In his book “The Big Miss,” Hank Haney paints a picture of Tiger Woods portraying the 14-time major winner in a more human light than most believed.
In an excerpt of the book released in Golf Digest, Haney and co-author Jaime Diaz share revelations about Woods, his professional pursuits and personal obsessions.
As had been surmised in the past by observers like Johnny Miller, Woods took special care of his oft-injured left knee in how he swung the golf club.
'To preserve his knee, Tiger wanted some flex in his left leg at impact,' Haney explained.
The stance left Woods – as he is now – susceptible to a pull-hook as his big miss. Woods, however, has tried to make his more consistent miss the result of leaving the clubface slightly open.
As their relationship continued, Woods pulled closer to Jack Nicklaus and winning 18 major championships. Haney believed Woods’ self-applied pressure mounted as he got closer.
Though Woods has publicly maintained his confidence in catching the Golden Bear, Haney writes, “(Woods) never mentioned Nicklaus' record, but it started to weigh more heavily at every major. And Tiger's actions indicated he believed he had less time to do it than everyone thought.'
Off the course, Woods seemed less concerned with his knee and perhaps sought an escape in military-style training - including a four-day simulated boot camp at Ft. Bragg, N.C., which was cause for concern with Woods’ trainers.
Perhaps motivated to somehow follow in the footsteps of his father, Earl, Haney said Woods – at least at one time - wanted to pursue becoming a Navy SEAL.
'I didn't know how he'd go about it, but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan,” Haney wrote. “I thought, Wow, here is Tiger Woods, greatest athlete on the planet, maybe the greatest athlete ever, right in the middle of his prime, basically ready to leave it all behind for a military life.'