Tiger Woods saga continuesWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Last week one of the leading golf coaches in the nation, Hank Haney, resigned as Tiger Woods’s personal swing coach.
Tiger, as everyone knows, is not having much fun on or off the golf course at the moment and is playing some of the worst golf of his career.
Someone has to take the blame in a situation like this, and it evidently falls to the golf coach to “take one” for the team.
Hank Haney is a true gentleman and one of the most respected people in the golf world. His credentials in teaching the fine art of golf are above reproach.
His statement released to the press since his resignation praises Tiger’s work ethic and attention to detail. Haney has said and done all the right things.
It became very evident that Haney was probably on his way out when he wasn’t on the scene carefully watching over his star pupil at Quail Hollow or The Players’ Championship.
The press began a “firing watch” and when Tiger didn’t really do anything to squelch the innuendo, Haney decided enough was enough, and tendered his resignation.
Tiger’s problems on the course stem more from his lack of playing competitive events on the tour than coaching problems.
Haney’s coaching wasn’t a problem in 2009 while Tiger was winning 7 tournaments worldwide and finishing in the top ten in 15 of 17 starts. He has only played in three events in 2010.
Missing the cut at Quail Hollow, withdrawing in the fourth round at the Players’, due to a neck injury, and a T-4 at the Masters in April have been the results of those three outings.
I would imagine Tiger’s marital and business problems have something to do with his poor play too.
Compare Haney’s situation to Phil Jackson coaching Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, when the Bulls or the Lakers win under Jackson, it is the star athletes who receive the praise and adulation.
But when those teams lose, it is the coach’s fault. I haven’t noticed Haney missing all those fairways, casually swatting at short putts, and quitting at the end of rounds.
I have seen some things in Tiger Woods’ play recently that disturbs me.
In all the years that I have followed him, I have never seen him quit as he did on the last few holes at Quail Hollow.
Missed tap in putts, uninspired approach shots to the green, errant shots into the water, and slumped shoulders demonstrate a general lack of enthusiasm for the game and maybe for even his current station in life.
He has missed only 6 cuts in his 13 year professional career and has held the #1 Official World Golf Ranking for over 599 weeks. In all those tournaments over all those years I have had the greatest respect for the importance that he placed on every shot and making every cut. He is nowhere near that same person right now.
Maybe in the grand scheme of things that is a good thing. Maybe he was too focused, too intent on being the best golfer ever. As we all know each of us has an ability to concentrate on just one thing for so long.
For the mass of the American people our attention span is about 5 minutes. If we can’t have instant access to a greasy triple-decker cheeseburger, our favorite television show, or a foamy mocha chino latte, we go into a snit that resembles a 2 year old screaming for his favorite binky.
Maybe Tiger does need a complete change of scenery. Is long time caddie, Steve Williams, the next to go?
Tiger’s number one goal since he was a kid is to amass more major golf titles than Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major trophies.
Tiger is 35 years old and is currently at 14 majors and holding. These next few years should be the most productive of his life. The statement has been made that the first 14 major titles were the easiest.
As Tiger ages, injuries become more of a factor, the body tends not to heal as fast or be as flexible and responsive as it was at 25.
The personal problems that he is dealing with seem to have affected him mentally and drained him of his competitive fire.
All of these add up and something that once seemed inevitable, the task of overtaking Nicklaus, now becomes somewhat questionable.
I sincerely hope that Tiger gets healthy, both physically and mentally. I miss the twirled golf club after one of his massive drives, the incredible shot making ability, the intense focus over a 5-foot putt, and the fist pumping. The fans, tournament sponsors, and the other players, all need him to get back as a competitive force on the tour.
You know what they say Tiger, this will only hurt for a little while. Get Well Soon!