Truth & Rumors: Hank Haney says Tiger still 'the best,' but not what he was

HankHank Haney and Tiger Woods at the 2010 Masters, their last tournament together. (Getty Images) Tiger Woods's former coach Hank Haney said that Woods is still "the best player that there is," but that he's "clearly not the golfer that he was" before his Thanksgiving 2009 car accident and ensuing sex scandals.

I think that, to some extent, is what you've seen since the accident, since the scandal. I think things have changed, and he's clearly not the golfer that he was. And I know the way this whole thing works, so that quote right there is going to be an exclamation point, in a box, right at the middle of the page. And that's unfortunate. It's my slip-up, and that's why I didn't want to do this interview, but I'll just have to live with that. But I still think Tiger's the best player that there is. Now, he's not No. 1 right now, but I still think he's the best player. But having said that, he's not the player that he was when he was winning 45 percent of his tournaments with me the last three years I helped him. That's just the way it is. People are always like "You're taking a shot at him." I'm not taking a shot at him. But it's just the way it is. Everybody can see it. But you know what? You don't even have to see it. It's like what Bill Parcells always said: "You are what your record says you are."

Haney, who drew Woods's ire for publishing a book about the 14-time major winner last spring, talked about Woods's 2012 season in an interview with Scott Miller of ESPN The Magazine. Woods won three times in 2012, but he did not play especially well in the majors by his standards. His best major finish was T3 in the British Open.
In the interview, Haney also talked about Woods's new coach Sean Foley, who has been critical of Haney's coaching.

I remember when I started, Butch Harmon told me "Hank, it's harder than it looks. It's a tough team to be on." Those were the two things he told me. When Sean Foley started and he was so brash and said everything Tiger was doing was wrong and dadadadada, I thought to myself Wow. It's harder than it looks. And he's going to find that out. There's a reason why Tiger Woods is so great. It's because he's different, and he's different in many ways. Because of that, it's not like coaching anyone you've ever coached before.

As for his relationship with Woods now, Haney said he hasn't spoken with Woods since he resigned -- via text message -- in May 2010.

The last time I talked to Tiger was the day after I resigned. He said "Hank, the most important thing is that we've been great friends. And we just need to make sure we stay like that." And I never heard from him again.

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