LOS ANGELES, USA, February 28 – Tiger Woods began to lose some of his swagger back in 2007 as he chased Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record of 18 majors, former swing coach Hank Haney wrote in his new book.
Writing in “The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods”, Haney says Woods’ pursuit of Nicklaus was taking its toll and that the former world number one also toyed with the idea of leaving it all behind and joining the US military.
Woods, who tees it up this week at the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic starting Thursday, now has 14 majors while Nicklaus has 18.
“There was more urgency and less fun. He never mentioned Nicklaus’ record, but it started to weigh more heavily at every major,” Haney wrote. “And Tiger’s actions indicated he believed he had less time to do it than everyone thought.”
Excerpts of the book, which is written with writer Jaime Diaz, were released on Tuesday by Golf Digest magazine.
Haney also wrote that Woods lacked confidence in certain aspects of his game.
“One of the adjectives most often used to describe Tiger Woods was fearless. But the more I observed him close up, the more it became clear he wasn’t,” the excerpt said.
“Sometimes, to make it less of a big deal, he’d remind me that he had never considered himself a particularly good driver, at least in comparison with the rest of his game. ‘That’s why my name is Woods,’ he’d joke. ‘Maybe it would have been different if I’d been named Fairway.'”
Haney also wrote Woods wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the American military and was especially attracted to the Navy SEALs. Woods’ father, Earl, was in the army and fought in the Vietnam War.
“I didn’t know how he’d go about it, but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan,” Haney wrote. “I thought, ‘wow, here is Tiger Woods, greatest athlete on the planet, maybe the greatest athlete ever, right in the middle of his prime, basically ready to leave it all behind for a military life.'”