Tigers Teacher Peppered by Youthful Questions
'Every single person asked a question about Tiger Woods,' Haney said this week.
Haney, who helped groove Woods' swing the past 3 1/2 years, took over last month as the academy's director of instruction, hopeful he can bring some of what he's taught Tiger to a new generation of ball strikers.
When academy officials wondered if Haney, 52, wanted to squeeze in teaching 160 or so juniors while refining Woods' swing, running a Dallas golf instruction business and heading up the ESPN Golf Schools, Haney made one request: He wanted to dive in full time.
'If I'm going to do this, I want to be involved a meaningful amount of time with the kids,' Haney said. 'I'm not interested in just putting my name on something.'
Haney has already purchased a house here and figures his plan to spend at least two days a month at the academy will grow over time.
'I like teaching kids,' Haney said.
Academy students and teachers were thrilled that Woods' swing coach will work with them. 'I get goose bumps talking about it,' said Matt Fields, the academy's assistant director.
Haney has a long connection with Woods. He taught Woods' junior golf friends, the Kuehne kids -- LPGA player Kelli, 1998 U.S. Amateur champ Hank, and 1994 U.S. Am runner-up Trip. Haney was SMU's golf coach while Woods played at Stanford and perhaps most importantly, Haney taught Woods' pal and two-time major champion, Mark O'Meara.
'Mark was obviously the one that really made my career go,' Haney said. 'I probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to help Tiger' if not for O'Meara.
Haney doesn't expect his time with Woods to conflict with his new duties.
The revamped PGA TOUR schedule and FedExCup competition ends with the TOUR Championship in mid-September, about the start of the academy's school year. And Haney's association with ESPN schools ends after this year.
A good working schedule with Woods should also leave Haney ample time for the juniors, some of whom pay as much as $47,000 a year to live, go to school and train at the academy's facility on Hilton Head Island.
Haney worked with students Monday and Tuesday before joining Woods for a week of British Open prep work.
'Tiger's like the best player and he (Haney) can still get him to improve,' said 17-year-old Jenny Feng from China, at the academy the past four months. 'He'll really make us improve, too.'
Haney plans to review each student's form every month. One of Haney's gifts, he says, is sizing up someone's game after watching one swing. A video center at his Dallas facility will make podcasts and Web-based instruction available to the juniors 'even when I'm not with them.'
Haney takes over for Gary Gilchrist, who left to spend more time working with his pro students, including recent LPGA Championship winner Suzann Pettersen.
Academy founder Ray Travaglione said he's faced many difficult decisions since starting the venture 12 years ago. 'This was not one of them,' he said, chuckling.
Haney's not sure he'll find the next Tiger on the academy's practice green, but he's certain he can improve students' prospects -- on and off the course.
'The thing I always talk about is golf is the best vehicle there is for young people to learn life skills,' Haney said.
Haney hasn't stopped learning, either. During a recent visit, Haney's game impressed Woods.
'Wow, where'd you get that?' Haney recalled the world's No. 1 player asking.
'I'm not blind,' Haney says, 'I'm watching what you're doing.'
Woods has long shown a willingness to accept instruction, something Haney expects to see out of his new students.
Woods 'doesn't care about what he's done. He doesn't care about where he's been. He doesn't care about how good he is. He only cares about, 'What do I need to do today to be better than I was yesterday,'' Haney said.
'That's his whole philosophy,' Haney continued. 'When you think about it, that's every kid at our academy.'
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18