receiving, much less choosing to hear or ignore. Haney made it clear that he is pulling for his former pupil to get his act together and confident that it will happen eventually. It's the vague, eventual part that has Haney's eyebrows raised, just like the rest of us.

"Of course I want to see him do well, I want to see him figure it out," Haney said. "He is great for golf, and golf was better when he was playing great. He is somebody who has so much talent, it's hard to imagine him not playing good.

"I am sure he will right the ship -- he's just too good," Haney said. "Every time I watch him and he doesn’t win, it surprises me."

Talk about a paradox.

It's been 16 months since Woods' spiral first began. These days, the shock and awe, even on the course, no longer are reserved for when Woods is winning.

Category: Golf
Posted on: May 5, 2010 4:20 pm

Miller says Woods should heave Haney swing

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The collateral damage absorbed in the Tiger Woods camp over the arc of his off-the-course scandal has been considerable, with various employees and confidants being dragged into the mix over the past six months. On Wednesday, a new name was officially tossed into the conversational blender.

NBC Sports analyst Johnny Miller, speaking in a national teleconference to promote this week's broadcast of the Players Championship, said that Woods' work over the past six years with swing coach Hank Haney is no longer passing muster and that the world No. 1 should start over from scratch.

Anytime Miller begins a sentence with a qualifier that indicates what follows might be interpreted as brash, you can bet he has a bullet in the chamber that he's about to fire -- and that somebody better duck.

"It might be a little harsh, but I really believe he needs to, every night, watch the U.S. Open in the year 2000 at Pebble and just copy that swing and forget the Haney stuff," Miller said. "I mean, that was the best golf anybody has ever played in history.

"That's something he can copy, the tempo, the position at the top of the backswing, the follow-through position ... His tempo was much better then and he should literally say, 'I am turning back the clock and I am not going to think of anything and I can remember what I was working on then.'

"He needs a new, fresh, either teacher or just go back to what is natural to his game. What he is working on now, I believe is, no disrespect for Hank Haney, but it is not working. And sometimes when it is not working, sometimes you have to get off the fork in the road and get back to what brung you there and what won all these championships for him.

"He needs to do that and if he was here right now I would tell it right to his face."

We're guessing Woods and Haney will get wind of the comments regardless. Woods, working with Butch Harmon at the time, won the 2000 Open by 15 shots in what has roundly been called the greatest week-long performance of the modern era.

Haney, who tends to bristle when criticism of Woods' results is tossed about, will have a point if he objects to the Miller characterization that Woods' game has suffered. Last year, Woods posted the third-lowest scoring average of his career at 68.05 shots, despite coming off reconstructive knee surgery. Woods won six times last year worldwide.

Say what you want about Haney's swing teachings, but it seems premature to pin Woods' current struggles on the coach when Woods had played four live rounds in five-plus months before he missed the cut last week in Charlotte, N.C. Haney's not the reason that Woods took 144 days off between tournaments, or that his mental state is as fragile as a robin's egg and his game isn't much stronger.

Miller particularly noted that Woods' inability to put the ball in the fairway represents a huge hole in his arsenal.
"I have to believe he is a little rusty," said Miller, a Hall of Famer. "If you want to have a tough time, Tiger, before, hit a lot of balls to the right. When you get on a tee and you look left and that's not good and you look right and that's not good, it's like panic goes on.

"There's no clue [with Woods] as to where it's going. Then you top it off with the personal stuff and I don't think any of us can comprehend what he's battling there. I don't know the ins of what's going on but there is a lot of turmoil and you add that with a bad driver and it's quite a 1-2 punch.

"Most everybody in the golfing world wanted to be Tiger Woods not too long ago and now they are not sure. He's going through a tough time. To have the David Duval-type syndrome where your driver just leaves you, boy, that's a lonely place to be even if your home life is good."

Even for those us us who have been tough on Woods, that's a particularly rough appraisal.

Fellow analyst Gary Koch noted a red flag when Woods hockey-slapped at putts in his final round at both the Masters and Quail Hollow, an uncharacteristically reckless move that underscored apparent issues with concentration.

"I don't think it is anywhere near what it was before all this stuff happened," Koch said. "When was the last time you saw him halfway hit putts where he really didn't care if they went in or not? To me, that shows a mind that is not settled, not at ease and not at peace and out of his normal routine of how he goes about things."

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com