Golf: Haney enjoys role

Hank Haney made news a couple weeks ago when he questioned Tiger Woods' preparation via Twitter.

Haney, the renowned golf instructor, wasn't as hard on Woods during a visit at the Omega watch store at South Coast Plaza Thursday night. He was there for an exclusive event for Omega clients. During the promotional event, Haney went through a Q&A session and he gave golfing tips.

Later, he spent time for an interview with me.

Haney also taught a select group during a special clinic Friday morning at Monarch Beach Golf Links.

It was all part of Haney being an ambassador for Omega, which has partnered with Monarch Beach Golf Links, said Eric Lohman, the PGA General Manager at Monarch Beach.

"To partner with an international name like Omega which is with the Olympics, PGA, the Ryder Cup, for them to reach out to us and for us to reciprocate and for us to host the event, I think it's such a great thing. It's such a wonderful connection," said Lohman, a Newport Beach resident. "For them to bring out Hank Haney, a world renowned instructor, a dynamic person who is polarizing yet a difference-maker and is very popular in the golfing community, it's just a win-win for everybody. It complements what we do every day, which is provide great golfing experiences."

Haney said he has enjoyed teaching golf in these types of settings rather than one-on-one. The 57-year-old lives in Dallas and has also stayed busy with the birth of his son, Henry Hudson Haney. He was born three months ago.

Haney had vowed that Tiger would be his last student, but that could change.

"I thought I was done coaching, but I've got one more student," Haney said of his son. "He's going to be my last student."

He also stays busy with his sponsors and associations with companies like Omega.

"Golf is a great vehicle for companies to show their product and sell their product," Haney said. "That's what I do now. I teach golf to the masses. I don't teach private lessons. I don't teach individuals and I don't teaching touring pros anymore. But last year I gave clinics to over 15,000 people. So I do teach golf a lot.

"My career's kind of gone full circle. I worked with the average player and taught them golf. And then I taught touring pros for 32 years and now I help the average player enjoy the game. Helping people enjoy a great game and help grow the game, it's all fun for me."

Here is some more of my interview with Haney.

Question: What's the most important advice you can give to someone who is learning golf?

Answer: "The most important advice is to go get lessons because it's such a hard game. The learning curve is very steep. You have to have help, no matter who you are. The best players in the world all have help. There's no way you're going to figure it out yourself. You have to get help and you have to get professional help. Also, be patient with yourself and stick to your plan. If you're going to improve or do anything, you need a plan."

Question: What was it like to write the book, "The Big Miss?"

Answer: "It was great. It was incredible. It was an unbelievable experience. I never dreamed that I was going to be a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author. I'm very proud of the book. The response of the book continues to be incredible. The biggest response I get is from Tiger Woods fans that tell me they are a bigger fan now than they were before after they read the book. That was something I really appreciated because when the book first came out I got a lot of criticism. But then when people read the book, they were like, 'Wow, it's a great book. I'm a Tiger Woods fan and now I'm a bigger fan.' It worked out good. It was great. I'm very thankful for the opportunity to have worked with Tiger. And I wanted to share my experiences. So I did."

Question: So Tiger at the U.S. Open, did that surprise you? How he finished?

Answer: "It always surprises me every time he doesn't win because I know he's the best player. But having said that, when I helped him for six years he won 45% of the tournaments. So that means he didn't win 55% of the time. Now he's won four tournaments this year, but he's lost more than he's won. That's just the way the game of golf is. But having said that if I was going to pick one person to win I would always pick him. It surprises me every time he doesn't win, but I also realize he's not going to win every time. It's just not feasible. But I really thought the U.S. Open would be a great course for him. So I was a little surprised that he wasn't at least in the mix. But that's golf, it's a hard game."

Question: Working with any pros now?

Answer: "No. Tiger was my last student. I made a decision when I first started working with Tiger that he was going to be my last student. I helped over 200 touring pros and I don't feel that old but I've been helping touring pros for 32 years. Coaching professional athletes for 32 years was an incredible opportunity and an incredible experience. But 32 years was enough. I decided that when I started working with Tiger that he was going to be last student. Plus, where do you go from Tiger?"

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