DENVER (CBS4) – When Tiger Woods was at his best, Hank Haney was there with him. But now the two have gone their separate ways, and when throwing a party, invite one, not both.
Haney is ubiquitous in the golf world. Whether it’s teaching celebrities like Charles Barkley, or his latest venture — pitching the new line of golf shoes by the Niwot-based company Crocs, Haney is everywhere, and he wouldn’t be if it weren’t for Woods.
“Without a doubt it’s helped me tremendously. I’ve coached over 200 touring pros, but there wasn’t anyone like Tiger Woods,” Haney told CBS4’s Eric Christensen. “So it definitely has elevated me in my profession and Tiger’s record was better than at any time during his career while I helped him certainly over that period of time. So I think it was good for both of us. But definitely I think it was great for Hank Haney, no doubt about that.”
So the golfing world was a bit surprised when Haney wrote a controversial book detailing his time with Woods. Most teachers feel the student-coach relationship is taboo.
Haney admitted he got a lot of criticism from peers, colleagues and some friends.
“I knew that some people might have that opinion, but I thought once they read book, I thought they’ll realize that it’s very fair and honest,” Haney said. “In order to be an honest book there couldn’t be just all positive things in there. But the number one comment that I get, even from Tiger Woods fans, it that ‘I’m a huge fan and I’m a bigger fan now that I’ve read the book.’ ”
Haney had a front row seat for six of Woods’ 14 major championships. He was also there for the rise of and the fall of the game’s best player.
“I expected him to be different. You’re not going to be as incredibly great as he was and then be just like everyone else,” Haney said. “So I always looked at everything that was different about him, not in a bad way, but in a way that I thought, ‘This is something that helps make up the package that is Tiger Woods.’ ”
Christensen asked Haney about his current relationship with Woods.
“I haven’t talked to Tiger. The thing is, when you have a relationship that’s based on business and friendship, and you get to the end of the business relationship, I think things always get a little blurry no matter who it is,” he said. “With Tiger I think they tend to get even a little more blurry.”
Since Woods and Haney parted ways Woods has been the butt of jokes and the focus of much criticism, while Haney has continued to thrive. Despite the fact that the two no longer have any kind of relationship, Haney is still in Woods’ corner.
“I want to see him do good; I just expect that he’s going to start stepping it up,” he said. “He’s just too good, he’s just too talented, he has too much experience. There are just so many things he has going in his favor.”
Haney says that Woods is the last pro he’ll ever coach. He spends his time now managing several golf academies for junior golfers.
Woods is still gunning towards capturing more majors than Jack Nicklaus. He’ll tee it up this week at The Memorial, and then try for his 15th career major at the U.S. Open beginning June 14.