Thursday, May 06, 2010

Haney throws numbers at Miller critique During a media teleconference earlier this week, Johnny Miller was asked about Tiger’s swing woes, a topic—to Miller’s credit—that he has never danced around.

“This might be a little harsh…” Miller began,

Uh-oh! Hide the women and children!

“…but I really believe [Woods] needs to, every night, watch the U.S. Open in the year 2000 in Pebble and just copy that swing and forget the [Hank] Haney stuff. That was the best golf anybody has every played in history.”

Yesterday Haney responded in an e-mail to the Golf Channel’s Randall Mell:

“The facts are what they are. I didn’t start in 2001. I started in 2004. In the last 2½ years, Tiger has won 44% of his tournaments and finished Top 3 in 61%. In the 2½ years before I started working with him, he won 24% and finished Top 3 in 43%.”

Geez, Hank, sensitive much? Talk about a guy who’s armed for criticism. Here’s the thing: while those numbers sound stellar, they shrivel up like dried apricots when you look back at the period to which Miller is referring: Tiger’s 2000-01. From the beginning of the 2000 season through the 2001 Memorial, Woods played in 30 events, winning 13 of them (43 percent) and finishing in the top-10 in 25 of them (83 percent). Oh, and he also won four straight majors (100 percent!).
Still, I’m willing to throw Haney a bone here. With all Tiger’s been through, it’s absurd to start picking apart his swing so soon after his return. Dude’s got issues, and “getting stuck” isn’t among the most urgent.
Mell also mined this deliciously candid nugget from Pat Perez on what’s really missing from Tiger’s game:

“He needs to get that prick back in him. But he knows he can’t do that, or he’s just going to get hammered by the media if he does anything. But that’s him. He’s like me. He gets upset. He doesn’t accept mediocrity. That’s part of what’s made him great. You can’t change that.”

On the flip side, Perez noted some positives in Tiger’s swing after spending time with the World No. 1 on the range this week:

"He started getting his hands inside, and he didn't miss a shot for half-an-hour. I'm not saying he's going to win. Of course, we all know he could win. But if you saw what I saw on the range, you'd have to think he's going to be right there at the end."
You may have read about Lorena Ochoa’s final tournament. Here's why you didn't see it The Washington Post got to the bottom of it, sort of

“It was not our call,” said Golf Channel spokesman Dan Higgins, “it was the LPGA's call.”

LPGA, what say you?

"We did approach [the Golf Channel] to see if they would be interested. But the quality [of the international feed] was not acceptable to them,” said LPGA spokesman David Higdon. “From our standpoint, we felt it was really important to get it on."
Higdon said the LPGA also approached several companies about the possibility of streaming the international feed live over the LPGA Web site, and that fell through, as well.
"Ever since [Ochoa] announced her retirement," he said, "we were literally scrambling for two weeks to get something. But we just were not able to get it done."

In this day and age? C’mon, they could’ve hired a college kid and sent him down there with a Flip.

And yet, when Miyazato pushed into contention, Golf Channel Japan somehow managed to dispatch a reporter and a camera crew to the tournament. The network also arranged for a satellite truck to drive all night from Mexico City to get there before Sunday's final round, the better to provide its viewers with exclusive highlights and a live one-on-one interview with Miyazato shortly after she won the event.

Oy vey. The LPGA loves to wax about what a great product it has. In this case, it would have been nice to see it. Why the next young gun might come out of … the University of Washington? Time was when college golfers in chilly climates had no choice but to endure the bitter weather and the dreaded vibrations that accompany a shanked 3-iron. That’s no longer the case at the University of Washington, which recently opened a $1.7 million indoor practice facility for its golf team. The Seattle Times reports:

Men’s golf coach Matt Thurmond said he hardly ever spends time in his office, preferring the center's more laid-back environment. The cavernous main floor has a large putting green and a hitting area with a launch monitor and video cameras for analyzing players' swings and ball flight. Amenities upstairs include a kitchen, locker rooms and a lounge complete with video games and a Ping-Pong table.
"The players do their practice outside on a normal day, then they will come in here in the evenings and play Ping-Pong, watch sports, study, practice and kind of mix it all together. Their tutors are (close by), and the weight room is (close by)."

My favorite touch: ukulele music is piped in on a near-constant loop.

"I tell people it's Hawaii 365 days a year in here," Thurmond said.

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