Tiger aimed to 'give up golf to be a Navy Seal'
Book by former world No 1's coach reveals Woods's obsession with US special forces
Tiger Woods was ready to give up golf to join the special forces by becoming a Navy Seal. That is the astonishing claim made by his long-time coach Hank Haney.
Woods won six of his 14 majors under Haney, but if the latter is to be believed he was on the brink of giving up his long-time pursuit of Jack Nicklaus's record major haul of 18 to emulate his father. Earl Woods was in the special forces and actually named his son after a pilot he met when on a tour of duty in the Vietnam War. Tiger gave a speech at Barack Obama's inauguration in which he paid tribute to the military.
"Tiger was seriously considering becoming a Navy Seal," writes Haney in the book Big Miss due to be published next month. "I didn't know how he'd go about it but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan... I thought 'Wow ! Here is Tiger Woods, the greatest athlete on the planet, maybe the greatest athlete ever, right in the middle of his prime, ready to leave it all behind for a military life'."
Woods eventually decided against enlisting, but Haney also reveals his former pupil's fascination with the special forces. In an excerpt appearing in Golf Digest, the American magazine, Haney says the obsession threatened to be self-detrimental at times; particularly when he underwent four days of special-ops training when recovering from knee surgery.
"Tiger did two tandem parachute jumps, engaged in hand-to-hand exercise, went on four-mile runs wearing combat boots and did drills in a wind tunnel," says Haney. "Tiger loved it, but his therapist... went crazy worrying about the further damage Tiger might be doing to his knee."
Woods and Haney split up in 2010 in the wake of the sex scandal which rocked Tiger's world. The relationship has become increasingly acrimonious since, with Woods's new coach, Sean Foley, becoming involved in a spat through the media. When Woods discovered Haney was writing a book – interestingly enough with Golf Digest's Jaime Diaz, one of the few journalists ever to get close to Tiger – he reacted with fury.
Seeing as Woods likes to remain guarded to the point of paranoia, he will not appreciate these "revelations". He might also be concerned about what else is in the book. Golf Digest used to employ Woods before he left after his extra-marital behaviour emerged. Do not expect any reconciliation soon.
Woods had been called fearless, Haney recalls. "But the more I observed him close up the more it became clear he wasn't," says Haney. "He'd remind me that he never considered himself a good driver... 'That's why my name is Woods,' he'd joke. 'Maybe it would have been different if I'd been named Fairway'."
Latest in Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo: Unhappy forward is ready to quit Real Madrid, according to Angel Di Maria
Commonwealth Games 2014: Australia launch Glasgow swimwear - but are criticised for drawing attention to the 'crotch' area
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Jurgen Klopp concerned with Dortmund injuries and praises signings of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez: The many (animated) faces of Arsenal's Chilean forward
Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United: Ramon Calderon claims Real Madrid star is 'fed up'
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
- 5 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke