Now the rumour mill turns on Woods 'split' with coach Haney - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Now the rumour mill turns on Woods 'split' with coach Haney

There have been many rumours of a parting of the ways in the life of Tiger Woods of late, but as he teed off in the second round of the Players Championship here yesterday the gossip featured the world No 1 splitting with his long-time coach.

Woods has been working with Hank Haney since 2004 and in this time has won six of his 14 majors. It has hardly been a fruitless partnership, so why the whispers? Just because he missed his sixth cut in 14 years as a professional last week? That would seem rather harsh, given that before this week he had played six competitive rounds in more than five months and that four of them happened to be classed as "heroic" in earning him fourth place at last month's Masters.

But where there's Woods there's talk, and in this regard the player himself did nothing to dismiss the speculation. In fact, after signing for a first-round 70 – which incidentally equalled his best opening round in almost a decade and a half of playing in golf's richest event – Woods convinced many journalists that a sacking was imminent.

When asked what he was doing differently here, Woods replied: "I feel I can draw the ball now. At Augusta, I couldn't draw the ball at all. I was just kind of scrapping it with kind of a cut, and trying to get it around. When I'm swinging well, I'm manoeuvring that ball from right to left and it feels good."

"So you figured out this for yourself?" came the follow-up question. "Yeah, yeah," replied Woods.

The implication was that Woods had something to fix and did not go to Haney to do the fixing. So two was inevitably added to two – particularly when it was realised that Haney is not in Jacksonville this week – to make "shown the door". This isn't the first time Haney has apparently been hours from a painful call, though it could be the worst time.

Johnny Miller, the former major winner and NBC analyst, had whipped up this storm with his comments on Wednesday. "It might be a little harsh, but I really believe he needs to, every night, watch the US Open in the year 2000 at Pebble [Beach] and just copy that swing and forget the Haney stuff," Miller said. "He either needs a new, fresh, teacher or just to go back to what is natural to his game. What he is working on now, I believe, is ... no disrespect for Hank Haney, but it is not working."

For his part, Haney seems exasperated by the constant rumour-mongering. He has revealed that he has recently received his quarterly cheque – "You don't pay someone for the next quarter and then fire them the next day, do you?" he said to Golf Week – as well as pointing out that he has rarely accompanied Woods on the tour circuit.

"His clubs are the same, his coach is the same, his caddie is the same, his putter is the same. What's changed?" Haney said. "I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses. I think it's obvious that he has a lot of things going on in his life. I'm sure that if people will give him a little bit of a chance that he'll [be] back to playing golf the way he knows he can."

For the moment, however, the lapses of concentration look set to continue, manifesting notably in erratic driving. His first 10 holes made a bizarre set of numbers: four birdies, three pars, two bogeys and a double-bogey. It meant he was level for the day, two-under for the event and 10 behind the pace-setter at that stage, Ryan Moore.

For Britain, Lee Westwood was doing best out of the morning starters yesterday, getting down to nine under after eight holes.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones