Ex-Coach’s Book: Tiger Woods wanted to be a Navy SEAL

Posted: February 28, 2012 in Golf



You think of Tiger Woods,you see him with a club in hand, ready to attempt a clutch shot. Or fist-pumping after sinking a big putt. Or . . . how about in scuba gear, leading an attack on enemy forces?

That last scenario isn’t so far-fetched, according to the book about Tiger that’s about to be released by his former coach, Hank Haney.

Golf Digest’s website has posted excerpts from Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods, which will appear in the issue that hits newsstands March 6. Haney co-authored the book with Golf Digest senior writer Jaime Diaz, and writes that Tiger at one point had an obsession about the military.

Writes Haney:

“Tiger was seriously considering becoming a Navy SEAL. I didn’t know how he’d go about it, but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan . . . I thought, Wow, here is Tiger Woods, greatest athlete on the planet, maybe the greatest athlete ever, right in the middle of his prime, basically ready to leave it all behind for a military life.”

Tiger’s father, Earl, spent 20 years in the Army, did two tours of duty in Vietnam, and retired as a lieutenant colonel. The fascination with all things military also came up during a 2004 visit to the Fort Bragg military base, in North Carolina, Haney says:

“Tiger did two tandem parachute jumps, engaged in hand-to-hand combat exercises, went on four-mile runs wearing combat boots, and did drills in a wind tunnel. Tiger loved it, but his physical therapist, Keith Kleven, went a little crazy worrying about the further damage Tiger might be doing to his left knee . . . One morning I was in the kitchen when he came back from a long run around Isleworth, and I noticed he was wearing Army boots. Tiger admitted that he’d worn the heavy shoes before on the same route. ‘I beat my best time,’ he said.”

And by 2007, Haney writes, the job of coaching Tiger became more difficult because of the burden of trying to break Jack Nicklaus’ record for most majors won:

“There was more urgency and less fun . . . He never mentioned Nicklaus’ record, but it started to weigh more heavily at every major. And Tiger’s actions indicated he believed he had less time to do it than everyone thought.”


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