Tiger He's cheap, petty and ruthless, claims former coach Haney
23:50 GMT, 22 March 2012
Obsessive: Tiger Woods
Sportsmail has been given a sneak preview of the book set to shock the sporting world by lifting the lid on the real Tiger Woods. In The Big Miss, former coach Hank Haney admires Tiger the golfer but is shocked by Woods the man…
What is Tiger Woods really like His former coach Hank Haney believes
this to be the most unsatisfactorily answered sports question of the
last 20 years.
In The Big Miss, the most eagerly-anticipated golf book to be published
for at least that long and which hits the streets next week, he becomes
the first man to step outside Tiger's inner circle and offer an honest
It is hardly surprising the Woods camp are incandescent with rage. Haney
believes Tiger to be the best golfer who ever lived. But cheap, petty,
ruthless and selfish are also words he uses to describe him.
There has never been a golf book that
has divided opinion quite like this one. The juicy bits drip-fed on to
Golf Digest's website with all the salacious relish of a red-top has led
to other players recoiling with horror. They feel the relationship
between player and coach is akin to the pact of confidentiality any
doctor undertakes with a patient.
Perhaps it is just as well that Haney has no intention of working with another tournament pro. The feeling is mutual.
Happy days: Hank Haney (left) and Tiger Woods
The tit-bits released suggested Haney had
undertaken the project as an exercise in revenge for the ending of
their six-year partnership in 2010. But the book does not read like
At 250 or so pages it is not long and
vast screeds are spent analysing Woods's swing. But it is the insights
in between that offer the most value. Haney does not hide his admiration
for Woods the golfer, nor his alarm at Tiger the dysfunctional human
The most jarring sentence in the whole book is the startling revelation
that not once during their time together did the pair have a substantive
conversation about anything but golf.
Long emails from Haney are routinely ignored. A 'no television' rule
introduced by Tiger's ex-wife Elin at meal-times fails to elicit the
desired effect of dinner conversation. Time and again Woods goes to the
fridge for a popsicle without ever once asking Haney if he'd like one.
Then there is the golfing obsessive. A man who spends more than four
hours looking at his swing in a mirror; who replies to the doctor who
has told him he has a broken leg and his anterior cruciate ligament is
about to snap: 'Just patch me up doc. I've got a US Open to win. I can
deal with the pain.'
Given there is no common bond between them but their chosen sport, it is
easy to take Haney at his word that he knew nothing about Tiger and his
extra-marital affairs. He was not there at the 2009 Open at Turnberry
when Elin was supposed to have shown up unannounced and the pair had a
blazing row because Haney was going through a divorce of his own.
There is a poignant scene when Woods decides to go back to work
following his celebrated mea culpa in February 2010 and they meet on the
practice ground. Elin is there, too, with their two small children.
Haney writes: 'After a bit of small talk about how the kids were
growing, she gave a wave and said she was taking them to a playground.
After she left, Tiger was visibly relieved.'
The end for Haney came about the same time as the marriage. When it was
over he could reflect on the six majors they won and a better overall
winning percentage than Woods had enjoyed during his more celebrated
period with Butch Harmon.
Happier times: Woods and ex-wife Elin Nordegren
What is Tiger Woods really like Ultimately, Haney answers the question
with an unflinching page where he talks about 'the package', the sum of
all Woods's qualities, both good and bad.
'Those qualities, foremost among them an extraordinary ability to focus
and stay calm under stress, also included selfishness, obsessiveness,
stubbornness, coldness, ruthlessness, pettiness and cheapness,'
'When they were all at work in the competitive arena, they helped him
win. And winning gave him permission to remain a flawed and in some ways
The Big Miss will be just that among the players. But there is plenty to
interest anyone with a fascination about perhaps the most talked-about
sportsman of the age.