Tiger Woods has been hit by another big blow with the resignation of Hank Haney, his trusty swing coach, leaving the world's No 1 golfer without one of his top advisers as he tries to rebuild his game. Haney said in a statement to Golf Channel that he enjoyed working with Woods but he thinks it is time for him to step aside as his coach.
"I will always look back upon our past half-dozen years together as my best days in professional golf," he said. "It would be a dream of any coach to have a student like Tiger Woods and for me it has come true. Just so there is no confusion I would like to make it clear that this is my decision. "I know Tiger Woods will be successful in the future no matter who helps him." There had been speculation at The Players Championship that Woods was about to leave Haney, his swing coach since 2004. But he said on Monday he was working with Haney on his swing.
Haney's decision is another setback for Woods, who was forced to withdraw during the final round at TPC Sawgrass because of neck spasms. It was Woods's first withdrawal from a tournament since the Nissan Open at Riviera in 2006, and came on the heels of his missed cut at Quail Hollow following the highest 36-hole score of his career. Haney was right by Woods's side as he prepared to compete in the Masters in his first tournament since a sex scandal shattered his image.
Woods tied for fourth place at Augusta, in what was seen as a highly successful comeback, but it has been all downhill since. "As we all know, Tiger has been through a lot in the past six months, and I really believe that given the chance, mind free and injury free, we will all see Tiger Woods play once again like we all know he can," Haney said. "I wish Tiger well, not only with his golf, but in finding peace and happiness in all aspects of his life. Tiger knows that if he ever needs me in any way, whether it be with his golf or just as a friend he can always call."
Compounding Woods's problems on the course is his health, which has put his schedule in flux. Woods said during Monday's news conference that his neck started bothering him two weeks before the Masters. He brushed it off as "no big deal" and believed he could play through the pain. That changed on Sunday at The Players Championship, where his neck locked up and prevented him from making his usual forceful turn on the ball on even a routine shot.
Woods, who was in suburban Philadelphia to promote this summer's AT&T National, said he has been taking anti-inflammatory drugs, but they have not helped. He said he plans to have an MRI scan when he returns to Orlando, and was non-committal about playing the US Open on June 17-20. * AP