Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hank Haney Chooses Tahoe Over British Open

Hank Haney hasn’t missed a British Open in more than 30 years. But, this week he’s in Lake Tahoe, Nev., to play in the American Century Championship with more than 80 celebrities instead of coaching Tiger Woods over the terrain at St. Andrews.

Haney and Woods parted company last month, closing the door on the high-profile relationship that lasted six years. Still, he is rooting for Woods after the world’s top player finished in the top 5 in the first two major championships of the year.

“I think he’s ready to win this week,” said Haney, still in support of his former student who he visited in Ireland last week. “He’s the best player in the world playing on his favorite golf course.”

But Haney is certain that it will be Woods’ putting that will make the difference for him this week. If Woods doesn’t three-putt, he wins almost 85 percent of the time, according to telling statistics kept by Woods’ caddie Steve Willliams.

In the meantime, Haney will turn his attention to former students Charles Barkley and Ray Romano, both in the field here at Tahoe this week. And Haney’s in the field too, playing the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course for only the second time on Thursday before play starts in earnest.

“I’ve always been busy this week, but it feels kind of nice to be here,” said Haney. “I’ve heard so much about it.”

Haney has coached more than 200 professional golfers in his time, but there will be no more. For Haney, coaching the best player in the world is a good place to end.

By Craig Smith, former director of media relations for the U.S. Golf Association

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