The more former Tiger Woods swing coach Hank Haney talks, the uglier it gets for Woods. In a recent published interview with Golf Digest’s Guy Yocom, Haney revealed more unflattering details about Woods as it pertained to their six-year relationship.
During the interview Yocom asked Haney about his relationship after The Masters:
Haney: I talked to him only two times after that. That was his way of blaming me. Maybe I’m reading too much into it; maybe I’m being too sensitive. But when someone doesn’t talk to you…
Golf Digest: You felt the onus was on him to call you?
Haney: Right. I sent him an e-mail on everything I thought he should do and work on. I got no acknowledgement at all, but that wasn’t unusual. Then it got to the point where I didn’t know what he was doing or thinking. Yet the whole time he was telling the media I was still his teacher and that I was going to continue to be his teacher and I was talking to him every night.
Golf Digest: It sounds like it became dysfunctional.
Haney: It didn’t get dysfunctional; it always was dysfunctional.
Golf Digest: Do you feel you went out at the top?
Haney: Absolutely. To come back from five months off this year and finish fourth at Augusta, I don’t think that was too bad. After Augusta, he was on his own.
More on the nature of their relationship:
Golf Digest: What were the demands that came with being Tiger’s coach that the average person might not be aware of?
Haney: One example is, he didn’t plan ahead a lot, and therefore I didn’t plan ahead because I didn’t want people to know his schedule. I would guess when he would be playing, and I’d block my schedule out in case he would call. I never wanted to say I wasn’t available. And in the six years I was with him, I never did say that. Whenever he called me, I was there within 24 hours.
Golf Digest: Can you describe other frustrations?
Haney: Every once in a while I sent him some pretty long e-mails or texts on things I thought he needed to do. I sent one after the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Tiger never even acknowledged he got the e-mail. That was just the way he was. He never responded that he even got it. There was one time when Elin told me, “Hey, Tiger got your e-mail, and he really liked it.”
Golf Digest: Was Tiger generous with you? Did he express his appreciation to you in unusual ways, such as signing flags for you or dropping you notes?
Haney: Generosity is relative. It was generous of him to give me the job. I don’t have anything signed by Tiger, no. Not one thing.
Golf Digest: Did Tiger pay you well?
Haney: I don’t want to answer that. There’s no reason for me to go there.
Golf Digest: It’s been said that Tiger views any association with him as helping that person out. Do you go along with that?
Haney: You said it, I didn’t.
By that last remark, Haney was certainly implying that Woods was tight with the wallet. Interesting comment from Haney considering he said this of being Woods’ coach at the beginning of the interview:
It’s not a job. Teaching touring pros has always been, and always will be, a marketing expense. It’s for personal satisfaction, for contributing to history, and for marketing your brand.
So Haney goes from saying that he recognized the huge marketing value of being Tiger’s coach to implying that Woods was cheap.
Haney could’ve taken a complete pass on those questions - or asked that they not be included in the interview. But he didn’t.
For a guy who can thank all of his biggest business and entertainment successes to his association with Tiger, his responses in that context were bad form. Especially after he admitted himself that whatever Woods could pay him would be largely incidental.
Without Woods, no one outside hardcore golf fans would know Haney’s name. He’d have no “brand” to market. With Woods, Haney’s a celebrity.
Now that I think about it, Haney should’ve been paying Tiger.