Haney: Como has it easier than predecessors

By Jason SobelNovember 22, 2014, 8:20 pm

Hank Haney doesn’t just know Chris Como. No, the man announced Saturday as Tiger Woods’ newest swing instructor formerly worked at one of Haney’s facilities in the Dallas area.

There is more than a fair amount of irony in that connection, as Haney is the ostracized former coach who helped Woods to six major championship victories before their split in 2010, which was followed by a book detailing the inner workings of their relationship.

Asked whether he could – or would – offer any advice to Woods’ fourth swing coach of his professional career, Haney declined.

“I wouldn’t talk to him,” he said. “There’s not really any advice you can give anybody. You’ve just got to try to do the best job you can do. He knows what to do. He’s a teacher; he’s a coach. It’s harder than it looks, but I think everyone realizes that now.”

Coaching the game’s most highly scrutinized player might be harder than it looks, but Haney believes the newest instructor in this role will have it easier than any of his predecessors. 

“This is the easiest situation that any coach has been in,” he insisted. “You couldn’t coach Tiger and have a friendlier scenario than Chris Como has. Look at the record Tiger had with Butch [Harmon]; I was following that. Look at the record Tiger had with me; Sean [Foley] was following that.

“Let’s face it: The expectations are not super high at this point.”

That notion might work to Como’s benefit, but Haney said he believes the lack of a lengthy resume will hurt the 37-year-old.

Woods names Como No. 4 swing coach

Foley's advice for Como: Enjoy the ride

“The hard thing with Tiger is that he’s not your average student. You may have great, great information, but to deal with somebody like Tiger, I think experience helps you, too. That’s something we’ve seen. I had a lot of experience and Butch had a lot of experience, and both of us were really successful. It remains to be seen whether someone with great knowledge and information but less experience can get through to someone like Tiger Woods.”

That lack of experience will mean that Como will find himself in a new position, thrust into the public spotlight much like the three Woods instructors before him.

Haney insisted that the best thing the new coach can do is to ignore the critics.

“It’s really irrelevant,” he said of the attention. “It doesn’t change how you coach, doesn’t change how anything happens, doesn’t change anything that shapes how you coach one way or another. You hear the negative comments, but everyone gets a little bit of a honeymoon. You always start off any relationship thinking, ‘I can get this job done; he just needs some better information,’ then you realize it’s a little more complicated than you thought.”

Haney said he thinks there are some very obvious flaws in Woods’ game which need to be fixed.

“When it’s all said and done, it boils down to two things: Did he find a swing that’s easier on his body? And does he find a cure for that driver? If you’re going to return to No. 1 in the world, you’re going to have to hit that driver – and that’s the big question mark.”

Even if Woods’ relationship with Como succeeds, Haney doesn’t believe they can duplicate his previous achievements.

“Tiger is at a point in his career where I don’t care what kind of information he gets, for him to have a year like 2000 or a stretch when I worked with him, it’s probably not realistic to think that’s going to happen.”

Getty Images

Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”