It’s funny how fast all the golf pundits who thought a golf coach was breaking some sort of perceived code — as if he were a paid medical professional breaking the hippocratic oath or a barrister defying client-lawyer privilege — got down off their high horse long enough to review Hank Haney’s hit book, The Big Miss.
It was almost as fast as some who made a cottage industry out of telling us why Tiger was finished over the past couple years climbed back on the bandwagon when Woods finally closed the deal on a full-field PGA Tour event after a 924-day absence from the winner’s circle.
As for Haney’s book, let’s throw the ethical question out the window. Whether or not you think he should have written it is irrelevant: He did.
Some have said Haney was financially motivated, but, aside from his reported paltry salary of $50,000 a year while working with Woods, that argument doesn’t really hold water. The guy does well on his own — no doubt using some of the notoriety he gleaned from his former top student — and it’s not like he was destitute.
Haney keeps saying on his press tour and on Twitter that he wrote the book because the story is his, too. And, despite early leaks to the contrary, it isn’t really a true Kitty Kelley-style sendup of his old boss. He pays a lot of deference to Tiger, not denying the fact that he is the best, yet at the same time showing the cost of such greatness.
The question is, are we comfortable knowing the other — and maybe not-so-flattering — side of our sporting heroes?
Haney had a good point when, during an interview on TSN 1050 radio Wednesday, he was asked who, now, would be writing the book about him.
“I don’t think anyone would read that book,” he said.
And, like it or not, plenty of people are reading about Tiger.
HADWIN FELT IT COMING
Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., said last week his game was turning around and he was able to go out and show that with a decent showing at the Nationwide Tour’s Chitimacha Louisiana Open.
Hadwin, who started the year with a pair of missed cuts but felt his game was there going into last week, showed flashes of being at the top of his game before faltering a bit on Sunday to finish tied for 18th with a disappointing final-round 73.
Hadwin never led but got as high as second place with strong play in the first three rounds, including a 63 on Friday.
“I just needed a few tournaments to get back into things,” Hadwin said last week. “I know that I can compete out here and I know that, when I’m playing my best, I’ll have the good finishes.”
Edmonton’s Brad Fritsch was the top Canadian, firing a blistering final-round 62 to finish tied for fifth and, more importantly, move into the top 25 on the money list, vaulting to 16th.
Hadwin took a pretty nice leap too, going from 108th to 68th.
BIG PUSH FOR ELS
Good on Ernie Els for pushing to make it into the Masters on the merits of his game, not on his vaunted past.
Last week during the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Els said that if he didn’t win or get into the top 50 in the world ranking to earn his invite to Augusta, then “so be it.”
If the three-time major winner somehow can make it into the field at the Masters, however, you have to wonder if the 42-year-old will have enough left in his tank. Needing a win this week at the Shell Houston Open in a last-ditch attempt to get to Augusta could take its toll on the Big Easy, and he knows it.
“Two years ago (2010), I won Miami and I won here, then I went to Houston where I shouldn’t have gone and I ran out of steam just before Augusta,” Els said at Bay Hill.
Having said that, no one is going to turn down an invite.
“It’s their tournament, whatever they want.”
ON A ROLL
So, what does the win at Bay Hill mean for Woods?
He always was a contender for the Masters and now he seems to have some momentum coming into the tournament next week.
In two of the four years Woods has won the Masters (2001 and 2002) he also had won at Bay Hill.
“I’ve won here on a few occasions going into Augusta which has always been a good feeling,” Woods said Sunday.
In all four years he won at Augusta, he played well in the weeks surrounding the event.
In 2005, he won at Doral, the week before Bay Hill, and in 1997, he won the week after the Masters.
With a tie for second and a victory in March, the momentum can’t hurt.
The best line I read after Woods’ breakthrough win last week came from Canada’s own funnyman Gerry Dee:
“Congrats to Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren who each won $500,040 at this week’s PGA event at Bay Hill,” Dee wrote on Facebook.
ON THE TEE
Shell Houston Open
Redstone Golf Club, Tournament Course (7,457 yards, par 72), Humble, Tex.
* Can Ernie Els win his berth into the Masters? Defending champ Phil Mickelson gets in one last tune-up for the year’s first major.
Kraft Nabisco Championship
Mission Hills Country Club, Dinah Shore Tournament Course (6,738 yards, par 72), Rancho Mirage, Calif.
* Yani Tseng goes for her first major of the season, and third consecutive victory.
Verdura Golf and Spa Resort (7,375 yards, par 72), Agrigento, Sicily.