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The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods (Anglais) Relié – 27 mars 2012

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Chapter 1

The Last Time

Finally, a moment of truth.

Less than an hour before he’ll tee off in the final round of the 2010 Masters, Tiger Woods walks onto the far corner of the Augusta National’s vast practice range.

The other players and caddies sneak looks. A cheer rises from the packed grandstands, and the rowdier people squeezed together behind the green gallery ropes yell encouragement from short range. “Go, Tiger! You’re the man!” He might be disgraced, he might be a punch line, but he’s still iconic.

As he puts on his glove, the force of the collective gaze that always makes me feel uncomfortable when I’m walking with Tiger at a major championship is more penetrating. He’s become more than just the greatest player alive. He’s the human being who’s fallen farther faster than anyone else in history. The haters, the sympathizers, the commentators—everyone—want to see what it’s done to him.

So do I. Yes, he’s been different since returning from an addiction-treatment facility six weeks ago—more subdued, possibly shell-shocked—but I’ve been waiting to judge whether he’s changed as a golfer. Tiger has always been able to go to a special place mentally in the majors, and I’m eager to find out if he still can. Will he still be Tiger Woods? Passing golf’s excruciating Sunday tests has always been what he does best. But this one feels most like a reckoning.

Tiger is in third place, four strokes behind Lee Westwood and three behind Phil Mickelson. Without saying so—he’s said little about anything all week—he knows that a good round today will regain him respect. And it’s in the air that a victory would be even bigger than the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, when he won on a broken leg; finishing on top here might legitimately be judged the most dramatic win in golf history. It would mean redemption, a goal that suddenly seems more important than surpassing Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major championships.

Now it’s go time. Tiger’s Sunday warm-ups are traditionally works of art, especially when he’s in contention. After three competitive rounds, he’s usually distilled what is working to its essence, and using a mix of adrenaline and focus, he can go through the whole bag without missing a shot. Despite having watched Tiger hit thousands of balls, I still feel that thrill that comes with seeing him with full command at close quarters. His swing begins with serene poise at address, continues with a smooth gathering of power, and then, with the coordinated explosion that announces a supreme athlete, uncoils in a marriage of speed and control, the ball seemingly collected more than hit by the clubface. As he relaxes into his balanced finish, the look Tiger gets on his face as he watches his ball fly is more peaceful than at any other moment.

But something is wrong. After a few balls, I can see Tiger is strangely detached. He’s taking too little time between swings, barely watching where the balls go, sometimes even taking one hand off the club before completing his follow-through. The flush yet cracking sound of his impact that for years has announced his superiority over other players isn’t quite the same. He’s having a terrible warm-up, almost as if he’s not really trying. Other than a few quick grimaces of disgust, his face remains eerily stoic.

I’m about ten feet away, standing behind him along his target line, checking to see if his club shaft is on plane, marking his head movement, assessing the ball flight, weighing whether to say something or continue to stay quiet. It’s what I’ve done as his coach during countless practice sessions over the past six years, but he’s acting as if I’m not there. I wait for some eye contact from Tiger, some words beyond a mumble, some sense of partnership in this warm-up and this moment. I get nothing. Since emerging from his meal in the clubhouse, he’s switched on that cold-blooded ability to leave a person—even someone close to him—hanging. Amazingly, right here, right now, Tiger is blowing me off.

This is the treatment. I got my initiation the second time I ever officially worked with him, on the practice range at Isleworth in March 2004. I’d stood my ground then, and I’m standing my ground now. Tiger doesn’t respond well when underlings ask him if something’s wrong, or worse, when they’ve done something wrong. His longtime but now former trainer, Keith Kleven, was always fretting about whether Tiger was mad at him. Rather than taking Keith’s concern as a show of loyalty, Tiger saw weakness. In his world of testosterone-fueled heroics and military hardness, that’s unacceptable.

He’s never done this at a major championship when he’s been in contention, so I’m not sure what he’s thinking. My best guess is that he’s carried over his aggravation from the night before, when the raw numbers on the scoreboard forced a realization that winning will be a long shot. He’s probably telling me in a passive-aggressive way that he doesn’t like the golf swing I’ve given him for this week. His swing problems could also be attributable to pain in his chronically injured left knee or some other body part, but he hasn’t complained about anything like that all week. Ultimately, there may be a far simpler reason for the chill I’m feeling from him: He’s firing me in the nonconfrontational way that’s more common to a breakup than a professional relationship.

Whatever is going on, I know one thing: He’s not going to explain.

I react clinically. Tiger is Tiger, in all his complexities, and my job is to adjust and adapt to him and keep finding ways to get his best. That’s always been a lot harder to do than people think. It turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. But since he’s returned from the Mississippi clinic where he followed a psychologically brutal program of self-examination, it’s gotten harder still.

He’s playing in this Masters after his most rushed, most erratic, and poorest preparation for a major championship ever. Five days before the first round, his game was so ragged it forced me to suggest a limited swing that has cost him distance and shot-making versatility but kept his misses playable.

It’s been a theme of my work with Tiger for much of our time together. Although it’s commonly thought that Tiger plays go-for-broke golf and tries the most difficult shots with no fear, it’s a false image. Tiger is, above all, a calculating golfer who plays percentages and makes sure to err on the safe side. What he abhors, and has built his career on avoiding, are the kinds of mistakes that produce bogeys or worse and kill both momentum and confidence—wild tee shots that produce penalty strokes, loose approaches that leave no chance to save par, blown short putts. These blunders are the stuff of high scores, and after such a round, a tour player or caddie will often lament “the big miss.” Avoiding the big miss was a big part of what made Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus so great, and it’s a style that Tiger has emulated. Until recently, his entire life seemed free of the big miss. But things change.

It’s why the game Tiger has brought to Augusta has been less powerful, less versatile, and less likely to shoot a low number than his A game. But it’s fulfilled its purpose by producing consistent scores of 68, 70, and 70 to stay in contention.

Now Tiger knows that he’ll almost certainly need something in the mid-60s to have a chance to win, and I’m getting the sense he’s unhappy that the style of play we’ve prepared is going to lack the kind of firepower such a round usually requires. He’s also aware that he’s never come from behind on a Sunday to win any of his 14 major championships. In his current state, the odds are against his making that breakthrough, and it’s not helping his mood.

I have the feeling that Tiger is most aggravated that he’s spotting three strokes to Mickelson. Tiger has always had a chilly relationship with Phil. Some of it is personality, but most of it is that Mickelson possesses the kind of talent that has made him a legitimate threat to Tiger’s supremacy. Phil’s popularity with the fans and gentle treatment from the media add to Tiger’s annoyance. For years Tiger reveled in the idea that Mickelson had trouble playing in his presence. But Phil adjusted, and in recent years he’s outplayed Tiger down the stretch in several tournaments. His increased confidence against Tiger, along with the positive energy of the gallery, has flipped the psychological advantage in their matchup in his favor. Phil has won two of the last six Masters, both victories coming on the lengthened and narrowed Augusta course that has given Tiger—who won three of his four on the earlier design—trouble. I sense that Tiger has begun to press against Mickelson, making today’s mountain that much higher.

Then again, at this Masters, Tiger has already accomplished a great deal. In the first tournament he’s played in five months—a period in which he’s suffered public humiliation, the painful, regimented program designed to look into a psyche he never before questioned, the ordeal of his televised February 19 public apology, which was so anticipated that it preempted network programming, and the certainty that his wife will soon file for divorce—he’s battled furiously and played amazingly well. He’s made more mistakes than usual but nearly offset them with short bursts of truly spectacular golf. By the end of the tournament, he will have made a total of 17 birdies and a record four eagles in 72 holes, a 25-under-par barrage that will exceed his sub-par holes in 1997 when he won by 12 and set the tournament record on a much shorter golf course. Considering where he was a few weeks ago, I consider having a part in where he is my best job of short-term coaching ever.

In my mind, Tiger is playing with house money. As a person who has lost so much, he should be feeling that this final round presents him with everything to gain. But as I watch him rake another ball out of the pile without looking up, there’s zero indication he sees things that way. He hasn’t been going through our practice progression of the Nine Shots—in which he hits the nine possible ball flights with each club—in a regimented way. Somehow, his devotion to excellence, the quality that most identifies him to the world, is missing.

But what I’ve learned at close quarters is that excellence, year after year, is exhausting. Late at night, I’ve been wondering if the 2010 Masters would mark the moment Tiger didn’t want to be Tiger Woods anymore. It’s not something I’ve said to many people, because it sounds so absurd, but I’ve often thought, even when Tiger’s game was at its peak, that because of insane expectations that even he can’t fulfill, there is no harder person to be in the world than Tiger Woods.

I look over at Steve Williams, standing a few feet away next to Tiger’s bag. He’s carried it for 13 major-championship victories since 1999, which, without even counting his long and very successful stints with Greg Norman and Raymond Floyd, make him the greatest caddie in history. He’s been in my corner from the beginning, in part because he’d been in favor of Tiger leaving his former swing coach Butch Harmon and wanted Butch’s successor to do well. Steve has his hard-ass game face on and hasn’t said a word, but we’re brothers in arms, and when our eyes meet, so do our thoughts.

What is going on? Scandal or no scandal, aren’t these the moments Tiger has always said he worked for? Lived for? The times when his ability to hyperfocus and be mentally bulletproof give him his most important advantage over the competition? The times he’s always said he relishes the most?

But Tiger, tellingly, is not relishing this. His attitude is straight-up horrible. Now, at the moment of truth, it’s a defining signal.

I doubt anyone has a greater appreciation for how great Tiger is than I do. He’s a genius in the most exacting sport there is—physically, technically, mentally, emotionally. Nicklaus might have the greatest overall record, but no one has ever played golf as well as Tiger Woods, and no one has ever been better than his competition by a wider margin. He’s the greatest.

But life is about loss. With the cold part of my mind that keeps any sadness momentarily walled off, I make the call. He’s become less of a golfer, and he’s never going to be the same again.



Tiger Woods is sullen the first time I meet him. Maybe even a little rude. But also, without a doubt, fascinating.

It’s May 1993, and Tiger is a 17-year-old amateur who has come to Dallas to play in the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Classic on a sponsor’s exemption. He and his father, Earl, are staying in the home of Ernie and Pam Kuehne, whose three kids—Trip, Hank, and Kelly—are all successful junior golfers I teach. Ernie, Hank, and Kelli have brought Tiger and Earl to the Hank Haney Golf Ranch—it’s a former horse farm with converted barns and stables—in the North Dallas suburb of McKinney to show them where they practice and introduce them to the coach who helps them with their games.

I’m giving a lesson when I see the five of them appear from behind one of the barns. I think, Wow, that’s Tiger Woods! Like everyone in golf, I’ve heard a lot about Tiger and am excited to see him in the flesh. More than any junior golfer ever, he’s famous. He’s won his age group at the Optimist Junior World tournament almost every year since he was eight. He’s won the U.S. Junior Amateur twice, and in a few months he’ll make it three in a row. No male player has ever done those things.

I take a break to walk over and say hello. Tiger is gangly from a recent growth spurt, about six feet but weighing less than 150 pounds, and the bagginess of what has to be an XL-size golf shirt only accentuates his lankiness. But skinny as he is, he looks golf strong. His is a body built for clubhead speed.

I tell Tiger what a pleasure it is to meet him, and congratulate him on his accomplishments. He seems sleepy, and when I put out my hand, he takes it weakly. It reminds me of the light grip you get from older touring pros who believe a regular shake might mess up their touch. I notice that Tiger’s hand seems kind of delicate, the fingers long and thin.

Revue de presse

“Insightful...Advance coverage of The Big Miss focused on the sensational...but those revelations misrepresent the primary focus of the book, which is to convey the experience of working with Woods as an instructor and to dissect what makes Tiger Tiger...Golf fans will put the book down feeling as if they were an eyewitness to history, and glad for the experience.”
--Wall Street Journal
“An alarming look at an athlete whose public glories masked a day-to-day existence of profound superficiality…Even more revealing than the swing material is evidence of Woods’ emotional blank wall: his indifference to people around him, his inability to empathize, and an obsession with military training and the Navy SEALs that, according to Haney, probably led to the leg injuries which have hampered Woods’ golf career.”
“I learned more about Tiger in The Big Miss than I have in eleven years of covering him on the PGA Tour…
I actually thought the book was very fair, it was honest.”
--Damon Hack, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated

“While The Big Miss is many things -- a coach’s story; an account of a collapse; a deep dive into the swing mechanics and the art of golf – it also offers a welcome and unvarnished look inside.  Books about major athletes are often authorized pabulum or arm’s-length agglomerations.  Haney’s recollections are his own, and subject to dispute, but this is a rich and compelling rendering of a complicated athlete undone less by embarrassing details than by a self-inflicted, unsustainable myth.”
--Jason Gay, The Wall Street Journal
“Offers fascinating insights…The biggest strength of The Big Miss is the breadth of its insider view of the Tiger Woods phenomenon, a scrutiny previously unavailable to the public.”
--Kansas City Star

“Incredibly interesting—especially if you play golf...Haney does a great job of simply telling it like it is...The "why" behind the mystery of Tiger's perplexing personality weaves its way through the entire book.”
-David G. Kindervater, Featured Columnist, Bleacher Report
“After flying through this 247-page, mostly breezy and fascinating look into the life of a champion, I suspect most readers will ultimately have a newfound respect for Woods. I know I do....For the first time in the history of golf literature, we get a behind-the-scenes look at how an all-time great works. Many times the details are not pretty, but most of the journey Haney takes us on reveals a relentless passion to thrive in an era when so many professionals appear content to occasionally contend and collect healthy checks.  If I were asked to recommend a book for an aspiring young golfer, The Big Miss would be the first title I’d select if for no other reason than most of today’s Tiger-wannabes will be motivated to work much harder than they currently do.”

“Thoughtful…Haney makes his case fairly and honestly, emerging not as a self-serving, tell-all author but as a man who has devoted his working life to the intricacies of the golf swing and who, finally, remains thankful to have spent six years with the best golfer on the planet.”

"The Big Miss is the most extensive and interesting portrait of Woods you're ever likely to read...[it] shines a light on the most opaque celebrity in sports. For that reason alone, it's a can't-miss."
--Orange County Register

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Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Hank Haney nous éclaire sur la vie cachée de Tiger, les différentes facettes de son personage pas toujours très recommandable , mais bourré de talent. Livre qui fait polémique dans le milieu du golf, je trouve personnellement que l'auteur contrairement à ce qui a pu être dit, reste plutôt neutre et ne "balance" pas à tout va les sordides petites histoires de Woods.
Il le décrit souvent avec une certaine tendresse et beaucoup de compréhension... Pas facile d'être Tiger!
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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
il faut aimer le golf et s'y interésser vraiment pour lire ce livre et particulièrement Tiger Woods. On reste un peu sur sa faim.
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x8fe957f8) étoiles sur 5 487 commentaires
64 internautes sur 68 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8fdaf4c8) étoiles sur 5 A Solid Hit 18 avril 2012
Par charles peterson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This is a difficult book to describe. It is very well written, and it provides what would appear to be a pretty good picture of the real Tiger Woods...both the golf prodigy and the totally self absorbed person.
If you have read reviews or watched interviews with Hank Haney, you already know most of the "juicy" parts (and they really aren't that juicy). If you are not into golf, you will probably find the book excruciatingly dull as Haney goes on at length about the mechanics of Tiger's golf swing and the details of his practice routine and of various tournaments.
If, however, you enjoy the details of golf and/or enjoy reading about the personalities of superachievers, you will probably enjoy the book a lot. I did.
In fact, on the personality side, you get a twofer. You get one man's analysis of superstar/super narcissist Tiger Woods. And you also get to observe what happens when that ego collides with the big but fragile ego of super coach Hank Haney. Very interesting dynamics!!! In the end, Haney hails Tiger as the greatest golfer of all time. But that accolade is tempered by Haney's assessment of Tiger's underdeveloped personal skills. You also get Haney's defense of his own record as Tiger's coach.
Haney does not do this, but I noted parallels between Tiger and what I have read about superstars in other fields--particularly Steve Jobs and the early Bill Gates. It is apparent that super talent and warm, fuzzy personalities are not often combined in one package (although Gates seems to have mellowed).
Haney should have probably not written this book. While he apparently violated no contracts with Tiger, I agree that he violated the implied trust between a teacher and a student. Nonetheless, we readers are better off because he did. Once you filter out Haney's bruised feelings, "The Big Miss" really does appear to be as accurate a view of Tiger Woods as we will ever get.
72 internautes sur 88 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8fdaf714) étoiles sur 5 Golf first; gossip second 28 mars 2012
Par James P. Mcdonough, Jr. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Hank Haney is a golf instructor and not a writer, but this book is well written. The focus is on Tiger Woods as a golfer, and to a lesser extent as a person, but Haney is mainly interested in the golf. We learn a lot about golf instruction and the fine line that some of these golfers have to maintain in order to compete. I wondered, before reading the book, why a guy like Tiger even needs a coach, but if his swing gets just a little off, he doesn't have the ability to correct it.

There is a fair amount of information provided about Tiger's life, his family, his personal conduct, but Haney does not dwell on the scandalous behavior that ruined Tiger's reputation; he says he didn't know about any of it. Some of the revelations about how Tiger feels about other players and other athletes border on creepy.

The most surprising information is about how Tiger basically seemed bored with golf and wanted to become a Navy Seal. His body is overbuilt for his frame, which may be causing some of his physical problems. The book concludes with a lengthy and somewhat unpleasant self-justification of how Haney did a good job as Tiger's coach. I think he would have been better off letting the record speak for itself.
9 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8fdaf6d8) étoiles sur 5 Haney walks a fine line brilliantly - mesmerizing read 8 mai 2012
Par Michael L. Hagood - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Regardless of anyone's view of the whole "coach-player" relationship (and where the line is drawn about what can legitimately be revealed without going to far), this is an exceptional book to read for several reasons. Here is why I give this book a superlative rating:

(1) First, I think that Hank very respectfully walks the very fine line concerning how much is appropriate for a coach to reveal about a player that he is coaching in an individual sport. If anything, it is fascinating for him to reveal his own intimidation at trying to coach someone that he is admittedly practically awestruck over. He also learns very quickly that Tiger is not one to offer compliments or thanks freely and isn't one to ever apologize for his not infrequent inconsiderate behavior. While Haney points this out, he does so in an oblique enough fashion for Tiger's personality to speak for itself (and does it ever).

(2) Second, Haney is revealing about his own emotions concerning Tiger's performance and how his own coaching effort is being judged. Haney is perfectly willing for us to understand his very human desire for approval and recognition for his contribution to Tiger's success. He admits his own insecurities about how to motivate Tiger and his own failures at times in doing so, particularly towards the end of his coaching tenure. In this respect, you couldn't ask the man to write a more honest book.

(3) It was shocking to read that Tiger was as insecure as he was about certain facets of his game. Certainly, all of his fans (most of whom are relatively unsophisticated about the mind of a champion golfer) thought that Tiger was someone without any doubts about his game relative to the rest of his competition. It turns out that Tiger is actually human; he actually gets nervous at the start of a tournament; he actually worries as much as any other golfer about avoiding "The Big Miss" (a great title!) and isn't at all "fearless" but very "fearful" (which any great golfer should be to some degree).

(4) Finally, the most surprising part of the book to me was how Tiger let himself be distracted (and arguably put his long-term career at risk) with highly physically intensive military special forces training. It seems likely that Tiger either hurt his knee in the first place (or significantly aggravated a previous trauma) through this training. How someone as focused and driven like Tiger could do this is in the category of inexplicable...of course, his more highly publicized personal "adventures" outside of his married life falls into this category but in some ways that is far easier to understand for many of us. Haney very wisely doesn't even go near the latter territory and for the book to be mesmerizing on its own merits, doesn't have to.

This book is destined to be a classic. If you have even the slightest interest in what it might be like to be shoulder to shoulder with one of the great performers of all time (professional golfers are performers in every sense of the word), you should read this book.
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HASH(0x8fdafca8) étoiles sur 5 Fascinating portrait of a champion 25 juin 2015
Par Robin Landry - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I have to admit that I bought this book more for the gossip aspect, but enjoyed it for the insight into an elite athlete whose career I've followed since the beginning. When Tiger first won the Masters, he seemed invincible in a sport that didn't allow anyone to dominate for long. Then when he fell from grace and seemingly couldn't find his way back either professionally or personally, I was more than curious as to why. Hank Haney gives us insight into Tiger's greatness, and the 'why' behind the fall. If character dictates fate, then it would seem inevitable that Tiger couldn't sustain his dominance forever, or in the golf world, not really than long when you look at the careers of some of the other great players.

Whether Haney should have written about Tiger is open for dispute, but I'm glad he did. This is not a tell-all book as much as it is an insight into one of the greatest golfers to ever swing a club. Maybe it should have been written after Tiger has left the earth, but then I would have missed it and I'm really glad I had the chance to see what it takes to make a champion. Haney coached Tiger for six years, and yet he was still in awe of Tiger, putting up with Tiger's anti-social behavior because of it. "It went along with the sense of destiny his father had passed to him--that he was put on this earth to do something extraordinary with his special qualities, to "let the legend grow". But those qualities, foremost among them an extraordinary ability to focus and stay calm under stress, also included selfishness, obsessiveness, stubbornness, coldness, ruthlessness, pettiness, and cheapness. When they were all at work in the competitive arena, they helped him win. And winning gave him permission to remain a flawed and in some ways an immature person. . . I was one of Tiger's enablers." page 132

I find this the most telling statement into Tiger's personality, and anyone else who's found some measure of fame. Take away the money and fame, and people wouldn't put up with Tiger's personality flaws and he's either have to change or be alone. The same thing seems to happen to child stars where no one is willing to tell them no, and too many of them eventually self-destruct. Tiger's problems with women says it all. He dates women who will never say no. It's a sad commentary on how we ruin our idols almost as quickly as we build them up.

"When I told him(Ken Hitchcock) Tiger's military fixation, he said very confidently that it related to Earl being an ex-soldier. "It happens a lot with our players," he said. "Their father's die, and they have the urge to go back to their hometowns and do what their dads did: work in a coal mine, fix cars, whatever. It usually lasts six months." Ken pointed out that baseball had been Michael Jordan's father's favorite sport." page 144

Haney gives us every scorecard Tiger every filled out while under Haney's tutelage, and for golf fans, this is the ultimate book. After watching Tiger on television during his tournaments, you can read this book and find out what kind of training Tiger did, and how he felt about many of the wins and loses, and injuries(mostly done while training with Navy Seals).
38 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8fdafeb8) étoiles sur 5 Must Read 1 avril 2012
Par TDwoods - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
The media tour couldn't have gone any worse for Hank Haney as a bunch of media members who don't play golf and didnt read the book peppered him with questions about breaking a code. Read the book and understand the context of what Haney is trying to say. The relationship was very complicated and if Hank wanted to he could have blasted Tiger but stuck to golf 95% of the time and the other five was off the course stuff that affected his golf. Well worth the read.
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