ORLANDO, Fla. — Tiger Woods’ fascination with the Navy SEALs and how he might have incurred his leg injuries are sure to generate plenty of buzz when Hank Haney’s book goes on sale next week.
There also is plenty of gossip involving other players, such as the time Ian Poulter invited himself to ride home on Woods’ plane after a practice round at Oakmont.
But there is a bigger picture in The Big Miss, which chronicles the six years Haney spent as his swing coach.
He shows Woods to be a complicated person who sought change to keep stimulated, who was rarely satisfied, self-centered in his pursuit of greatness and whose work ethic in the gym was geared toward being accepted as an athlete.
“In Tiger’s mind, satisfaction is the enemy of success,” Haney writes.
The book goes on sale March 27, one week before the Masters Tournament – and it already has been getting plenty of attention because of a few sections that raise questions about how Woods injured his leg.
Haney cites Corey Carroll, one of Woods’ closest friends at Isleworth, as saying Woods injured his right Achilles tendon doing Olympic-style weightlifting as he returned from reconstructive knee surgery in December 2008.
Haney also tells of a woman who approached him during an outing in Minnesota last year. Her husband was a Navy SEAL in California and told her Woods came in for training in 2007 at a Kill House – an urban-warfare simulator – and “got kicked pretty hard in the leg, and I think he hurt his knee pretty bad.”
Haney said that matched a story from Carroll, who said Woods revealed to him that the complete tear of his left knee ligaments really happened in a Kill House when he had lost his balance and been kicked in the knee.
“My immediate thought upon hearing Corey’s account, which so closely paralleled that of the woman in Minneapolis, was that it was true,” Haney writes. “And if so, it meant that if Tiger never catches Jack Nicklaus, it will very likely have as much to do with the time and physical capacity he lost as a result of his bizarre Navy SEALs adventure as anything else.”
Woods has had four surgeries on his left knee, and he withdrew from his last tournament two weeks ago at Doral with tightness in his left Achilles tendon – the same one that caused him to miss two majors last year.
Woods said it was only a mild strain, and he is scheduled to play seven consecutive days this week, including at Bay Hill.
Haney became increasingly concerned when Woods began workouts designed to build muscle. It reached a point when Haney and former trainer Keith Kleven tried to convince Woods that he was getting more muscular in the upper body than was helpful for golf.
Haney does not consider the book a “tell-all,” and much of it reveals Woods’ pursuit of his place in history.
Haney also delves into the relationship Woods had with his ex-wife, and how guarded they were in public. That runs against his comments that the book would be about golf, though Haney felt it was relevant.
“I think when you’re such a complex person, an absolute superstar, you can’t ignore everything that happens off the golf course,” Haney said in an interview. “The performance, the dedication, the ability to compete with a clear mind. To me, it said something about Tiger overall as a person. Clearly, there’s a lot of things I left out of the book that didn’t have to do with golf.”