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Tiger Woods denies claims he considered denies claims he considered joining Navy SEALS

Tiger fires back at Haney over claims he considered quitting golf to become Navy SEAL

The first excerpt from an eagerly awaited new book on Tiger Woods provoked fury in the golfer's camp.

But the snippet in former coach Hank Haney's memoir that sparked the trouble wasn't about Woods' womanising but the claim that Tiger, at the height of his powers, supposedly considered relinquishing his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus's majors record in order to become a Navy SEAL.

Woods' manager Mark Steinberg called it 'disrespectful' and 'ridiculous', and the former world No 1 had a feisty exchange with one reporter who had the temerity to ask questions about the book during a press conference for the Honda Classic, which begins in Florida on Thursday.

On the course: Tiger Woods at PGA National on Wednesday ahead of the Honda Classic

On the course: Tiger Woods at PGA National on Wednesday ahead of the Honda Classic

Steinberg issued a statement saying:
'Haney's 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 into something negative is disrespectful.'

Yet, Steinberg's outrage is undermined by his client's past comments.

Haney wrote: '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 of all time,
basically ready to leave it all behind for a military life.'

Is this really that different from
the press conference thoughts of Woods two years ago, when he spoke of
the time he had spent on special ops training

Military man: Former world No 1 Woods in 2004 arriving at a golf clinic in Fort Bragg on a humvee

Military man: Former world No 1 Woods in 2004 arriving at a golf clinic in Fort Bragg on a humvee

'I've always wanted to be a SEAL,'
said Tiger, back then. 'That's something I told my dad from the get-go.
Either I'm going to become a professional golfer or I'm going to become a
Navy SEAL. A lot of my friends are special ops operators.'

Perhaps a more interesting revelation
is when Haney is playing the role of psychologist – as Steinberg knows
full well, it is part of the role of any good coach – and throwing cold
water on Woods' reputation at the time for being fearless.

'The more I observed him the more it
became clear that he wasn't,' writes Haney. 'Sometimes, to make it less
of a big deal, he would remind himself that he had never considered
himself a particularly good driver. “That's why my name is Woods,” he
would joke. “Maybe it would have been different if my name had been
fairway”.'

One of the greats: Woods

Tiger's former coach: Hank Haney

Career change: Woods was ready to leave golf for the Navy SEALS, according to former coach Haney (right)

Haney also reveals the pressure Woods feels in trying to catch Nicklaus's all-time record of 18 majors (he currently has 14).

'He never mentioned Jack's record but
it was clear it weighed heavily with every major,' reckons Haney. 'And
Tiger's actions indicated he had less time to do it than everyone
thought.'

There was one final blast from Steinberg.

'The disruptive timing of this book
shows that Haney's self-promotion is more important to him than any
other person or tournament,' he said.

'What's been written violates the
trust between a coach and player and someone also once considered a
friend.' Haney's book, The Big Miss, is released on March 27 – eight
days before the start of the Masters.

In action: Tiger Woods hits from the sand during a pro-am before the Honda Classic on Wednesday

In action: Tiger Woods hits from the sand during a pro-am before the Honda Classic on Wednesday

Tiger Woods considered quitting golf and joining Navy SEALS

Tiger wanted to be a SEAL! Woods thought about quitting golf for military, claims Haney

Tiger Woods was considering abandoning golf and joining the Navy SEALS, former coach Hank Haney has claimed.

The 36-year-old has won 14 majors, four short of Jack Nicklaus' record, but Haney insists Woods would have turned his back on the sport to join the military.

Haney even claims Woods had told him the Navy SEALs would 'make a special age exception' for him given their upper age limit is 28.

On the course: Tiger Woods at PGA National on Wednesday ahead of the Honda Classic

On the course: Tiger Woods at PGA National on Wednesday ahead of the Honda Classic

Writing in his book, 'The Big Miss',
excerpts from which appear in the April edition of Golf Digest, Haney
said: 'Wow! Here is Tiger Woods, the 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.'

Woods' father Earl had been in the Army Special Forces and served in Vietnam.

Military man: Former world No 1 Woods in 2004 arriving at a golf clinic in Fort Bragg on a humvee

Military man: Former world No 1 Woods in 2004 arriving at a golf clinic in Fort Bragg on a humvee

In 2004, Woods took part in four
days of special-operations training in Fort Bragg which included
hand-to-hand combat exercises, four-mile runs wearing combat boots,
parachute jumps and drills in a wind tunnel.

His attendance at these camps
increased and shortly before the 2006 US Open Haney revealed he had sent
Woods an email saying: 'You need to get that whole SEALs thing out of
your system and stick to playing Navy SEAL on the video games.

One of the greats: Woods

Tiger's former coach: Hank Haney

Career change: Woods was ready to leave golf for the Navy SEALS, according to former coach Haney (right)

'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 those games some more. That Navy SEAL stuff is serious business. They use real bullets.'

In action: Tiger Woods hits from the sand during a pro-am before the Honda Classic on Wednesday

In action: Tiger Woods hits from the sand during a pro-am before the Honda Classic on Wednesday

However, Woods attended such camps more frequently, although Haney claimed the extent of his visits were hushed up in the belief there would be a media frenzy.

Haney added: 'When I later learned the full truth about the dangerous exercises that Tiger engaged in with the SEALs, it caused me to question whether the greatest golfer the game has ever seen severely hampered his chance at surpassing one of the most revered marks in all of sports – Jack Nicklaus' record – because of his fascination with the military.'