Not-So-Perfect Ending

By Rex HoggardMay 12, 2010, 11:45 pm

As breakups go this one seemed tame by comparison. A split that seemed months in the making was muted by two parties singing off the same page regardless of whatever metaphorical wedge had sent them in separate directions.

Be it irreconcilable differences, the contempt of familiarity or the intensity of an unyielding spotlight, it was time for Tiger Woods and Hank Haney to call it a half decade. It’s best for Woods, who has appeared lost and lonely on the golf course in nine curious rounds this season, and for Haney, who has endured more scathing analysis than any swing coach in history. More than any swing coach deserves, that’s for certain.

The only disconnect in the Woods/Haney split is who pulled the plug. “It was my choice,” Haney has said. While Woods said in a statement on his website, “Hank Haney and I have agreed that he will no longer be my coach.” That doesn’t sound like a man who received a “it’s not you, it’s me” text late Monday.

But even that is window dressing to the larger picture.

Hank Haney
Tiger Woods won six majors while working with Hank Haney. (Getty Images)

Those who have questioned Haney’s work with the world No. 1 suggest Woods was not the dominant player he was pre-Haney and figure he won despite Haney’s teachings, not as a result of them.

Critics claim that since the two began working together in March 2002 Woods has not enjoyed the same type of dominant victories, like his 15-stroke masterpiece at the U.S. Open in 2000 or his 12-shot walkover at Augusta National in 1997, that he did when Butch Harmon was calling the shots.

Lost in that argument are the only numbers that count, however. In the half dozen years Haney and Woods worked together the pupil won 32 percent of his starts and 26 percent of the majors he played.

By comparison, Woods won 27 percent of his Tour starts under Harmon, who he split with in late 2002, and 30 percent of his Grand Slam at bats.

Statistically Woods slipped in driving distance under Haney’s tutelage, likely a byproduct of age and circumstance more so than a swing flaw, while – contrary to the anti-Hank company line – he improved his driving accuracy, from 56 percent in 2004 to a high of 67 percent in 2008, and greens in regulation.

There is no way to know what Woods could have accomplished without Haney along for the ride, but with him the resume is hardly pink-slip worthy (31 Tour titles and six majors).

Either way this spilt is best for everyone concerned. Haney is a quiet man who is passionate about the golf swing but proved to be ill-equipped to handle the scrutiny that comes with that coveted spot on the practice tee next to Woods. While Woods needs answers, direction – both on and off the golf course – and a clean bill of health.

All indications are Haney is relieved it is over.

Post-Haney the conversation has quickly turned to what, or who, is next for Woods?

Our best guess is Woods goes it alone, at least in the short term. Rebound relationships never last and it’s best to leave dysfunction to the professionals on Jerry Springer and NBA coaches.

In the year when Woods was “between” swing coaches (2003) he didn’t win a major but collected five Tour tilts. Depending on the results of this week’s MRI a similar year in 2010 could be a victory of form, if not function, for Woods but it remains to be seen if he even has five more starts in him this year.

Those who watch these types of things say Woods needs a hybrid between Haney and Harmon. A coach that doesn’t teach a method, which means that whoever takes over isn’t interested in a wholesale swing change, and someone he has good chemistry with. Those with thin skin need not apply.

Whenever Woods starts the search for a new set of eyes expect there to be a conversation like the one that Harmon had with Dustin Johnson late last month. Johnson had been working with Allen Terrell since he arrived at Coastal Carolina University as a freshman but the hard-hitting phenom recently decided he needed a change.

When Johnson visited Harmon the instructor laid two pictures out, one of Johnson and the other of Hamron’s father, famed instructor Claude, both at the top of their back swings. Both players had closed club faces at the top of their swings, and Harmon made it clear he was not interested in changing that, Johnson’s signature move.

Woods will need a similar epiphany before he signs on with anyone, and among the names that have surfaced early as potential replacements none would be considered “method” teachers.

Sean Foley – whose current clients include Sean O’Hair, a frequent practice-round partner for Woods, and Hunter Mahan – has been mentioned, as has Todd Anderson, whose stable includes Brandt Snedeker and long-time Woods friend Charles Howell III.

Contacted on Tuesday both coaches said they had not been approached by Woods or anyone within his camp about a possible meeting or partnership.

Woods may need direction more than ever right now, both on and off the course, but the measured man seems content with his own swing thoughts at the moment. As for Haney he walks away with 31 Tour titles and a six-pack of majors, but his most prized parting gift may be the anonymity that came with Monday’s text message.

It would be any swing coach’s dream to work with the best of a generation, maybe of all time. Not every dream, however, comes with a perfect ending.

Getty Images

LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

Woods' initial comeback short-lived, leads to another back surgery

Article: Woods undergoes "successful" fourth back surgery

Article: Woods (back spasm) withdraws from Dubai

Article: Players disappointed Woods withdraws from Dubai

Really, again: Tiger undergoes fourth back surgery

Begay on Tiger: Future is 'extremely uncertain'


Woods arrested for DUI, enters diversion program after getting "professional help"

Article: Woods arrested for DUI in May

Article: Police say Woods had 5 drugs in system when arrested

Article: DUI affidavit states Tiger asleep in parked car

Dashcam video released of Tiger's DUI arrest

Begay, Rolfing: Tiger's arrest needs to be wakeup call

Photos: Tiger Woods' car during DUI arrest

Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

Photos: Tiger Woods in court for DUI hearing

Article: Tiger gets 'professional help' for prescription meds

Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

Article: Woods pleads in court guilty to reckless driving


Woods goes from unsure of his pro golf future to resuming full golf activities

Article: Doctor clears Woods for full golf activity six months after back surgery

Article: Tiger doesn't know what future holds

Article: Woods back to making full swings

Woods admits he might never return to competition

Making progress: Breaking down Tiger's driver swing


Woods returns to competition for first time since February at Hero World Challenge

Article: Hero comeback a success for healthy Woods

Article: Woods discusses his back: 'No issues at all, none'

Tiger Tracker: Woods finished T-9 in return to competition

Chamblee: 'I was wrong' about some of my Woods skepticism

Tiger, if you were hurting, would you tell us? 'Yeah, I'd tell you'


Woods out and about in 2017

Article: Video, images of Tiger's round with Trump

Article: Woods posts photo as 'Mac Daddy Santa'

Article: Tiger at U.S. Open sitting in Nadal's box

Article: Shirtless Tiger holds up a massive lobster

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

NBC Sports' Coverage of LPGA Tour in 2017 Most-Viewed Season Ever for NBC Sports

By Golf Channel Public RelationsDecember 13, 2017, 8:45 pm

NBC Sports’ LPGA Tour Coverage Ties 2013 for Most-Watched Year Since 2011

NBC and Golf Channel Boast Top-6 Most-Watched Women’s Golf Telecasts in 2017

Beginning with the dramatic playoff finish at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in January and concluding with Lexi Thompson winning the $1 million Race to the CME Globe, nearly 22 million viewers tuned in to LPGA Tour coverage across Golf Channel and NBC in 2017. This makes 2017 the most-viewed LPGA Tour season across NBC Sports since Golf Channel joined the NBC Sports Group in 2011. Additionally, 2017 tied 2013 as the LPGA Tour’s most-watched year across NBC Sports since 2011. Coverage drew an average of 221,000 viewers per telecast in 2017 (+24% vs. 2016), according to data released by The Nielsen Company.

NBC SPORTS GROUP CLAIMS TOP-6 MOST-WATCHED WOMEN’S GOLF TELECASTS IN ‘17

For the first time ever in televised women’s golf, Sunday’s final round of the RICOH Women’s British Open (Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, 1.1 million viewers) delivered the most-watched and highest-rated women’s golf telecast of the year. NBC’s Saturday (Day 2) coverage of the Solheim Cup in August placed second with 968,000 viewers, followed by Sunday’s Solheim Cup coverage on NBC with 946,000 viewers. Golf Channel’s live coverage of Sunday’s final day of the Solheim Cup drew 795,000 viewers, the most-watched women’s golf event on cable in eight years.

Rank

Network

Event

Day

Avg. Viewers P2+

1

NBC

RICOH WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN

Sunday

1,100,526

2

NBC

SOLHEIM CUP

Saturday

968,202

3

NBC

SOLHEIM CUP

Sunday

946,387

4

NBC

KPMG WOMEN'S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

Sunday

839,983

5

NBC

RICOH WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN

Saturday

808,578

6

GOLF

SOLHEIM CUP

Sunday

795,000

ADDITIONAL VIEWERSHIP MILESTONES FOR WOMEN’S GOLF IN 2017

  • ANA Inspiration - The LPGA’s first major championship delivered thefifth most-watched LPGA final round in Golf Channel history with 551,000 viewers when So Yeon Ryu defeated Lexi Thompson in a playoff following Thompson being assessed a four-stroke penalty earlier in the final round.
  • KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – The LPGA’s second major was seen by 6.6 million viewers across Golf Channel and NBC, the largest audience for the event on record (2006-17). Sunday’s final round on NBC, which saw Danielle Kang win her first LPGA Tour event over defending champion Brooke Henderson, also was the most-watched telecast in the event’s history with 840,000 average viewers.
  • RICOH Women’s British Open – NBC’s Sunday coverage of the RICOH Women’s British Open delivered the most-watched and highest-rated women’s golf telecast in 2017 (.78 U.S. HH rating, 1.1 million viewers). In total, 7 million unique viewers tuned in to coverage across Golf Channel and NBC, the most-watched RICOH Women’s British Open in the past 10 years and the most-watched among the five women’s major championships in 2017.
  • Solheim Cup – Seen by a total audience of 7.3 million viewers across Golf Channel and NBC, the Solheim Cup posted the largest total audience for women’s golf since the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open on ESPN/NBC. Golf Channel’s live coverage of the final day drew 795,000 average viewers, becoming the most-watched women’s golf telecast on cable in the last eight years, since the final day of the 2009 Solheim Cup.

GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL POSTS RECORD STREAMING CONSUMPTION

Golf Channel Digital posted record numbers of LPGA streaming consumption with 11.9 million live minutes streamed across LPGA Tour telecasts in 2017 (+563% vs. 2016).

  • Solheim Cup – Three-day coverage of the Solheim Cup saw 6.3 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports’ Digital platforms, trailing only the 2016 Rio Olympics (9 million) as the most-ever for a women’s golf event airing on Golf Channel / NBC.
  • RICOH Women’s British Open – Four-day coverage of the RICOH Women’s British Open saw 2 million minutes streamed, +773% vs. 2016.

NBC Sports Group combined to air 31 LPGA Tour events in 2017 and a total of 420 hours of coverage, the most in LPGA history. The exclusive cable home to the LPGA Tour, Golf Channel aired coverage of four of five women’s major championships in 2017, with three majors also airing on NBC: the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, RICOH Women’s British Open and The Evian Championship. The biennial Solheim Cup also returned to network television for the first time in 15 years with weekend coverage on NBC.

Source: Nielsen 2017 Live+Same Day DVR vs. prior available data. Persons 2+ avg 000’s and/or Persons 2+ reach w/six-minute qualifier. Digital Metrics from Adobe Reports & Analytics. Details available.