by Jeff Skinner
It is only the first week of the PGA Tour season and things are interesting already. Steve Stricker has a hefty lead at The Tournament of Champions and as the highest ranked player of the field he could possibly the most visible player in the field. To me he’s the reigning “America’s Sweetheart.” Yes, that title is usually reserved for Paula Creamer, but Stricker has to be her male counterpart. His middle America persona, genuine humility and sincerity make him a most likable player. Oh, and he is the highest ranked American in the world.
The polar opposite of Stricker is his frequent Ryder/Presidents Cup partner, Tiger Woods. Where Stricker is honest, Tiger is deceitful. Where Stricker is humble, Tiger still thinks he is the best. And this version of Tiger is just plain hard to like.
Now we may find more to either like or dislike about Tiger as Hank Haney has announced that he is close to completing “his book” on his years spent as Tiger’s swing coach.
Haney worked with Woods for six years while Tiger dominated golf for a good portion of that period. Haney and Woods parted after the 2010 Masters which was Tiger’s first tournament back from his disaster.
“I get asked all the time about Tiger, what it was like to work with him,” Haney said. “I felt like I had a front row seat to golf history. It just kind of chronicles a little bit of what I went through, what I dealt with, how I coached and the observations I made.
“I think there’s a lot of things that people are going to find interesting.”
He’s right, I would think that Haney would have plenty to say. Another interesting fact is that Haney has written the book with Jaime Diaz of golf Digest and Diaz had been one of the writers with the most access to Woods over the years.
For the most part during his time with Woods, Haney kept silent about Tiger as is the requirement of any in Tiger’s employ. But since they parted his tongue has been loosened and has not been hesitant to discuss Tiger or make a few bucks on the reputation earned while he was at Tiger’s side.
He calls the book “The Big Miss.” It has multiple meanings,” Haney said. “`The Big Miss’ was golf jargon. The big miss of a drive, obviously that’s been part of his game. The big miss of an opportunity? That’s really where we got the idea. It was a missed opportunity that Tiger and I had that we experienced working together. That all comes out in the book.”
It sounds like the Big Miss could also be applied to another part of Tiger’s life.