Category: Hank Haney


August 29, 2013

CEO: IJGA-Haney break-up comparable to Woods-Haney split

Posted at 12:08 PM by Cameron Morfit

HaneyHank Haney and the International Junior Golf Academy have gone their separate ways, according to an article in the Hilton Head Island Packet, in part because of the noted instructor's various other obligations.

Peter Orrell, president and CEO at IJGA parent company Junior Sports Corporation, said the split was mutual."Hank has made an enormous contribution to the IJGA," Orrell said. "He's a guy I have grown to respect and like. The guy has been an awesome coach and has a great work ethic."

Orrell said a new baby and other professional obligations kept Haney from Hilton Head more than both sides would have liked.

Haney is not quoted in the article; his agent said they would have more to say once details are finalized. Although Orrell mostly praised Haney, the CEO said of the IJGA's new director of instruction, Kevin Smeltz, "He's not going to be here once in a while, he's going to be here all the time."  

Haney joined the IJGA in 2007, but the Hilton Head Island school has been busy updating its image to reflect their recent split. His name has been taken off the website and the academy's vans, according to the article, which also states that the IJGA is no longer in business with Haney's sponsors, Crocs and TaylorMade.

Orrell said the academy is moving in a positive direction. He noted its expansion to four golf courses, investment in high-end teaching technology, quality coaches and a staff club fitter.

He compared the academy's split with Haney to Haney's split from Woods.

"It was time for us to move on," Orrell said.

(Photo: AP)

June 20, 2013

Hank Haney: Tiger doesn't prepare for majors as hard as he could

Posted at 1:44 PM by Coleman McDowell

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Tiger Woods' ex-coach Hank Haney took to Twitter Sunday morning and said his former pupil doesn't properly prepare his short game at unfamiliar courses -- citing Tiger's lack of prep time at Merion a reason for his lack of success during last week's U.S. Open -- then spoke to Robert Lusetich at Fox Sports about Tiger's recent struggles to win major championships.

“For whatever reason, Tiger doesn't prepare for majors as hard as he could,” he said. “He plays the course in a rushed way maybe once or twice before the tournament week, then in the tournament week Tiger has gotten into a routine of playing nine-hole practice rounds on some days.”

Haney called Woods a "great greens rememberer," but added that it's difficult to remember greens that you haven't played. Haney predicted Tiger will struggle on the greens at Doral next year, a place Woods has won four times, because new owner Donald Trump is going to overhaul the course. Haney also critiqued Woods' ball-striking ability. (Haney said Tiger ranked No. 1 in greens in regulation under his and Butch Harmon's tutelage; Tiger currently ranks 39th).

“His best is not necessarily better than everyone else anymore,” he said. “We saw that last year with Rory Mcllroy.”

We also saw how McIlroy has responded to the pressure that comes along with challenging Woods for the top spot in golf. Not everyone is cut out for the scrutiny. Maybe not even Tiger anymore.

“Pressure affects everyone, even Tiger Woods, and the pressure at majors that Tiger puts on himself is a factor and always has been,” he said. “Being the favorite in every major is a pressure that only Tiger faces. Trying to catch someone's record like Tiger is trying to do with Jack is a much different dynamic than when Jack was adding to his major win total.

“Tiger is having a real hard time winning the easiest major he is going to win — No. 15. No. 18 to tie Jack and 19 to beat Jack, those are going to be the hard ones.

“If he gets that far.”

(Photo: Getty)

March 18, 2013

Hank Haney says Tiger's game in good shape for Masters

Posted at 12:15 PM by Coleman McDowell

TigerTiger Woods's ex-coach Hank Haney thinks Woods is preforming even better in 2013 than he did in 2012, when he won three times, according to John Huggan of the Scotsman.com

“Tiger is playing much better this season,” Haney said. “His distance control with the wedges has improved tremendously since last year, a fact evidenced by the fact that he made a lot of birdies from inside 100 yards.”

One of the main reasons has been his performance off the tee. Even though Woods has hit only 56.6 percent of fairways this year, 127th on the Tour, Haney believes that his ability to control the errant drives has been an improvement from the past three seasons.

“Because of the distance so many of the professionals now hit the ball, a lot of them are benefiting from not having to hit many drivers,” Haney said. “Tiger is definitely one of those players. When I taught him, he missed about 85 percent of his fairways to the right, even though he would sometimes say he had a ‘two-way’ miss going. And over the last three years that has actually been true; his misses with the driver have been almost 50-50 left and right. Last week, however, was different. Last week Tiger largely eliminated the left-side miss. For any player, eliminating half the golf course is a great confidence boost.”

Woods received another confidence boost before the tournament at Doral in the form of a putting tip from Steve Stricker on his way to the lowest four-round putting total of his career. Haney referenced Tiger's former caddie, Steve Williams, who would say if Woods was under 120 putts in a tournament, then he would win. Woods manged to best that mark by 20 with only 100 total putts at Doral.

"Victory was almost assured," Haney said.

Woods is in search of his first major win since 2008 and is a 4-to-1 favorite at this year's Masters. Haney thinks his former pupil is finally close to the level that got him his 14 majors in the first place.

“It’s all about the majors for Tiger,” Haney said. “For any player, victory in any of the four means matching a good ball-striking week with a good putting week. In the past, the ball-striking part was a given for Tiger. And it looks like he is approaching that level again.”

Photo: Woods and Haney at the 2009 WGC Championship Accenture Match Play (Credit: Robert Beck)

March 09, 2013

Michael Phelps throws club on 'Haney Project'

Posted at 11:32 PM by Golf.com

Michael Phelps is Hank Haney's latest pupil on "The Haney Project," which has seen the Golf Magazine Top 100 teacher, best-selling author and coach teach Charles Barkley, Ray Romano and Rush Limbaugh in its past three seasons with varying degrees of success.

In last week's episode, Phelps tossed his driver at St. Andrews in an over-the-head motion where he jumps off his left leg while slinging the club. His teacher wasn't impressed.

"That wasn't even a good attempt at being mad," Haney said.

Phelps could not only use Haney's help with his swing, but would also benefit from watching Top 100 Teacher Charlie King's video on the proper technique to chucking clubs down the fairway. But the 18-time Olympic gold medalist can take solace in knowing that he is in good company with almost anyone who's ever played golf, as well as several members of the PGA Tour.

The show airs Monday nights on The Golf Channel at 8 pm ET.

December 07, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Hank Haney says Tiger still 'the best,' but not what he was

Posted at 12:43 PM by Samantha Glover

HankHank Haney and Tiger Woods at the 2010 Masters, their last tournament together. (Getty Images)

Tiger Woods's former coach Hank Haney said that Woods is still "the best player that there is," but that he's "clearly not the golfer that he was" before his Thanksgiving 2009 car accident and ensuing sex scandals.

I think that, to some extent, is what you've seen since the accident, since the scandal. I think things have changed, and he's clearly not the golfer that he was. And I know the way this whole thing works, so that quote right there is going to be an exclamation point, in a box, right at the middle of the page. And that's unfortunate. It's my slip-up, and that's why I didn't want to do this interview, but I'll just have to live with that. But I still think Tiger's the best player that there is. Now, he's not No. 1 right now, but I still think he's the best player. But having said that, he's not the player that he was when he was winning 45 percent of his tournaments with me the last three years I helped him. That's just the way it is. People are always like "You're taking a shot at him." I'm not taking a shot at him. But it's just the way it is. Everybody can see it. But you know what? You don't even have to see it. It's like what Bill Parcells always said: "You are what your record says you are."

Haney, who drew Woods's ire for publishing a book about the 14-time major winner last spring, talked about Woods's 2012 season in an interview with Scott Miller of ESPN The Magazine. Woods won three times in 2012, but he did not play especially well in the majors by his standards. His best major finish was T3 in the British Open.

In the interview, Haney also talked about Woods's new coach Sean Foley, who has been critical of Haney's coaching.

I remember when I started, Butch Harmon told me "Hank, it's harder than it looks. It's a tough team to be on." Those were the two things he told me. When Sean Foley started and he was so brash and said everything Tiger was doing was wrong and dadadadada, I thought to myself Wow. It's harder than it looks. And he's going to find that out. There's a reason why Tiger Woods is so great. It's because he's different, and he's different in many ways. Because of that, it's not like coaching anyone you've ever coached before.

As for his relationship with Woods now, Haney said he hasn't spoken with Woods since he resigned -- via text message -- in May 2010.

The last time I talked to Tiger was the day after I resigned. He said "Hank, the most important thing is that we've been great friends. And we just need to make sure we stay like that." And I never heard from him again.


August 14, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Preview Michael Phelps's pre-Haney game

Posted at 12:29 PM by Mark Dee

Hat tip to CBS's Shane Bacon for scouring YouTube to bring us a preview of Michael Phelps's golf game in anticipation of his appearance on The Haney Project, where Hank Haney will try to improve some of the very improvable moves we see here.

The first video finds Phelps, apparently taking a break from a game of beer pong, to practice some hardwood putting. Phelps makes 12 five-footers in a minute, which is partially relevant to golf. Haney's first task will be explaining to Phelps that no one is timing him. If he makes it to the Tour, he can take all the time in the world, after all.

Another video actually takes place on grass. And, judging from the video, that's bad news for the grass.

And one last video, in which Phelps explains how he came to golf.

Any way he slices it -- see what I did there? -- Phelps will probably be a better canvas for Haney than, say, Rush Limbaugh. One's a world class athlete, after all. Not that it will necessarily help him in the world's slowest game. But it's nice for us golfers to imagine. So, welcome, Mr. Phelps, to your long retirement.

August 08, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Haney says Tiger won't catch Jack

Posted at 12:52 PM by Mark Dee

At 36, Tiger Woods doesn't feel particularly old. So, on Tuesday, when asked about his chances of breaking Jack Nicklaus's record 18 majors, Woods patiently responded that he has "plenty of time" -- ten years and 40 more majors, to be exact.

Others don't agree. Among them is Woods's ex-swing coach (and current Tiger chronicler) Hank Haney. In an interview with Robert Lusetich of FOX Sports, Haney expressed serious doubts that Tiger could get the five majors he needs to tie Nicklaus's mark, and came close to putting the debate to rest:

“When you look at all the factors that are involved in breaking Jack's record right now the odds probably don't favor Tiger,” Haney told FOXsports.com...

...“Remember, Jack won only four majors after the age of 36,” Haney says.

“The last one at 46 — the 1986 Masters — was a miracle even to Jack, so it seems like giving Tiger 40 more chances is generous.

“You also have to assume that Tiger is able to stay healthy and avoid any other kind of personal turmoil that could derail his pursuit of Jack's record."

Some serious all-around doubt from The Big Miss author. So what could help Tiger along? Haney puts a lot of stock in Kiawah:

“I said before that I thought if Tiger won a major this year the odds of beating Jack's record would swing in his favor.

“If he doesn’t win at Kiawah, it’s going to be that much harder.”

The Woods Whisperer has spoken. Never mind that Tiger is still ahead of Jack's pace, even with including his current four-year lapse. According to Haney, this PGA might actually be glory's last shot.

May 21, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Casey Martin close to qualifying for U.S. Open

Posted at 11:52 AM by Mick Rouse

The last time the U.S. Open visited the Olympic Club in San Francisco it was 1998 and Casey Martin rode in his golf cart all the way to a T23 finish. Now, in between coaching at the University of Oregon, he is on the cusp of making his grand return fourteen years later, reports Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Martin, who suffers from a birth defect known as Klippel Trenaunay Weber syndrome in his right leg, created buzz as he filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour in 1997 that would allow him to use a cart in competition. 

As the appeals process began its three-year odyssey - the tour argued that walking is a fundamental part of the game and that no player should be permitted to use a cart - media attention engulfed Martin. It crested at the Olympic Club, from his Monday practice round with Woods to his first two rounds alongside 1994 Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal.

In 2001, Martin successfully won his Supreme Court decision against the PGA Tour and is now only 36 holes away from bringing his golf cart back to Olympic.

It remains a wild longshot, but he could create one of the coolest stories of this 112th U.S. Open. Martin hadn't even entered Open qualifying in five years, because his coaching duties leave him little time to practice or play, but he couldn't resist the nostalgic lure of Olympic.

He went out and shot 2-under-par 70 in local qualifying May 7 in Vancouver, Wash., good enough to advance to the next stage. Martin will take his crack at sectional qualifying - a grueling, 36-hole test - June 4 in Creswell, Ore.

"It's going to have to be an act of God," he said before advancing through locals. "I'm doing this to see if you can catch lightning in a bottle."

Just imagine the circus Martin will generate if he really does qualify for next month's Open. His story would come full circle - from one U.S. Open at the Olympic Club to the next, from aspiring tour pro and legal crusader to content college coach and improbable Open qualifier.

While the pressure is now fully on Martin, he did get a bit of a reprieve from the USGA while filling out his entry form for the U.S. Open and the elaborate application requesting a cart for competition.

Given his history - more than a bit well-documented - Martin asked some folks at the USGA if he really needed to complete all the paperwork. They told him to skip it.

OSU misses the cut

For the first time in school history, Oklahoma State University's men's golf team has failed to advance to the NCAA Championship, reports Golf Channel.

The Cowboys failed to qualify for the finals at Riviera C.C. when they finished eighth out of 13 teams in the Ann Arbor (Mich.) regional tournament on Saturday. The five-man team finished at 11 over par in the 54-hole event. The team was 14 shots shy of the fifth-place cutoff to advance to the finals, to be played May 29-June 3.

Oklahoma State had advanced to the NCAA championship in each year of the program's existence, dating back to 1947.

During the last 60 seasons, OSU's golf program has notched 10 national championships, 8 individual national championships and 49 conference championships while claiming alumni such as Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler, Charles Howell III, Bob Tway and Trip Kuehne.

Two-time defending champs Augusta State also missed out on the opportunity to claim a third consecutive title, finishing four shots out of qualifying through the Athens, Ga. regional.

Deron Williams hits Chelsea Piers

Because the New Jersey Nets are absolutely terrible, Deron Williams has a lot of time on his hands these days before he is inevitably traded to either the Mavericks or the Heat. So, like any golf aficionado in New York City with some time to kill, Williams made his way to Chelsea Piers. 

Color me impressed. Hank Haney, on the other hand? 

Looks like D.A. Points is reaching for a dinner date, though.

On-course rivals

Though the exact details are uncertain, a reader sent in this photo to Deadspin of two newlyweds posing in their Miami Dolphins garb with New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan while he enjoyed a round of golf.

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It's unclear whether or not the couple were married while wearing their Miami Dolphin jerseys or just had them on hand because that's the sort of thing Miami fans do. Either way, good on Ryan to take the time to pose with his fierce rivals. What was not documented, however, was Sal Alosi tripping the bride as she made her way down the aisle. 

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Bubba Watson is set to make his return at the Memorial Tournament, but that's only if he doesn't get a better offer in the meantime.

May 16, 2012

Truth & Rumors: U.S. Amateur trophy stolen from USGA museum

Posted at 11:20 AM by Mike Walker

Usga-robberyThe USGA has identified the objects stolen from its Far Hills, N.J., museum early Wednesday morning. The missing artifacts are the U.S. Amateur Trophy (top right) and a replica of Ben Hogan’s 1953 Hickok Belt, which was awarded to the top professional athlete in the U.S. for 27 years, from 1950-1976. (Turns out the award is being revived this year.)

Here is the official statement from the USGA:

The United States Golf Association today issued the following statement regarding an overnight burglary at the USGA Museum, in which two historical artifacts were stolen. The artifacts include the U.S. Amateur Trophy, which was created in 1926 and retired in 1992, and a replica of Ben Hogan’s 1953 Hickok Belt award, which the USGA acquired from the Hogan estate in 1998 and has displayed in the Museum since 1999.

“This is a deplorable incident, but we are thankful for the safety of our staff. These historical artifacts are an important part of our collection and their loss is a great disappointment. We are working closely with the Bernards Township Police Department to aid in their recovery.”

The burglary was first reported by Beth Ann Baldry of Golfweek.

Hank Haney says Tiger has 'holes in his game'

Tiger Woods's former coach and unwelcome biographer Hank Haney talked with Michigan Live's Kyle Austin about the state of Woods's game following his missed cut at Quail Hollow and his T40 at the Players Championship, and identified Woods's putting and wedge play as problems.

“Tiger’s kind of held to a different standard, a standard he helped create himself, and obviously his game is not where it was. But by the same token, where it was was someplace we might never see again. Tiger’s going to win plenty of golf tournaments. He certainly hasn’t forgot how to play, but there’s also some holes in his game.

“His putting isn’t as good as it used to be, and it’s been that way for a while now.

“His driving instincts are better, but he’s shying away from the driver a lot, he’s not hitting a lot of drivers. He has a miss that goes both ways. When I helped him, most of his misses went to the right, now they’re going right and left, it’s about 50/50. It was about 75 or 80 percent to the right when I helped.

“He’s not as good with wedges. From 50 to 125 yards, he’s I think ranked 150 on the tour or somewhere in that range. So that’s not as good as it used to be."

Westwood hires temp while his caddie recovers from injury

Lee Westwood's caddie Billy Foster is out six months with a knee injury, so Westwood picked up Michael Campbell's caddie Mike Waite as a temporary replacement, according to The Independent (UK).

With Foster out for up to six months, England's world No 3 used American Cayce Kerr over the last two weeks but will start working with Waite in next week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Waite is best known for his long partnership with New Zealander Michael Campbell, which included his US Open triumph in 2005.

That U.S. Open experience might be helpful at Olympic next month, where Westwood will try again for that elusive first major. Also, the Australian Waite has the ultimate caddie badge of honor: a cool nickname. They call him "the Sponge."

Arnold Palmer gets honorary degree from Allegheny College

Allegheny College's Class of 2012 had a special honorary member this past weekend: Arnold Palmer. The college awarded Palmer an honorary doctorate, according to The Downswing golf blog:

Allegheny College on became the eighth institution to present Palmer with an honorary doctorate, bestowing the honor upon the 82-year-old icon during Saturday’s commencement ceremonies in Meadville, Pa.

Adding to the distinction was the presence of former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a close friend who also was bestowed an honorary doctorate.

“They are Pennsylvanians who have achieved the highest levels of national and international greatness while always remaining true to their Pennsylvania roots,” said college president James H. Mullen Jr.

Palmer was an outstanding college golfer at Wake Forest, but he never actually graduated.

Palmer left Wake Forest midway through his senior year, shaken by the death of close friend Bud Worsham in an auto accident. Wake Forest later bestowed upon him an honorary Doctorate of Laws. Other honorary degrees have come from St. Vincent College (in his hometown of Latrobe, Pa.,), Florida Southern and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

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Sports Illustrated senior writer Gary Van Sickle often caddies for his son, aspiring tour pro Mike Van Sickle, but today their roles are reversed.

April 23, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Harmon criticizes Haney, says Tiger lost his 'nerve'

Posted at 11:56 AM by Mick Rouse

Tiger Wood's other ex-swing coach is finally speaking out in regards to Hank Haney's polarizing book, The Big Miss, reports Jeff Neuman of The Wall Street Journal, and Butch Harmon says he was shocked by Haney's decision to include information on Tiger's family.

"I'm very surprised that he would write it," Harmon said this week. "I'd never do that to Tiger or Greg [Norman] or any of the guys I've been with. We get to spend a lot of time with these people, sometimes even more time than their own families. Things are said, or you see different things, and it's just—it is what it is, you just leave it where it belongs. I was really shocked to see him talk about Elin and Tiger's kids and stuff like that, I don't think that had any place in it."

"It almost seems the way he has everything documented in there—too many times and dates and places that you wouldn't come up with from memory—it's like he kept precise notes all along with writing a book in mind." 

While Harmon makes it clear that he wouldn't write a book about his former students in Haney-esque fashion, he's still game to analyze Tiger's swing woes.

"For me, and I think we saw this at the Masters, he looks like he's playing 'golf-swing' and not golf. In my opinion, he's very robotic. And you could see that at Augusta with all his practice swings and the double-cross shots when he's trying to fade it and he hooks it. I think everyone thought because he won at Bay Hill that he was back; well, he didn't hit it great at Bay Hill, he hit it OK. And Bay Hill's not a major."

"When I had him, I'm more of a natural-type teacher, I like to keep what you do naturally and just try to improve on it. I like to let you be creative, which he was good at."

"And for me, I think he's lost his nerve putting. I think his nerves are bad, and he's lost his confidence."

So what would Harmon do if he was back coaching the biggest name in golf? In a sense, nothing.

"If he ever asked me what I thought he needed to do, I'd tell him, look, go on the practice tee without anybody—without me, without Sean [Foley, his current coach], without Haney, without a camera, and start hitting golf shots. Hit some high draws, some low draws, high fades, low fades, move the ball up and down, move it around; don't worry about how you do it and go back to feeling it again. Quit playing golf-swing and just hit shots; just say to himself, I'm gonna hit a low fade, and I don't need anybody to tell me how to do it, I'm just gonna feel it. He's Tiger Woods, for God's sake. He doesn't know how to hit a shot?"

Little green jacket

You know what they say: like father, like son. So after Bubba Watson won the Masters this year, it was only a matter of time until son Caleb got in on the action. That's why Bubba had a second green jacket made, just for Caleb. 

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Caleb even has the same Travis Matthew polo to go along with it. No word yet if he's hitting a pink driver, though.

Na remembers infamous 16

Remember that one time Kevin Na made a 16 on a single hole? Yeah, so does Kevin Na. Luckily, Na has a sense of humor about things. With a camera crew in tow (he is hosting a future episode of "Inside the PGA Tour"), Na returned to the scene of the crime Monday before this year's Valero Texas Open -- with a chainsaw. 

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That's not all, though. Na replayed the No. 9 hole at TPC San Antonio to see if he could best his 16 from a year ago -- using only a 6-iron. You'll have to wait until Tuesday night on "Inside the PGA Tour" on the Golf Channel to see how he fared (6:30 p.m. Eastern if you're setting your DVR).

To top it all off, though, Na left the same shirt he wore on that fateful day in memoriam during the first round of the tournament.

China gets third European Tour event, and Rory will be there

The European Tour announced that they will be hosting a third tournament in China, according to Reuters, and the payoff will be BIG. The BMW Masters, hosted by the Jack Nicklaus-designed Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, is set to be played at the end of October and will offer a purse of $7 million. One player already marking his calendar? The world No. 1.

"I am already looking forward to teeing off at the tournament," said world number one Rory McIlroy, who won last year's Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters which is now being replaced by the new event.

"The tournament will be one of the very best events in the world. That obviously makes it all the more exciting to defend my title there," added the Northern Irishman in a statement.

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