10 Minute Golf: Hank Haney’s “The Big Miss” and Coaching Tiger Woods

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Hank Haney’s newest book, The Big Miss, in which Haney writes about his years coaching one of the greatest athletes in history, Tiger Woods.  In The Big Miss, Haney shares private experiences, which many believe violate the unspoken code of the teacher and player relationship.  Although Haney and Woods had no written agreement about the privacy of their relationship, I believe as a teacher that there is an unwritten rule that Haney broke.

Haney insists the underlying factor behind writing the book was to share his, “memories” behind Tiger’s greatness. Here are some notes and quotes from the book. You be the judge.

Obsession with Fitness

Wood’s had an infatuation with the Navy Seals and endured training, which Hank believed was the cause for Tiger tearing his ACL, as well as many other career-threating injuries.  When Haney confronted Woods about engaging in these exercises Woods replied, “I am satisfied with what I’ve done in my career”.


Hank spent six years working for Tiger.  Each year Hank would spend most of the year traveling and working with him.  Tiger paid Hank $50,000 a year plus expenses with a bonus of $25,000 for every major championship won.  Haney claims it wasn’t about the money, and he would have taught him for free.

Fellow Competitors

Tiger did not always get along with everyone he played with.  Ian Poulter was one of those people.  After a practice round for the US Open, Poulter freeloads a ride back home on Tigers private jet.  Haney goes on to describe the text message Tiger sent him about Poulter’s imposition.

The Popsicle 

Tiger is a big fan of popsicles after dinner.  Haney describes how Tiger would always get a popsicle out of the freezer and never offer him one.  One evening Haney had a craving for one, “I didn’t feel right just going to the refrigerator and taking one, and I kind of started laughing to myself at how hesitant I was to ask Tiger for one. It actually took me a while to summon the courage to blurt out, ‘Hey, Bud, do you think I could have one of those popsicles?’”


Tiger’s Humor

South Park was Tiger’s favorite TV series according to Haney.  After Tiger’s extramarital affairs, the cartoon did a skit making light of Tiger.   Haney writes, “He liked it so much that in the aftermath of his public scandal, when a Tiger Woods character was lampooned in one of the episodes, Tiger confessed to me that he laughed and actually seemed proud to have made the show.

I question Haney’s motive behind writing the book.  Prior to the release, several excerpts were leaked which seemed like an obviously marketing ploy to help publicize the book.  This strategy exposes Haney’s true intentions.  In his final chapter, “Summing Up,” Haney cites a wish list including, “I wish Tiger had come back from rehab a different person. Not a lot different, just a little warmer and more open…I realize now that as hard as I tried to understand Tiger, he tried just as hard not to let me.”  It is a good thing for Tiger that he resisted; otherwise the book could have been a little more interesting.

Darren deMaille is the Head Golf Professional at The Bridge in Bridgehampton, NY. Prior to The Bridge, Darren worked at The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla. and The Country Club of Fairfield in Fairfield, Conn. Darren has had many top 100 instructors influence his philosophy but most of his principles are based on Jack Nicklaus’ way to play golf. 

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