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Hank Haney discusses leaving Tiger Woods

Published:

Updated: June 30, 2010, 12:43 PM ET

Haney discusses leaving Woods

ESPN.com news services

Hank Haney, Tiger Woods' swing coach who parted ways with the world's No. 1 golfer in May, told Golf Digest in an interview that his relationship with Woods "didn't get dysfunctional; it always was dysfunctional."

In a wide-ranging interview in the magazine's August issue, Haney said that he worked with Woods intermittently and that Woods didn't plan ahead much (leaving Haney to speculate when he would need to travel to meet Woods). He also indicated his relationship with Woods was rocky at the 2010 Masters.

 

According to Haney, after Saturday's round at Augusta National, Woods told Haney he was unhappy with how he'd played despite being in contention. "Then on Sunday when he warmed up, he wasn't open to suggestions. He wasn't asking what he should do."

Haney said they talked only two times after that. "That was his way of blaming me," Haney said in the interview. "Maybe I'm reading too much into it; maybe I'm being too sensitive. But when someone doesn't talk to you ... ."

After they left Augusta National, Haney said he sent Woods an e-mail with suggestions on what he needed to work on. "I got no acknowledgement at all, but that wasn't unusual," Haney said. "Then it got to the point where I didn't know what he was doing or thinking. Yet the whole time he was telling the media I was still his teacher and that I was going to continue to be his teacher and I was talking to him every night."

Haney told Golf Digest he thought Woods was surprised when he decided to part ways on the day after The Players, where Woods withdrew with a neck injury during the final round.

"I think he was quite surprised, but that really would be a question for him," Haney said. "This was something I'd been thinking about for a long time. I knew that this was not going to last forever."

Haney was Woods' coach for six years. During that time, Woods won six of his 14 major championships. 

 

"Six years for a coach is a long, long time," Haney said. "How many baseball managers or football coaches make it six years? Not many. The difference in my case is, it was my decision."

Haney told Golf Digest that Woods doesn't need a coach for his swing. "He needs what a friend can offer," Haney said. "Whether he values my friendship and whether he feels I can offer anything as a friend, that's up to him."

Haney said he was in China when Woods was involved in an auto accident outside of his home in the early-morning hours after Thanksgiving. Woods' life then became tabloid fodder, as stories of marital infidelity surfaced. Woods spent time in a rehabilitation clinic.

Haney said he didn't see Woods in person between that day and March 8, as Woods prepared to return to golf at the Masters.

"I'm proud of Tiger for accepting responsibility and getting some help," Haney said in the Golf Digest interview. "I think that's all a man can do. There was one report that said I left him because I was morally against what he did. That's not true. I really believe that everybody makes mistakes. You take responsibility for your mistakes and try to come back, and he truthfully has. I don't like what Tiger did, but I give him credit for accepting responsibility and trying to get better."

He also said that he was present at four of the five sessions where controversial Dr. Anthony Galea treated Woods. Galea is a Canadian doctor who has been charged by U.S. and Canadian officials with conspiracy, smuggling, unlawful distribution of human growth hormone and introducing the unapproved drug Actovegin into interstate commerce. Woods has denied taking any illegal substances, and Haney backed him up. "There was never anything that went into Tiger Woods' body that didn't come out of his body," Haney said.

Haney stressed he still considers Woods a friend.

"It's the greatest opportunity a teacher could ever have," Haney told Golf Digest. "I'm so thankful for it. It's just incredible. I learned so much. The experiences were almost indescribable. I got to stand next to and watch the greatest golfer who ever lived."

Entry #2,783

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