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Woods Haney Staying in Touch

Among other things, during a prolonged vacation with no formal golf that is less than a month old, Tiger Woods has either been skiing or chilling on his yacht.
I would suspect, a source close to Woods told me, that will continue for a while.
Woods last event was the Presidents Cup late last month in Montreal. His next scheduled appearance isnt until mid-December when he will host the Target World Challenge in California.
Meanwhile rumors of the demise of Woods professional relationship with teacher Hank Haney remain greatly exaggerated.
I am still on the payroll, Haney declared earlier this week.
Haney and Woods have spoken by phone frequently since the Presidents Cup. Woods has not gotten the itch to start practicing again. When he does, Haney said, I am sure we will put in some good work.
Haney has been spending much of his time with his wife, Jerilynn, who is successfully recovering from an illness. He also has been focusing a lot of his attention on his IJGA Academy in Hilton Head, S.C.

Haney, who is understandably sensitive to criticism that Woods has become less accurate with the driver in his hand since the two began working together, has put together a stack of statistics that chart Woods progress over the last five years.
Haneys research shows Woods is 9.1 yards longer off the tee than he was five years ago while losing just 6.67 per cent in driving accuracy. World No. 2 Phil Mickelson, by comparison, is 9.2 yards longer but has lost 9.57 per cent in accuracy.
Most improved, among the top players on Haneys chart, are Ernie Els (+18.5 yards and -7.01 per cent in accuracy) and Adam Scott (+14.3 yards and -2.87 per cent in accuracy).
Do you think you could make the case that Tiger is one of the straightest, longest hitters in the game today? Haney asked. Then again, we all know that despite how much everyone wants to talk about accuracy, it doesnt mean a lot.

An examination of the driving statistics for the players currently 1-10 in the Official World Golf Ranking is, arguably, even more favorable to Woods than Haneys data.
Three things:
  • First, nobody currently in the world top 10 is averaging more yards off the tee than Woods.
  • Second, only three players currently in the world top 10 (Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and K.J. Choi) have been more accurate off the tee this year than Woods.
  • Third, nobody currently in the world top 10 is ranked higher in total driving than Woods.
    For the record, Woods currently ranks 14th in driving distance on the PGA TOUR at 302.4 yards and 149th in driving accuracy at 59.83 per cent. He is tied for 49th in total driving with Chris Tidland.
    Chris Tidland currently sits at the No. 402 spot in the world rankings, which is part of the reason Haney also has little use for the formula that determines total driving.

    The Fall Series has been a boon to the Mercedes-Benz Championship, adding recent winners Mike Weir, Justin Leonard and Chad Campbell to the field for the event that will kick off the 2008 PGA TOUR schedule.
    Mike is always a big draw with Canadian fans here, said tournament chairman Gary Planos. He gets galleries as big as anyone. Particularly in recent times now that the Canadian dollar has improved against the U.S. dollar.
    Meanwhile, there has been something of a buzz from those who think Planos field should and could be bigger. Right now there are 33 players who have qualified for the 2008 edition.
    It has been suggested that getting more players in the field would offset the occasional absence of World No. 1 Tiger Woods and the repeated absences of World No. 2 Phil Mickelson.
    We like our format, Planos said, adding that no change is expected.
    Meanwhile Planos reports the greens on the back nine of the Bay Course at Kapalua will be completely renovated for the LPGAs 2008 debut at Kapalua. The Kapalua LPGA Classic will be the third Hawaii event on the LPGAs schedule next year.

    Jay Williamson, safe for next year at more than $825,000 in earnings, has received a sponsors exemption for next weeks Fall Series closer at Disney.
    His caddie, for the entire tournament, will be Golf Channels own Kraig Kann in a kind of self-styled bagmans busmans holiday.
    Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt