Hank Haney, the former swing coach for the world’s former number one player Tiger Woods, says that while under his tutelage, his ex-client “seriously” considered joining the military, was terrified of using his driver, and became increasingly anxious as he closed in on Jack Nicklaus’ record.
Excerpts from Haney’s new book “The Big Miss,” were revealed by Golf Digest today, and they paint Woods as conflicted and insecure in recent years as he struggled to overcome a knee injury. That injury, Haney says, caused Woods to change his swing, leading towards a tendency to hit nasty hook shots. Haney also claims Woods did not care for his knee as he should have, engaging in brutally difficult boot-camp type workouts because he “loved” them, which drove his physical therapist “a little crazy.”
As Woods approached Jack Nicklaus’ record eighteen career major championships in 2007, Haney says, “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.”
Perhaps the oddest revelation from Haney’s book, however, is his contention that Woods gave deep thought to 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.”
Haney coached Woods for six years, during which the golfer won six major championships and thirty-one times on the PGA Tour. “The Big Miss” will be officially released on March 27. Woods has denounced the book as “unprofessional and very disappointing.”
UPDATE (2/29/12 at 2:16PM):
Tiger had this testy exchange with a reporter when asked about the Navy SEAL thing at a press conference today at the Honda Classic.