July 20, 2024


I Fall For Art

A Review Of ‘THE BIG MISS’: Learning From Hank Haney

The Big Miss is a record of one of golf’s greatest coaches time spent coaching one of golf’s greatest athletes of our generation, Tiger Woods.

Hank Haney offers his readers a great insight into the complex personality of Tiger without embellishments.

While there is a great deal of praise for Tiger’s abilities, there are also no shirking from a coaches’ honest assessment of those elements that hinder even the greatest from achieving their fullest potential.

An impartial assessment of Hank Haney’s record attests that he is one of the greatest golf coaches of our day. His detailed account of the time spent coaching one of golf’s greatest is not without a little self-serving braggadocio. Yet it should be acknowledged that in this writer’s opinion, he takes neither undeserved license nor is he ‘over the top’ in his personal references.

It was surprising for me to learn that Mr. Haney’s assessment of Tiger’s short game was “mediocre”. He attributed this more to Tiger’s course management rather than his innate ability. Under Haney’s tutelage, Woods improved to become one of the top ten short gamers on the tour.

There is in The Big Miss a good deal of human interest. Haney’s tenure was during some of the darkest moments of Tiger’s personal life from his career suspending broken leg, to his addiction/treatment and destruction of his family life.

To Haney’s credit, he does not take judgmental cheap shots and even records some of his inadvertent faux pauxs that upset Woods during this difficult time in his career.

One other surprising revelation in The Big Miss is the nature of the rivalry between Phil Mickelson and Tiger. It is to be expected that a professional rivalry exists between these two top competitors.

However, what was not as evident in the public persona that Tiger presented, Haney’s description of the relationship between these icons suggests that Tiger holds a somewhat disdainful attitude toward Mickelson.

Haney believed that the difference in the way that they handled the public seemed to be a point of irritation for Tiger. Phil’s engaging personality and relationship with his fan base is far different compared to Tiger’s style of aloofness.

Though Haney did not venture far into the reasons for the disdain, he did not think that it was a matter of jealousy as much as a matter of style that Tiger simply found irritating.

Coach Haney does take time to defend himself against the critics of his coaching style. He identifies himself as having much of the same personality traits as Tiger that compels them both to search for valid measures of improvement.

Haney clearly admires Tiger Wood’s abilities and considers his time spent with one of the greatest golfers of all time, the greatest time of his coaching career.

Overall, I found The Big Miss a fascinating glimpse into the world of two of golf’s greatest characters who have done much in their respective roles to elevate the game of golf.