Tiger Woods’ nagging elbow pain may hinder his chances of winning his 15th major at next month’s British Open, but it’s his game prep -- or lack thereof -- that has former coach, Hank Haney, expanding on why he believes the world No. 1 must spend more time studying Muirfield’s greens if he’s to contend.
Haney tweeted during last week’s U.S. Open that Woods’ pre-major preparations were suspect.
I watched it for 6 yrs, I question Tiger's preparation, he doesn't practice his putting or short game enough on site at unfamiliar courses— Hank Haney (@HankDHaney) June 16, 2013
He elaborated on that view in a recent interview with FoxSports.com’s Robert Lusetich.
“Tiger doesn't have as good a chance of winning on courses that he doesn't know well,” Haney told Lusetich in a story that ran on Thursday. “He is a great greens rememberer, but if he hasn't played the course, his greens reading won't be nearly as good.”
Haney, who last year penned a controversial book, "The Big Miss," about his six years as Woods’ coach, may have an ax to grind after their relationship went south in 2010, but recent facts speak for themselves.
Woods had never played Merion Golf Club and played just one round at the suburban Philadelphia track before Open week, which was beset by heavy rains that curtailed practice. It was still shocking to many that Woods, who, before the Memorial Tournament earlier this month was ranked first on tour in strokes gained-putting, needed an astounding 128 putts over the four days, including five three-putts.
Throughout the proceedings, Woods acknowledged that he had trouble figuring out the pace of the rolling putting surfaces.
“I struggled with the speed all week,” he said Sunday after finishing the national championship with his highest score in relation to par as a professional. “I struggled with the speed, especially right around the hole, putts were breaking a lot more, I gave it a little more break and then it would hang. That's kind of the way it was this week.”
Haney could not explain why, but he said that Woods “doesn't prepare for majors as hard as he could.
“He plays the course in a rushed way maybe once or twice before the tournament week,” Haney said. “Then in the tournament week Tiger has gotten into a routine of playing nine-hole practice rounds on some days.”
Haney, who took a shot at Woods’ current coach, Sean Foley, by critiquing his ex-pupil’s ball-striking and wedge game, also opined that the pressure of chasing Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major wins had done a number on Tiger’s psyche.