Hank Haney served as Tiger Woods' swing coach from 2004-2010, helping to guide him to six of his 14 major championships. He also had a first-hand perspective as Woods battled multiple injuries, and in light of Woods' withdrawal Tuesday from the Masters, Haney explained that ominous signs began to appear in recent weeks.
"Obviously, we knew something was wrong," Haney told Golf Channel. "When I didn't hear that he was practicing, then I thought the Masters wasn't looking too good no matter what. But obviously this is a much bigger setback than even one tournament."
Back spasms forced Woods to withdraw from the Honda Classic last month, and he was unable to defend his title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks ago. In his statement, Woods detailed that the injury will now force him to miss "the next several weeks" as he begins rehab following microdiscectomy surgery.
Haney believes that when Woods does return to competition, he will likely do so after making further alterations to his swing.
"Knowing the way he thinks and reacts, he's going to find the easiest way that he can to swing with his back, which will probably mean he makes some changes to his swing," Haney said. "He'll make adjustments. He's good at that; he's not scared to change. He's not scared to try something different."
While he has been critical of Woods at times since the two parted ways, Haney believes that the 38-year-old will be able to resume his quest to catch and surpass Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles - that is, assuming his body cooperates.
"The real question is, will he have the desire to practice, put in the work, and will his body allow him to do it? I think those are the two issues," Haney said. "If he gets out there and he has the ability to practice and he does put in the time, I don't have any doubt that he's going to continue to play great golf."