Especially at the top level, the teaching of golf is a bitchy business. Typical was the vitriolic reception that Hank Haney received from many of his peers in the wake of his assuming the role of coach to Tiger Woods, replacing the aforementioned Harmon. For a while there, things were neither hunky nor dory.
The last word in that particular skirmish, however, belonged to Haney. In the immediate aftermath of the 2005 Masters Tournament - Woods's first of four major victories under the tutelage of his new coach - the Dallas-based instructor lifted a leaf out of Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, and took dead aim at one of his biggest critics, wannabe star teacher Jim McLean, describing him as "the biggest asshole I have ever met" - a label that left little room for misinterpretation.
"As for other teachers who have been critical [most notably and ironically, Harmon and Smith], it was obvious where they were coming from," Haney declared. "I viewed them speaking out as a form of pre-emptive strike. They wanted Tiger to lose patience with me before we even got started, so I wasn't surprised by the crap they were talking. Those other instructors never wanted to give us a chance. The result was never going to make them look better."
I do not like making the pace. It gets harder and harder as you go. The other fellows, with nothing on their minds but their hair, are shooting the works while you keep wondering if you hadn’t better be careful and try not to lose any strokes, which is the best possible way of losing them. BOBBY JONES