Hank Haney Still Living Off Tiger Woods' Fame

By Ryan Wooden

Go away, Hank Haney. Nobody is mistaking your average abilities as an instructor for talent anymore, or at least they shouldn’t.

You left Tiger Woods worse off than when he started; Charles Barkley still sucks; Ray Romano hasn’t  broke 80, and Rush Limbaugh is still as pompous as ever (that last one might not be your fault, but still.) With any luck, Sugar Ray Leonard will knock your block off when his handicap tanks after the futile attempts of this season’s “Haney Project.”

Unfortunately, Leonard will probably have to swing over the top of Tiger Woods, as Haney has somehow managed to cower in Tiger’s shadow nearly a full two years after he showed Hank the door. And I thought remoras could only latch onto sharks.

Haney’s most recent exploitation of Woods’ success has come in the form of a tell-all book about the 1993 PGA Teacher of the Year’s six-year relationship with the game’s greatest player. Yesterday, Golf Digest released excerpts from the book titled, “The Big Miss,” which was co-written by Golf Digest senior writer Jaime Diaz.

In the excerpts, Haney rampantly speculates on the psychological state of Tiger Wood’s throughout the course of their working relationship. Presumably, Hank Haney would be one of the few people qualified to comment on Tiger’s frame of mind, except that Haney admits that he and Tiger never actually had conversations directly relating to the matter.

In one of the more ridiculous assumptions, Haney claims that at one point Tiger was prepared to leave the game of golf behind to pursue a career as a Navy Seal. Tiger’s agent, Mark Steinberg, dismissed the speculation as “clearly false.”

According to Haney, Tiger spent a week in Fort Bragg where “he did two tandem parachute jumps, engaged in hand-to-hand combat exercises, went on four-mile runs wearing combat boots, and did drills in a wind tunnel.” Tiger’s involvement and affinity for the military has been well-publicized, and Tiger’s participation in these activities is entirely plausible, but Haney’s speculation is just another attempt to cash in on his relationships with one of the most highly visible athletes in the world.

Woods’ father, Earl, was a former infantrymen in the United States Army, and Tiger has had a clear connection with the men and women of our armed services throughout his career. Hank Haney’s exploitation of that fact is not only “disrespectful,” as Tiger’s agent put it, it’s also indicative of the limitless lengths Haney will go to wring every last dollar out of Tiger.

Unfortunately, by vehemently denying Haney’s assertions, the Woods’ camp has essentially sold Haney’s book for him, which comes out on March 27. That’s a week before the Masters, a time that is both strategically picked to sell books and inflict the most possible damage on Tiger’s psyche heading into Augusta.

Ultimately, Hank Haney is still sour. He mismanaged an opportunity working with the best player in the world, and now he’s been relinquished to accepting Mario Batali meatballs as payment for curing a 16-handicapper’s slice.

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