by Jeff Skinner
Sometime breakups work out, sometimes they don’t. The Tiger Woods/Hank Haney relationship ended poorly and even though both sides tried to gloss it over with the “time to move on” and “needed a change” story it wasn’t a pretty ending. Hank has done himself a disservice the past months with his critique of Tiger and his new coach, Sean Foley. Before the breakup, Haney rarely spoke out of turn and never offered any inside info on Tiger. Since they’ve parted he has been quick to talk about anything Tiger on every opportunity.
Haney takes another shot at Woods in April’s Golf Digest. He names Phil Mickelson as the favorite at The Masters this year. Maybe he’s right, maybe Phil should be the favorite. But the people who make money on those things, Ladbrokes the worldwide sportsbook, has Phil and Tiger both listed as 8-1 to win at Augusta. Maybe Hank thinks Tiger has no chance, could be, but I think it’s just another petty, cheap shot at his old boss.
Here’s Haney’s take on what it takes to win The Masters now.
THE NEW MASTERS PROTOTYPE
I used to think the prototypical Masters champion was a long-driving, right-to-left player who could hit the ball high. But with all the changes to the course — and to equipment — I now think there’s a new model. The left-hander.
Lefties have won four of the last eight Masters (Mike Weir in 2003 and Phil Mickelson in 2004, ’06 and ’10). Augusta is actually a very tight golf course now, and all the extra length and control-killing rough makes it hard for even the biggest hitters to automatically reach the par 5s in two. New drivers have made it much easier to cut the ball and still hit it a long way. A high, hard cut is the ideal tee shot on Nos. 2, 5, 9 and 13 — if you’re left-handed.
Because of this advantage for lefties — and because shots near the green are so important — it’s no surprise that Mickelson is the favorite again this year.