Posted March 21, 2014

The Big Diss: Haney Says Players Were Never Intimidated By Tiger

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Hank Haney and Tiger Woods speak at Augusta National in 2009.

Hank Haney and Tiger Woods speak at Augusta National in 2009. (Getty Images)

Thank you, Hank Haney, for helping to destroy a sportswriting cliché.

One of the most persistent tropes in many a golf writer’s arsenal has been that Tiger Woods need only show up on Sundays, don the red and black and watch his opponents melt away like butter in the Georgia sun.

Haney, the former Woods swing instructor turned bestselling author turned SiriusXM satellite radio host, was in New York’s Times Square on Tuesday to promote TaylorMade’s SpeedBlade series of irons.

Asked if Tiger still carries the same aura about him, Haney responded that there may have never been an aura to begin with.

“I didn’t buy into that when people talked about it as much as people talked about it,” Haney said. “Tiger won because he shot the lowest score, not because he intimidated his opponents.”

The pressure of playing in one of the final groups on Sunday is always there, whether or not Tiger is, Haney said. That — not Tiger’s presence — is the reason players fade.

“Back in the day when you were playing with Tiger, you were playing in the last group,” Haney said. “It’s hard to play in the last group, no matter who you are playing with. Everyone says, ‘Oh, he can’t play with Tiger.’ It’s hard to play on the lead, and that’s hard no matter what tournament it is and no matter who’s playing.”

Haney said the wild final few holes of the Honda Classic were the most recent examples. Russell Henley emerged the victor from a four-man playoff with Rory McIlroy, Ryan Palmer and Russell Knox, having all endured a series of misadventures.

“You look how difficult it was for those guys to close that tournament,” Haney said. “It had nothing to do with Tiger being there. Nobody was intimidated by anyone. It’s hard to play on the lead.”

Tiger finished tied for 25th last week in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. He shot 66 on Saturday, evoking memories of the player who won five times last year. He faded with a birdie-less 78 the next day — his worst ever final round score — and looked to be fighting an injured back.

“Is he having as much fun now? Clearly not,” Haney said. “He’s not winning as much. The fun for someone like Tiger is to be in the last group. Look at Honda, at Saturday’s round. He teed off at 7:45. That’s not what his usual tee time is.”

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84 comments
Jim22
Jim22

Another stupid comment from Haney again !! Just another example of some has been trying to stay relevant !! Hey Hank , shut up !! 

tommyrogo
tommyrogo

Haney is not a best selling author.  His gossip book sold many because of the person he wrote about gossiply.  It did give all the media people something to talk about, pulling out all the gossip stuff out of it, which sold more books.

He is still making comments that will continue to sell his book so the above can say "best selling author".

Tiger's game intimidated everyone in his early years.  Tom Watson had the best quote for me back in the 2000's - "Everybody is playing for second place and I think they know that"  "They" being the other golfers.  He said this on TV at pebble beach.  It was Tiger's game that intimidated everyone.



WarrenSappSucked
WarrenSappSucked

ALL THE NATION WANTS TO KNOW: WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED THAT NIGHT, TIGER?

MichaelCee
MichaelCee

If you look past the inflammatory headline and read the quote you can see Haney is actually complimenting Tiger not dissing him.

Tiger was the best at going out and getting it done ... period.

He would figure out a way to post the score he needed.

The players out there knew this.

They knew he would be used to the pressure.

They knew he wouldn't quit.

Tiger's physical game post-Harmon wasn't the same but it didn't matter

Guys could hit it better, but he would always put up a number.

That doesn't just happen because you're out there playing Mr. Magoo

You still have to go out there and prove it .. everytime

and he did

That's what Hank Haney is talking about

and he's right


samludu
samludu

Where would the poor golf media be if it didn't have Tiger to kick around every day?


Speculating about issues that just don't matter. Pathetic.

nutz4golf
nutz4golf

This man obviously has a charter membership to the Tiger Haters Club.

We all watched many of the greatest players of the era melt when Tiger was rolling the ball as only he was able to, consistently. They all went into that final group knowing that their games had to be spot on in order to win. that's why no one did for a long long time.

Tiger's abilities got him the victories, but they also brought pressure to bear on those he was playing with. That added to the final group stress managed to crumble a bunch of folks.

JamesInVA
JamesInVA

You know how this past weekend, Patrick Reed played a pretty awesome round but still missed a short little putt coming in.  When Tiger was in his prime, that would have never, ever happened.   When Tiger was in his prime, if you were in the last group you knew you had to play absolutely perfectly to have a chance to win, because you knew Tiger was going to play perfectly.   Because of this pressure to play perfectly, many of Tiger's competitors wilted on those final Sundays (even though these players were and still are excellent players).  You have to give credit to Phil and Vijay because they actually did give Tiger a run for his money.  What we are now seeing is that the athleticism that made Tiger so great in his prime is taking a toll on his body as he grows older.  It does appear that Tiger is not going to catch Jack in majors.  None the less, to put it in the words of Patrick Reed, Tiger is a LEGEND OF THE GAME.  I wish that Haney and so many others would stop trying to rewrite history, and let the man be. Of course he had some off-the-course issues:  who among us is without sin?  I'm not sure Tiger can win another major, but I hope I am wrong, because when he is on, he's incredibly fun to watch.  You can do it Tiger!

clt0002
clt0002

every few months when no one is mentioning his name Haney says something about Tiger Woods. At this point he seems like a jealous school girl. 

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

The media has been in bed with Tig'r ever since he left Stanford. The media is a MOSTLY liberal driven machine, and they love too flood the airwaves with real and fake drama(s). The problem is it isn't news....just propaganda, and has no real value to a supposed intelligent society. The "Dumbing Down of America" continues....

Chris8
Chris8

Intimidation is nothing more than a form of posturing. 


Whether other players were intimidated by Tiger Woods or not doesn't matter.  He beat them either way.

tbaker
tbaker

Is there a bigger doucebag in sports than Hank Haney?  The guy gets plucked out of obscurity by Tiger then spends the rest of his life denigrating him.  What a pathetic loser.


Listen to almost any golfer who has played with Tiger and you will hear them say things they do not say about anyone else.  Talk with any golfer who can actually play and they will tell you that Tiger did things no other golfer could do.  It's not opinion, it's fact  

JamesB
JamesB

Just a question to everyone who accuses Tiger of using PEDs and basing it on his injury history.  


What are you guys saying about Kobe Bryant?  Are you on other pages accusing him of using PEDs, or do you accept that some athletes actually get old?

He cheated, too, right?

Boyke
Boyke

In every sport a player or team can be intimidating to other opponents. Who wasn't intimidated by Mohammed ALi, Husein Bolt, Lionel Messi, Brazilian soccer team, Michael Jordan etc etc.

So why not in golf and if who that person than would be... I would say Tiger.


NotDaveFeherty
NotDaveFeherty

Finally someone who gets it.  Tiger never had that intimidation factor, unless he we leading by a bunch of strokes going into the final round.  (Which, admittedly, he often was).  Tiger virtually never won coming from behind, which is the best quantitative indicator of intimidation factor.

The Computer Store Owner
The Computer Store Owner

Tiger played better if he had a 54-hole lead on Sunday in the last group because:....

A)  Intimidation Factor

B)  His Talent

C)  He used PED's


If it were choice B),  he will continue to win pressure-packed majors and break Jack's record.  I'm going with choice C) because PED testing began about the time he lost his last major.  PED's make you fresher on Sunday because the micro-muscle damage resulting from playing golf at the PGA level gets healed quicker.  And there are other reasons to go along with the "coincidental" major drought.  There's the relationship with a PED peddler, the fact that he's a cheater and feels entitled to win, the $10,000,000 hush money to one of his mistresses, and finally simple logic.  It is what it is.  He is what he is.  Cheater's cheat.

PackersFanNumeroUno
PackersFanNumeroUno

Eldrick is finished, the steroid junkie is finally too injured to be relevant. Do some research on PEDs, body breaks down pretty quick. Tiger = Guaranteed PEDs user.

will59
will59

Whoever played with Tiger in a final round between 1999 and 2005 knew Woods was going to play very well. They knew they had little to no room for error. When you added in the massive crowds that Tiger was used to and they weren't, you'd have to say intimidation was a factor.

These days Woods seems only to be competitive on courses he is very familiar with and are set up to his liking. I think his only chance to get to 18 majors is by winning when the U.S. Open is played at Pebble Beach and when the British is at St. Andrews.

Redskins
Redskins

Hate to disagree with Hank, but I think he is flat-out wrong. Competitors would melt in the presence of Woods on Sundays. They would talk about Woods and happily answer reporters questions about Woods' game, not their own.

Woods fall from his pedestal and a younger, tougher, less-reverent group-of-golfers have combined to destroy the intimidation.

Pre-dating the "Elin Episode," the 2009 loss to Y.E. Yang, at the PGA, I think is defining. Woods, in typical fashion, tried every trick of intimidation in his Sunday-bag and Yang resisted to win.

rememberwhatbushdid
rememberwhatbushdid

Well, this isn't the first time Haney has been wrong.  We have all witnessed other players crumble when playing with Tiger, or playing right in front or behind him on a Sunday. And we have heard player after player admit that they were intimidated.  Haney's contention is, just like his book about Tiger, another ridiculous attempt to make money for himself and draw more media attention to himself when he doesn't deserve it .

Tiger was right to leave Haney.  However, he was wrong to go with Sean Foley.  Tiger's swing plane is so flat there's no way his back can hold-up.  His body is beginning to breakdown.  Tiger needs a dose of humble pie so he can do the right thing...the only thing that will give him a chance to break Jack's records...GO BACK TO BUTCH HARMON.  

RIhle
RIhle

Any claim to this effect would only be valid if it were stated by someone who has experienced competing with Tiger for himself. Since Haney does not have this experience, he is only theorizing, with nothing other than anecdotal evidence to back him up. Whether players were intimidated by Tiger's aura or not is a question that can only be answered by those players themselves. 

deeg24
deeg24

I don't buy it... I think this is Haney trying to recapture his 15 minutes of fame.  Anybody that has ever been to a tour event knows the crazy nature of Tiger's gallery.  Yeah, sure - the final group is always going to be crowded, no matter who's in it.  But when Tiger is in the final pairing, it's a madhouse (for the same reason people tune into TV when he's in the final group).  When I went to the 2005 and 2007, I didn't even bother trying to watch him - you couldn't get close.  To say playing in the final pairing with that doesn't ELEVATE the pressure is bogus.  And gimme a break - it would undoubtedly be a different feeling if you're playing in the final group with someone that has NEVER won, or won only a few times, versus someone that has won dozens of times, including bunches of majors.  

Haney knows his only path to continued relevance is continuing to dish "insider info" on Tiger.  Haney is lame...  yeah, great coach, but nobody cares about coaches...  Butch Harmon?  yawn...  Leadbetter?  Where is he?  Haney?  So what?  Go away, Hank...

Stephen35
Stephen35

@PackersFanNumeroUno    "Tiger won because he shot the lowest score, not because he intimidated his opponents.”  Yeah, that's really laying the smack down on Eldrick...telling everyone that basically he was just the better player.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@Chris8 Intimidation only exists in the mind of the intimidated. Tiger just wanted it more than the current generation of golfers that are happy enough to take a big check just for showing up...

CURTJHONS
CURTJHONS

@tbaker  I would like to hear one person disagree with your statement. Just one.  Talk to Tiger's peers and see what they say about Tiger.  Also, ask them who is the one person most responsible for the big purses they play for today.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@tbaker Umm, they say those things about Moe Norman too. Big deal. He's proving every day that he is no Jack Nicklaus...

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@Boyke Intimidation doesn't exist in a sport where players don't actually go head-to-head physically. I have yet to see anyone wearing golf apparel that has intimidated anyone...

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@NotDaveFeherty Exactly. If golfers in the lead were falling left and right to Tiger's charges on the final day you might have a case for 'intimidation'. But since we know Tiger can't win unless he's leading going into the final round, I think we can throw that theory out the window. Golf is a game, not a sport. Anyone ever been intimidated by a euchre player??

BDickson
BDickson

@NotDaveFeherty  


I'm not a fan of Woods, but if he was leading, it seemed that no one would make a charge to catch him, even if he was just making pars. Players would just collapse down the stretch. I think the intimidation existed - but does not any longer.

JamesB
JamesB

@The Computer Store Owner  You call it logic.  The Justice System would call it "speculation."  Anyone who knows your history of posting will call it "bias."

JamesB
JamesB

@PackersFanNumeroUno  Do some research about age.  You'll find that it has something to do with body breakdown, too.  

will59
will59

@Redskins  

I don't think the guys "happily" answered questions about Woods, but that's all they got from reporters for about a 5-year period.

"Here's Ernie Els, who shot 63 today: Ernie, what did you think of Tigers' round today?"

gambit14
gambit14

@rememberwhatbushdid A lot of people are saying for him to go back to Butch.  I wonder if Butch will take him back.  With all the drama that's gone on around him for the past few years, I do not hear anyone willing to coach him. Maybe that is why he's sticking with Foley because he's burned some bridges along the way.

The_Sports_Dude
The_Sports_Dude

@Joebuckster @Chris8 Exactly.  What set Tiger apart from his peers was that Tiger was always about chasing down Jack Nicklaus, while his peers ended up chasing Tiger.  That isn't to say that Tiger's peers weren't incredibly talented golfers in their own right, but there's difference between competing against today's best and competing against history.

BDickson
BDickson

@Joebuckster @NotDaveFeherty  


I think your argument has merit in that you would expect players ahead of Tiger to fall if he was so intimidating, but that does not consider he was intimidating with a small lead or tied for the lead. Since he was rarely caught from behind, even when shooting par or a couple under in the final round, I think you could make a case for an intimidation factor. No one rose to the challenge, so was that the ineptitude of the trailing players, Tiger's intimidation factor, or a combination of both??

nutz4golf
nutz4golf

@will59 @Redskins And please remember, their financial advisors were also telling them to speak kindly of him.

Stephen35
Stephen35

@PackersFanNumeroUno @JamesB Yes Packer Fan. His 5 wins last year definitely indicate that Tiger is finished and irrelevant. Farve = Guaranteed vicodin user and texter of his man parts.

nutz4golf
nutz4golf

@Redskins @will59 Jack and Arnie have had a whole bunch of favorable comments regarding Tiger over the years. And they have also not been shy about voicing their opinions about his less then good decisions.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@Redskins @will59 No - Jack and Arnie would have beaten the pants off of the kid, and they'd be answering questions about their own round.

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