Hank Haney: Record pursuit taxed Tiger
Tiger Woods' quest to break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major championships weighed heavily on the former world No. 1 golfer, his former swing coach, Hank Haney, said in a book excerpt released Tuesday.
"There was more urgency and less fun. ... He never mentioned Nicklaus' record, but it started to weigh more heavily at every major," Hank Haney wrote in "The Big Miss," his book about his time coaching Woods. "And Tiger's actions indicated he believed he had less time to do it than everyone thought."
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.” -- Hank Haney on Tiger Woods
The book excerpt was released on GolfDigest's iPad app.
In the excerpt, Haney detailed Woods' extreme workouts and how they intersected with his fascination with the military.
"Tiger did two tandem parachute jumps, engaged in hand-to-hand combat exercises, went on four-mile runs wearing combat boots, and did drills in a wind tunnel," Haney wrote about four days Woods spent in special-ops training at Fort Bragg, N.C. "Tiger loved it, but his physical therapist, Keith Kleven, went a little crazy worrying about the further damage Tiger might be doing to his left knee.
"One morning I was in the kitchen when he came back from a long run around [his Orlando-area home at] Isleworth, and I noticed he was wearing Army boots. Tiger admitted that he'd worn the heavy shoes before on the same route. 'I beat my best time,' he said."
Woods grew up in a military family. His father, Earl Woods, was a Green Beret. According to Haney, Woods was seriously considering becoming a Navy SEAL, one of the military's most physically and mentally demanding units.
"I didn't know how he'd go about it, but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan," wrote Haney. "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."
"Based on the excerpts published today, Hank Haney's claim that his book is about golf is clearly false," Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said in a statement. "His armchair psychology about Tiger, on matters he admits they didn't even discuss, is ridiculous.
"Because of his father, it's no secret that Tiger has always had high respect for the military, so for Haney to twist that admiration into something negative is disrespectful. The disruptive timing of this book shows that Haney's self-promotion is more important to him than any other person or tournament. What's been written violates the trust between a coach and player and someone also once considered a friend."
Woods earned 57 top-10 finishes in 78 tournaments with 29 victories, including six major championship wins, after he started working with Haney in 2005. During their partnership, Woods finished worse than 30th only nine times, including missed cuts.
Haney's book goes on sale March 27, a week before the Masters.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.