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Hank Haney's Book "The Big Miss" about his time teaching Tiger - Page 20

post #343 of 420

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post

I don't believe Hank was complimentary of Butch, he said some nice things but in a backhanded sort of way.  Hank was quite vocal about not liking how Tigers backswing would cross the line with Butch, and how Butch was loud and always trying to garner attention.  He later goes on to say how he believed Tiger was attracted to Hank because HH was quiet and content to sit off to the side. 

 

You're also minimizing the references HH makes about Tigers personal life.  While not the primary topic of many chapters, Hank manages to sneak in details about Tigers personal life as filler for many of the points he was discussing in each chapter.  One example is when HH discussed Tigers relationship with Steve Williams, their relationship had nothing to do with Hank but Hank felt the need to include them and indicate how Steve and Hank were allies and how Steve didn't like Butch. 

 

I guess it depends on how you interpret HH's words. HH clearly stated that Butch was also working on fixing Tiger's top of the backswing position and felt a lot of his work was a continuation of the work he was doing under Butch.

 

Yes, he mentioned that Butch liked to be the centre of attention and that he felt it was a distraction for Tiger. He didn't say Steve didn't like Butch, just that he also felt his eagerness to be the centre of attention was impacting negatively on Tiger. After all, we can see throughout the book how Tiger craves his own space and recoils from the limelight.

post #344 of 420

Butch is "denigrating" Haney now? And Hank was only complimentary to Butch? Oh brother. b2_tongue.gif

post #345 of 420

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

Butch is "denigrating" Haney now? And Hank was only complimentary to Butch? Oh brother. b2_tongue.gif

 

Butch needs to grow thicker skin if he is offended by anything HH has written about him. He probably felt uncomfortable reading the parts about himself "creating a circus around Tiger" because the truth hurts. However, he seems mainly to be against the idea of a coach writing a book about his time with a student. I am fine with that opinion and am still undecided myself as to what sort of "unwritten rule" HH has broken. Personally, I would have erred on the side of caution and 1) not written the book or 2) written the book after Tiger retired. Having said that, the book is extremely low on juice anyway. 

post #346 of 420

Based on the quote it appears someone asked him his opinion so I'm not sure why you feel he needs thicker skin.  He appears to have answered the question honestly where I guess he could have just said no comment.  Butch had the opportunity to write a similar book so he can be jealous of HH. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Pharaoh View Post

Butch needs to grow thicker skin if he is offended by anything HH has written about him. He probably felt uncomfortable reading the parts about himself "creating a circus around Tiger" because the truth hurts. However, he seems mainly to be against the idea of a coach writing a book about his time with a student. I am fine with that opinion and am still undecided myself as to what sort of "unwritten rule" HH has broken. Personally, I would have erred on the side of caution and 1) not written the book or 2) written the book after Tiger retired. Having said that, the book is extremely low on juice anyway. 

 

 

post #347 of 420

Oops, newtogolf kinda said it.

 

I don't think Butch needs a "thicker skin."

post #348 of 420
I finally got a copy from the library on Friday, and I've been reading it as time permits. About half-way through now.

The first thing that struck me was how much is based on Hank's imagination. I didn't count, but it seems that there are more times where Hank just "knows" something than Tiger actually saying it. There are many times where he says something along the lines of, "Although Tiger never said it, I always felt he thought X." He even does it with Steve --- if their eyes meet on the range while they're watching Tiger hit balls, it means Steve is thinking the same thing that Hank is.

Even when he finds out he's wrong, he just switches to a second attempt at mind-reading. In the notorious popsicle incident, Haney was afraid Tiger would get angry at him for asking for a popsicle. When he finally does, Tiger's reaction isn't anger, but amazement that a grown man, who is a guest in his house, should be afraid to ask for a damn popsicle. And yet, Haney concludes that it's a great example of how selfish Tiger is.

The other main thing was how almost everybody who has commented on the book negatively has focused on the non-golf stuff. Everybody, including me before I started reading, seems to think that Haney should have stuck to golf, and left Tiger's family and personal relations out of it. But when I started reading the parts that *were* about golf (you first had to slog through a not very interesting biography of Haney himself), I thought that they were just as big a "betrayal of trust" as anything Haney revealed about Tiger's home life. Maybe more.

Because by Haney's own account, Tiger has devoted his professional life to being a closed book to the public, press, and competitors. He wants them to think of him as a relentless golf machine. And Haney pretty much destroys that persona, talking about how Tiger doesn't know all that much about his swing or how to fix it, doesn't have that great a short game, is actually afraid of his driver, etc. And he also reveals a lot about his practice routines and the like.

To me, this is kind of like an engineer for Intel quitting his job and going to work for AMD, and bringing confidential documents with him --- which was an actual court case last month. I honestly think that the golf aspect of the book will upset Tiger more than anything Haney said about Elin, since it was hardly news that their marriage was in trouble. But it was news to me, and evidently to students of the game like Brandel Chamblee, who constantly criticizes Tiger for changing his swing, that Tiger had no choice. He didn't change his swing because he is constantly striving to get better; he changed it because he couldn't score with it any more. And he finally hired Haney because he couldn't fix whatever was wrong by himself.

By the way, Butch Harmon is hypocritical to criticize Haney for "breach of trust," since he gave Phil all of Tiger's gamesmanship secrets after Tiger fired him. Another Intel-AMD scenario, in my opinion.

I'll have more to say when I've finished the book.
post #349 of 420

You made some good observations - I give HH a pass on the golf stuff because he was a participant in it at least.  I agree it's still wrong, but I'd prefer that over his attempt to psycho analyze everything Tiger did and delve into his personal life.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by brocks View Post

I finally got a copy from the library on Friday, and I've been reading it as time permits. About half-way through now.
 

 

 

post #350 of 420
I've only read just over half the book (further review later) but can't help commenting now.

Yes, there's a bit too much (for my liking) about HH's early career in the early going. Better to save that for another book (the autobio). But on the main charges leveled against him by Butch etc, frankly it's a crock. He never hits the ball out of bounds, as it were, but he certainly reveals a lot about his view of Tiger's state of mind at various junctures, as well as swing issues and medical problems. Also there's the whole Navy Seals issue that is certainly a revelation, and highly significant I would say. Obviously, we're getting HH's opinion on everything (what the heck else do you expect ...) including the psych stuff, but we all know the importance of mental issues in golf so it's all OK with me. Not to have addressed everything would have been a cop-out.

If TW was dead set against any such revealing tome he should have put in a contract, obviously. Boner by Steinberg in that case. HH fully recognizes the exceptionalism of TW, which was a challenge for him (Haney) as well as an advantage as coach. HH comes across to me as intelligent, thoughtful and suprisingly honest at times. He does not shrink from certain anecdotes or passages which might be considered unflattering to him, including some of his own shortcomings or personal challenges.

This book will stand the test of time, and not because it is about the great TW. Haney has done the golfing community a favor (provisional conclusion, I'm on pg. 173) by writing such a book. If some of the characters in it (Steve, Steinberg, Butch, Elin, Mark O'Meara, Tiger himself) disagree strongly with anything they should say so at some point. Of course Haney will make money off of it, and so he should.

Life is complicated, Tiger is complicated - this book reflects those facts.

Buy it and read it - then post your thoughts. I have been bookmarking pages of particular interest for later review. There's a ton of material here to chew on.
post #351 of 420
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post

You made some good observations - I give HH a pass on the golf stuff because he was a participant in it at least.  I agree it's still wrong, but I'd prefer that over his attempt to psycho analyze everything Tiger did and delve into his personal life.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by brocks View Post

I finally got a copy from the library on Friday, and I've been reading it as time permits. About half-way through now.
 

 

 

The psychoanalysis, that I've read so far, is all directly relevant to Tiger's golf. Without it the book would have been much, much weaker. I think that Haney has a fair grasp of his limitations as an analyst and we know when he is speculating.

If he had wished, Haney could have written a sensationalizing book feeding on the voyeurism of ( mostly) non-golfers. He did not do that and retains my respect - indeed it has increased. The book has its shortcomings, to be discussed when it's done and dusted.
post #352 of 420
Well, there is a fair amount of off-golf, personal material in "Quitting" (chapter 7), some of which seems unnecessary or overintrusive, and sometimes a bit defensive on Haney's part. And H. spends too much time justifying his work product vs. Butch's with relative stats, devoting much of the last chapter ("Adding It Up") to this. Because of the different challenges faced by the two coaches in their respective situations, such a detailed comparison seems like over-interpretation of the data. He acknowledges this to some extent, but not enough. Of course he is writing for the historical record, to defend his role in TW's career - understandable but a bit too self-serving for my taste. So for these reasons the book was a bit disappointing towards the end, but overall it's a fascinating read. Yes, a great deal has to be taken on trust (or not, if you don't trust ....), I'd like to hear what some of the other actors - like Steve - have to say. If they've signed confidentiality agreements, that isn't going to happen.
post #353 of 420

Excellent posts, Chas.

post #354 of 420

Interesting comments.  I totally agree that HH fails to support many of his assertions.  I wonder if it's total speculation, or if he is omitting the source of his information because he feels the conversation which supports his assertion was too private?  Because he certainly would have been in position to hear and know things, we really can't say for sure that he doesn't know them, but the passages are, on their face, unsupported.  I chalked this up to really bad writing.

 

I hadn't considered revealing Tiger's mental game to be a breach.  Golf is so mental, a swing coach is also part psychiatrist (in a sense).  I guess anyone watching the tour can see Tiger getting laid off at the top, but only his coach--or someone he's spending a lot of time with--is going to know the mental aspects behind that.  I just considered that part of the golf, but you raise an interesting point.  I think the corporate piracy argument is a little bit of a stretch, but it's an interesting take.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by brocks View Post

I finally got a copy from the library on Friday, and I've been reading it as time permits. About half-way through now.
The first thing that struck me was how much is based on Hank's imagination. I didn't count, but it seems that there are more times where Hank just "knows" something than Tiger actually saying it. There are many times where he says something along the lines of, "Although Tiger never said it, I always felt he thought X." He even does it with Steve --- if their eyes meet on the range while they're watching Tiger hit balls, it means Steve is thinking the same thing that Hank is.
Even when he finds out he's wrong, he just switches to a second attempt at mind-reading. In the notorious popsicle incident, Haney was afraid Tiger would get angry at him for asking for a popsicle. When he finally does, Tiger's reaction isn't anger, but amazement that a grown man, who is a guest in his house, should be afraid to ask for a damn popsicle. And yet, Haney concludes that it's a great example of how selfish Tiger is.
The other main thing was how almost everybody who has commented on the book negatively has focused on the non-golf stuff. Everybody, including me before I started reading, seems to think that Haney should have stuck to golf, and left Tiger's family and personal relations out of it. But when I started reading the parts that *were* about golf (you first had to slog through a not very interesting biography of Haney himself), I thought that they were just as big a "betrayal of trust" as anything Haney revealed about Tiger's home life. Maybe more.
Because by Haney's own account, Tiger has devoted his professional life to being a closed book to the public, press, and competitors. He wants them to think of him as a relentless golf machine. And Haney pretty much destroys that persona, talking about how Tiger doesn't know all that much about his swing or how to fix it, doesn't have that great a short game, is actually afraid of his driver, etc. And he also reveals a lot about his practice routines and the like.
To me, this is kind of like an engineer for Intel quitting his job and going to work for AMD, and bringing confidential documents with him --- which was an actual court case last month. I honestly think that the golf aspect of the book will upset Tiger more than anything Haney said about Elin, since it was hardly news that their marriage was in trouble. But it was news to me, and evidently to students of the game like Brandel Chamblee, who constantly criticizes Tiger for changing his swing, that Tiger had no choice. He didn't change his swing because he is constantly striving to get better; he changed it because he couldn't score with it any more. And he finally hired Haney because he couldn't fix whatever was wrong by himself.
 

 

post #355 of 420

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas View Post

Life is complicated, Tiger is complicated - this book reflects those facts.
 

 

 If you can sum it up in one sentence, this is a pretty good one.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas View Post


The psychoanalysis, that I've read so far, is all directly relevant to Tiger's golf. Without it the book would have been much, much weaker. I think that Haney has a fair grasp of his limitations as an analyst and we know when he is speculating.
If he had wished, Haney could have written a sensationalizing book feeding on the voyeurism of ( mostly) non-golfers. He did not do that and retains my respect - indeed it has increased. The book has its shortcomings, to be discussed when it's done and dusted.

 

I found the psychoanalysis to be somewhat tiresome.  He was continuously commenting on what motivated Tiger, what Tiger was thinking, and why Tiger did certain things.  HH might have had solid bases for his conclusions, but they weren't presented in the book.  Too many of these were conclusory for me to really put much stock in it.  But, I agree that without much of HH's analysis of Tiger's insecurities and predispositions in his golf swing (most of which were mental), the book would have been much thinner on content.  (I.e. the putting:  talking about how Tiger's putting was a lot of his dad, and after Tiger's dad died, his putting lost a step, and he lost motivation to work on it.  I found this was an interesting observation and perspective, and it was obvious that HH had a lot of knowledge about why Tiger putted, and practiced his putting, the way he did.  However, linking the putting woes to his dad...that was odd, conclusory, and I'm not sure what I think about it.) 

 

Totally agree that HH left a LOT out of this book that he could have, and would have, included if he was simply trying to trash Tiger and sell a sensational book.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas View Post

Well, there is a fair amount of off-golf, personal material in "Quitting" (chapter 7), some of which seems unnecessary or overintrusive, and sometimes a bit defensive on Haney's part. And H. spends too much time justifying his work product vs. Butch's with relative stats, devoting much of the last chapter ("Adding It Up") to this. Because of the different challenges faced by the two coaches in their respective situations, such a detailed comparison seems like over-interpretation of the data. He acknowledges this to some extent, but not enough. Of course he is writing for the historical record, to defend his role in TW's career - understandable but a bit too self-serving for my taste. So for these reasons the book was a bit disappointing towards the end, but overall it's a fascinating read. Yes, a great deal has to be taken on trust (or not, if you don't trust ....), I'd like to hear what some of the other actors - like Steve - have to say. If they've signed confidentiality agreements, that isn't going to happen.

 

Also agree that the book ended poorly.  Much like Tiger and HH's coaching relationship, the book just ends.  The last chapter is not a great ending--should have been an afterword.  The second half of the book was actually better than the first, because we learn about how Tiger's physical condition and golf swing began to deteriorate, and then we have the dramatic 2008 US Open.  HH had great insights on the decline of Tiger, and it wasn't all about the scandal.  In fact, very little was about the scandal--the only direct observations were a vague reference to Tiger getting some text messages on the range (it was a few sentences).   But then the Haney/Harmon comparison was a letdown.  The stats were interesting, don't get me wrong.  HH had a good reason to compare his record with Butch, because most analysts think had a better swing, and played better, under Butch.  The stats tell a different story.  I just think it made a bad final chapter to the book.

post #356 of 420

Agree in essentially all details with what k-troop is saying - he's made some points that I have missed as well.  There is indeed over-psych-analysis in some areas imo, but as stated golf is a highly "mental' game (as in, us golfers are all 'mental' cases ... a1_smile.gif) and he really did have to go to that place a lot in an effort to understand Tiger.  And I agree that HH knows much more in detail than he was willing to put into the book,data that has led him to the conclusions he states -  i.e. he has indeed shown a lot of discretion.  But it still comes across, the psych stuff, as a bit too much at times.  I need to reread certain sections and think about it more, maybe I'll see things differently.

 

I found the purely technical aspects of the book, i.e. the swing changes that were made (and those that were suggested by HH but NOT adopted by TW) to be really fascinating.  How would T. have fared had he implemented the "stinger drive" that HH had him work on on the range and that, according to Haney, Tiger was brilliant at?  Tiger was being stubborn not to make the change, according to Haney, but of course T. will have his own view (vindicated by results perhaps, see below).  For Haney, this would have been a GoTo shot for T. in tight situations, if his standard drive was failing, in wind etc etc.  Of course Tiger seems to have worked on his drive so as to achieve some of these benefits without the stinger shot but I'd love to see him play it.  Trade-off of about 20 yards for a more consistent shot, more fairways hit esp. if they're narrow.

 

Tiger comes across as a bit stubborn at times, a mental trait that I personally admire (within limits).  Tiger is his own man, clearly, and selects what he thinks he can use from suggestions offered.  He will also change his mind and implement something he initially disliked, if new data convince him to do so.  You feel like you have a better understanding of how T. thinks and what "makes him tick:" (sorry for the old expression) - but much of this one has to take on trust and again, I'd like to hear from others in his circle, in rebuttal or in agreement.

 


Edited by Chas - 4/26/12 at 12:48pm
post #357 of 420

Keep in mind that in reading this book you're getting only one side of the story.  In most stories there are at least three sides, in this case there's Hank's, Tigers and the truth which I'd guess is somewhere in between. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas View Post

I found the purely technical aspects of the book, i.e. the swing changes that were made (and those that were suggested by HH but NOT adopted by TW) to be really fascinating.  How would T. have fared had he implemented the "stinger drive" that HH had him work on on the range and that, according to Haney, Tiger was brilliant at?  Tiger was being stubborn not to make the change, according to Haney, but of course T. will have his own view (vindicated by results perhaps, see below).  For Haney, this would have been a GoTo shot for T. in tight situations, if his standard drive was failing, in wind etc etc.  Of course Tiger seems to have worked on his drive so as to achieve some of these benefits without the stinger shot but I'd love to see him play it.  Trade-off of about 20 yards for a more consistent shot, more fairways hit esp. if they're narrow.

 

Tiger comes across as a bit stubborn at times, a mental trait that I personally admire (within limits).  Tiger is his own man, clearly, and selects what he thinks he can use from suggestions offered.  He will also change his mind and implement something he initially disliked, if new data convince him to do so.  You feel like you have a better understanding of how T. thinks and what "makes him tick:" (sorry for the old expression) - but much of this one has to take on trust and again, I'd like to hear from others in his circle, in rebuttal or in agreement.

 

 

 

post #358 of 420

Very true.

 

That's why I keep say, in various posts on this thread, that I want to hear from others involved - to the extent possible given contractual obligations etc etc.  Don't be holding your breath though ....

 

Well, maybe Butch will go public with some thoughtful remarks if and when he reads the book, if he hasn't read it already (which I doubt).  But Butch has already a bit of an a** of himself on the subject of this book and I doubt he'll want to go there.

post #359 of 420
I finished Haney's book last week, and this is my first chance to conclude my earlier post about it.

First, I have to agree with Haney that the excerpts that were published in the NYT that put other players in a bad light misrepresented the book, because they were literally everything negative that Hank said about PGA pros. Poulter bumming a ride, Curtis not watching his mouth, that's about it. People who bought the book for more juicy tidbits about tour players will be sorely disappointed. Other than Mark O'Meara, who was mentioned mostly about his interactions with Hank, rather than Tiger, and Phil, who elicited no quotes from Tiger (but Hank knew what Tiger was thinking when he smiled), only a couple other golfers were even mentioned, and only in trivial contexts.

But IMO that's all the more reason not to have mentioned them at all. For the sake of two completely unnecessary sentences in the book, Haney opened old wounds, and made two AFAIK decent guys look like dummies at best, jerks at worst. He said he did it to be honest, because only including good things about Tiger would have been dishonest, but he didn't need to bring in other players to do that. He has page after page of examples of Tiger being a jerk either to him or in public, so we got plenty of honesty, without the need for trashing other players.

My other complaint, about Hank disclosing trade secrets about Tiger's game, was even more pronounced in the second half of the book. I've never put much stock in the "intimidation factor," but to the extent that Tiger ever had it, Hank made sure that he won't in the future. Reading some of Hank's comments about Tiger's game, you wonder how he ever broke 80. I stand by my opinion that it is unethical for a coach to reveal the details of Tiger's injuries, and weaknesses in his game, while he's still in the middle of his competitive career. You may say that we can see where Tiger has weaknesses in his game, but no, you can't see what he's thinking, why he hits some shots the way he does because he's afraid of certain tendencies he has. I don't care if he had an NDA or not, I agree with the other teachers who have ripped Haney for doing this. But I'm sure it will be required reading for Tiger's Ryder Cup opponents.

I agree with the guys who said the stats part was lame. Not just self-serving, it was even inaccurate. And the part about Tiger and Hank splitting up was also tedious, as Hank went to great lengths to make it clear that he wasn't fired, even after saying that the last thing Tiger said to him before he quit was that they should take a break from each other.

Bottom line, it's worth reading if you're interested in golf, but it should have been written 20 years from now, and not while Tiger is still actively competing. I'm glad I read it, and I'm glad I got it from the library, so Hank didn't get any of my money.
post #360 of 420

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by brocks View Post

I agree with the guys who said the stats part was lame. Not just self-serving, it was even inaccurate.

 

What was inaccurate?

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