The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods
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Hank Haney's candid, surprisingly insightful account of his tumultuous six-year journey with Tiger Woods, during which the supremely gifted golfer collected six major championships and rewrote golf history. Hank was one of very few people allowed behind the curtain and observed Tiger in nearly every circumstance. There's never been a book about Tiger that is as intimate and revealing--or as wise about what it takes to coach a star athlete.
From 2004 to the spring of 2010, Hank Haney was Tiger Woods's coach, and Tiger was Haney's only client. In that period, Tiger won more than a third of the tournaments he entered and six of his fourteen major titles. Haney felt hugely honored to help Tiger with his swing, and he approached the job with intense absorption and attention to detail. Haney was with Tiger 110 days a year, spoke to him over 200 days a year, and stayed at Tiger's house up to 30 days a year--sometimes affording him more contact with Tiger than either the athlete's agent or caddy. Haney saw his student in nearly every circumstance: in the locker room; on the course; with his wife, Elin; and relaxing with friends. Haney was there through it all, observing how Tiger's public identity sometimes meshed awkwardly with the roles of husband and friend, and how the former child prodigy came to have a conflicted relationship with the game that made him famous.
medium rare. The waiter has just brought us our food when my cell phone rings. I’ve told my father I might be getting a call from Tiger sometime in the next few days but that I’m not really holding my breath. I don’t have Tiger’s number, but when I look down and see the 407 area code on my screen in front of a number I don’t recognize, my stomach jumps. “Excuse me,” I tell my dad, “I gotta take this call.” I walk quickly toward the entrance, and answer. “Hey, Hank,” I hear on my cell, “this is
against his own abilities. I say very straight, but aware of how odd it sounds, “I think your game is pretty good.” The next question isn’t a surprise. “What do you think I need to do better?” I’m in my wheelhouse now, and I tell him exactly what I’ve observed in him for over a year. “Looking from the outside, and not knowing everything, it looks like you’re working on a lot of great things,” I say. “It looks like you know a lot about the swing. But it’s hard for me to tell what your plan is.
a great mood. He had positive memories of the Old Course from winning the tournament by eight strokes in 2000, but beyond that, he loved that he was in the place where golf began. He has always called St. Andrews his favorite course and “the coolest place on earth.” He was very confident in his ball striking and hit just enough balls to keep his edge. What was different was the amount of time he devoted to his putting. The hardest Tiger ever practiced his putting at a tournament site while I was
“total rush” and “intense” that it was all a thrill. Tiger said that a three-day trip that was focused on parachuting might include as many as ten jumps a day. He’d jump solo or in tandem. Corey told me that Tiger once hurt his shoulder in a tandem jump when he smashed into his partner in midair. Tiger came back almost boastful from his firearms training, saying that he’d excelled in long-range marksmanship. He talked all about the different guns and how to allow for wind and the flight of the
After a few months, I was teaching in the Jacobs schools in the winter and Exmoor in the summer. In 1980, the Pinehurst resort asked the Jacobs people to teach at one of their schools. While we were at Pinehurst, their director of golf, Mike Sanders, asked me if I’d be interested in taking a permanent position as the head of instruction for the Pinehurst Golf Advantage Schools. I was 25 years old, single, really ambitious, and willing to work for a modest salary in the remote Sandhills of North