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February 28, 2012

Haney: Tiger Woods almost quit golf to become Navy SEAL

Posted at 12:48 PM by Ryan Reiterman | Categories: Hank Haney, Tiger Woods

Woods_armyTiger Woods seriously considered quitting golf and becoming a Navy SEAL, according to a new book by Woods's former coach Hank Haney.

Woods's fascination with the military is well known. After the 2004 Masters, Woods took part in four days of military training at Fort Bragg, where he also hosted a golf clinic for juniors. Woods's late father, Earl Woods, trained at Fort Bragg and served two tours of duty in Vietnam.

"It's an honor to walk in my father's footsteps by training with the service men and women at Fort Bragg," Woods said in 2004.

The AT&T National, a tournament Woods used to host and one that still supports his foundation, honors the military and their families. In a book excerpt posted on GolfDigest.com, Haney sheds new light on just how serious Woods was about enlisting.

I didn't know how he'd go about it, but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan....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.

Haney also reveals how Woods's physical therapist was concerned about the impact military training, and his infamous workouts, could have on Woods's injured knee.

"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. 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...One morning I was in the kitchen when he came back from a long run around Isleworth, and I noticed he was wearing Army boots. Tiger admitted that he'd worn the heavy shoes before on the same route. 'I beat my best time,' he said."

Haney's book, The Big Miss, will be released on March 27, one week before the Masters.

[Photo: Tiger Woods arrives in a Humvee for a golf clinic at Fort Bragg in 2004. Credit: Ellen Ozier/Reuters]

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