REVIEW: The big miss: my years coaching Tiger Woods

Book by Hank Haney

The big missBetween 2004 and 2010, few people spent more time with Tiger Woods than his swing coach, Hank Haney. After hours on the driving range, day after day, teacher and student would spend hours more inside Tiger’s Florida mansion, dissecting their sessions. Many nights, Haney stayed for supper. “When we were watching television after dinner, he’d sometimes go to the refrigerator to get a sugar-free popsicle,” he writes. “But he never offered me one or ever came back with one.”

In those days, of course, Tiger was still the god of golf, his serial sex addiction a closely guarded secret. Haney insists he had no idea that his star pupil was leading a double life. But in hindsight, those popsicles offered a tiny clue. “It was that quality of paying attention only to his own needs that was so central to his ability to win,” Haney continues. “Winning gave him permission to remain a flawed and in some ways immature person.”

Haney is hardly perfect, either. Once a core member of Tiger’s inner circle, he chose to write his tell-all memoir only after Woods’s world collapsed—and to release it during Masters week, the biggest tournament of the year. And at times, he seems even more petty and self-absorbed than his former friend, poring through stats to prove that he was the best coach Woods ever had. “He’s become less of a golfer,” Haney concludes, “and he’s never going to be the same again.”

Still, for those who can’t read enough about Tiger’s fall from glory, there is plenty. Woods was a famously terrible tipper who thought “it was funny to be cheap.” He was obsessed with the U.S. Navy SEALs, so much so that he may have suffered his most serious knee injury while training with the elite special forces unit. And in 2006, while rooming with fellow tour pro Zach Johnson—a devout Christian—Tiger found it amusing to order the hotel’s 24-hour porn station. “It was so funny watching him acting like everything was normal,” Woods later told Haney. “I got him pretty good.” With his book, Haney has done the same.




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