An insider’s look at a champion’s rise and fall.
There’s something both profoundly sad and profoundly satisfying about watching a former spouse, partner or friend crumble. So it is with Haney, host of the Golf Channel show The Haney Project, who opens with a vignette of standing 10 feet from his student Tiger Woods at the 2010 Masters and getting—well, nothing except blown off. “He’s become less of a golfer,” Haney concludes, “and he’s never going to be the same again.” As well known now for personal scandal and strange shortcomings as for a particularly brilliant approach to the game of golf, Woods emerges here as a mercurial, difficult character who meets discipline with indiscipline and genius with mulishness. Over the years, Haney corrected strokes and stances, taught the geography of the course, and issued pointed critiques. All this will be meaningful to golf aficionados, though the big news for less tee-crazed types comes with Woods’ apparent efforts to become a Navy SEAL and leave golf behind. “There is a strong likelihood,” writes Haney portentously, “that a Kill House is where Tiger did serious damage to his career.” Read the book for details of said Kill House, but be warned that the indifferently written narrative is stocked with standard sports clichés, though full of junkie-pleasing stats—e.g., “In nine official events on the 2011 PGA Tour, Tiger hit only 48.9 percent of his fairways, a career-low number in driving accuracy that ranked him 186th on the tour.”
Woods has won big and lost bigger, and not just on the green, and he probably merits a more insightful book—though Haney does provide some good tips for would-be pros.