Analyzing Hank Haney's 'The Big Miss'

By Rex HoggardMarch 27, 2012, 9:14 pm

Hank Haney's book, 'The Big Miss,' hit shelves Tuesday. It details Haney's six-year relationship as Tiger Woods' swing instructor, including professional and personal items. The team offers its take on Haney's book:


Perhaps there is an unspoken Hippocratic Oath between student and swing coach – something along the lines “do no harm nor dirty laundry” – but after wading through Hank Haney’s tome “The Big Miss” it seems that if the author is guilty of anything it is holding back during his six-year tenure as Tiger Woods’ swing coach.

Haney said the book, which was released on Tuesday, would offer a snapshot of his time with Woods and would not be a tell-all. By and large he followed the letter of that charter.

With startling frankness, Haney outlines a relationship that began awkwardly and ended with an anticlimactic thud at the 2010 Masters. It is at that last major together, the epicenter of Woods’ plummet from grace following the scandal of 2009, that Haney begins the book, describing Woods’ tie for fourth as, “my best job of short-term coaching ever.”

It is telling that even before Woods teed off for the final round at Augusta National Haney knew his relationship with the game’s alpha male was over and even allowed himself to fear for the worse.

“With the cold part of my mind that keeps any sadness momentarily walled off, I make the call. He’s become less of a golfer, and he’s never going to be the same again,” Haney wrote.

Some will likely scoff at that type of veiled arm-chair analysis, but it is nonetheless telling, like this passage that describes one of Haney’s first meetings with Woods, “. . . he was a little more innocent, a little less guarded, and a lot less cynical than he’d become.”

It’s also interesting to hear Haney’s extended take on the various swing-related issues he had with Woods, most notably the movement of his head to the right on the backswing, a sticking point which “would never get completely resolved.” As well as the lengths Woods went to protect his left knee, however it was injured.

Equally revealing is Haney’s revelation that, “Tiger played the driver with a lot of fear,” and, “I can now admit I never felt totally comfortable when Tiger was standing over a drive in competition.”

That draws a much different snapshot than Woods’ current reality. He ranks 14th on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy and is fresh off his first official victory in 30 months at Bay Hill.

But most of all, “Miss” offers an interesting, if not sometimes wonky and one-sided, glimpse into a complicated relationship and a man thrust into a difficult situation.

“He’d call me Henry. No one else, including my parents and sister, has ever called me that. It always made me feel good . . . Almost in spite of myself, I’d feel kind of touched,” Haney wrote.


Back when cell phones were used to actually call people, Hank Haney’s voice mail went something like this: “Leave a message after the tone, and if I feel like it, maybe I’ll get back to you.” It was vintage Haney charm — Hank’s way of stiff-arming the world with half a smile and half a growl. This and numerous other personality traits made Haney an ideal match as a swing coach for Tiger Woods. The only obligations either man felt were those they imposed on themselves.

In our dozens of conversations during the six years he worked for Tiger, Haney did an excellent job adhering to the company line, which meant giving up as little information as possible and projecting nothing but sunny days ahead in Camp Red Shirt. There was the odd gripe about a rusty short game or an unruly putter, but overall, Haney stood by his man and did his part to make the relationship work amid the avalanche of criticism aimed at both men for extended stretches.

Now I know better. In “The Big Miss,” Haney details the extraordinary levels of turbulence and uncertainty that made dealing with Woods such a chore. Those who question Haney’s motivation for writing the book — and violating the unwritten “code” between an instructor and a player — would do well to read it before rushing to judgment or offering presumptuous opinions on Haney’s integrity.

As a golf writer, I found this behind-the-curtain peek quite interesting, notably the chaos so prevalent in Tiger’s world, much of it due to fame and injury, and the eggshells everyone seemed to walk on when things weren’t going well. The good times should have far outweighed the bad, but one doesn’t necessarily get that sense in “The Big Miss.”

Everyone has problems, even guys with 14 major titles. Haney probably could have taken things even further if he’d chosen to be malicious, but the finished product here is revealing, insightful and honest. For better or worse.


Hank Haney's book of his six years with Tiger Woods is mistitled. It should be called 'The Big Compromise' rather than “The Big Miss.”

The Houston-based teacher depicts a clear clash in personality and conviction between he and Woods, made almost whole by significant concessions in their time together. Ironically, because their Great Compromise worked as well as it did, the end of their relationship was certain.

Woods bought into Haney’s philosophy, geared toward a more conservative style of play to continue winning and protect his health. Haney made small corrections to help the 14-time major winner avoid his biggest fears, sacrificing distance and aggression for shotmaking and confidence.

Not an easy student – always prone to tinkering, aiming to gain even an extra yard – Woods thrived from the structure Haney’s long-term plan provided. On the doorstep of Jack Nicklaus’ major championship record, Woods languished in myriad side interests that wrecked his marriage and, perhaps, his shot at winning 19 majors.

Haney understood, but struggled to accept, the cold-blooded persona Woods projected to maintain his edge over the golf world, seemingly feeling unappreciated by his student. Believing at the onset he could easily be cast aside, Haney eventually hoped he could be to Woods what Jack Grout was to Jack Nicklaus.

When push came to shove, of course, it was Haney who changed more for Woods. Haney ended their relationship, but the complete Woods story is still to be written – and unlikely to be ever told in full. 

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.