PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (CBS Tampa/AP) — Tiger Woods a Navy SEAL? His former swing coach said the golf superstar was ready to walk away from it all and join the military in a new tell-all book.
Hank Haney’s book about his six years as Woods’ coach is titled, “The Big Miss.” It is to go on sale March 27, a week before the Masters.
In the book, Haney said Woods was seriously considering becoming a Navy SEAL. Woods’ father, Earl, was a green beret in the Army who did two tours during the Vietnam War.
“I didn’t know how he’d go about it, but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan,” Haney writes in the excerpt. “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.'”
Mark Steinberg, Woods’ agent at Excel Sports Management, said in a statement that excerpts show Haney’s claim of the book being about golf is “clearly false.”
“His armchair psychology about Tiger, on matters he admits they didn’t even discuss, is ridiculous,” Steinberg said. “Because of his father, it’s no secret that Tiger has always had high respect for the military, so for Haney to twist that admiration into something negative is disrespectful.”
Haney also mentions the time Woods spent four days of special operations training in 2004 at Fort Bragg, N.C.
“Tiger 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,” Haney wrote. “Tiger loved it, but his physical therapist, Keith Kleven, went a little crazy worrying about the further damage Tiger might be doing to his left knee.”
Haney said he was in the kitchen when Woods returned from a long run wearing Army boots. He said Woods told him he’s worn the boots before on the same route and told Haney, “I beat my best time.”
When questioned by the Golf Channel’s Alex Miceli Wednesday about the book excerpt, Woods became testy.
“I’ve already talked about everything,” Woods said, later telling Miceli, “You’re a beauty. You know that?”
Golf Digest began releasing small excerpts Tuesday on its tablet applications and on its website. Haney’s book was written with help from Jaime Diaz, a senior writer at the magazine who has covered Woods more extensively than anyone over the years.
In one of the excerpts, Haney, a McKinney, Texas, golf guru, said his job became more difficult in 2007, when Woods had 12 majors and was getting closer to the record 18 won by Jack Nicklaus.
“There was more urgency and less fun. … He never mentioned Nicklaus’ record, but it started to weigh more heavily at every major,” the excerpt said. “And Tiger’s actions indicated he believed he had less time to do it than everyone thought.”
Haney said the objective of revamping his swing was to preserve his left knee.
Woods is playing the next two weeks in south Florida, at the Honda Classic and Cadillac Championship at Doral, as he prepares for the Masters. Woods has not won at Augusta National since 2005.
“The disruptive timing of this book shows that Haney’s self-promotion is more important to him than any other person or tournament,” Steinberg said. “What’s been written violates the trust between a coach and player and someone also once considered a friend.”
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