Tiger Woods coach Hank Haney resigned Monday night after weeks of speculation that Woods was looking to change coaches.
“I believe at this time that it is in both of our best interests for me to step aside as Tiger’s coach,” Haney said in a statement to The Golf Channel. “I will always look back upon our past half dozen years together as my best days in professional golf.”
In an interview to KTCK radio in Dallas this morning, Haney said he and Woods broke off the relationship via text message on Monday night.
“I texted him last night [that I was leaving], and he texted me back,” Haney told the station. “We went back and forth for a while, but he had his kids last night and couldn’t talk. We are going to talk later today.”
In a text message to GOLF.com, Haney stressed that he was not fired.
“This was my decision, and he [Woods] won’t spin it any other way,” Haney said. “There comes a time and a place for everything to move on. Now was the time for me to step aside. Simple as that.
“There is nothing to be sorry about.”
Haney, who has coached Woods since 2004, has come under criticism during Woods’s recent struggles on the course. NBC commentator Johnny Miller said last week that Woods “should forget the Hank Haney stuff. It’s not working.” His former coach Butch Harmon also weighed in, telling the PGA Tour Network that Woods’s “game is in disarray.”
After his Thanksgiving car accident and months-long sex scandals, Woods returned to competitive golf in April. He finished fourth at the Masters, missed the cut at the Quail Hollow Championship and withdrew from the Players Championship with a neck injury.
Woods released the following 55-word statement on his Web site on Monday:
“Hank Haney and I have agreed that he will no longer be my coach. Hank is an outstanding teacher and has been a great help to me, but equally importantly he is a friend. That will not change. I would like to thank him for all he has done for me the past six years.”
Haney has defended his record with Woods. In a statement to The Golf Channel after Miller criticized his teaching, Haney said, “In the last two years, Tiger has won 44 percent of his tournaments and finished top three in 61 percent. In the two years before I started working with him, he won 24 percent and finished top three in 43 percent.”
On Monday, Haney made reference to the turmoil in Woods’s life since Thanksgiving and expressed confidence that Woods would return to form.
“As we all know, Tiger has been through a lot in the past six months, and I really believe that given the chance, mind free and injury free, we will all see Tiger Woods play once again like we all know he can,” Haney said.
Haney, 54, owns Hank Haney Golf Inc., which operates four training facilities in Texas, and he is director of instruction at the Hank Haney Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head, S.C. He also starred in The Haney Project reality show on The Golf Channel, in which Haney gave golf lessons to Charles Barkley and Ray Romano.
Haney also told KTCK that he looked forward to having more time for his other endeavors.
“I spent 110 days a year with Tiger over the last six years, ” he said. “I have a lot of free days now. I will spend three weeks in China this summer working on a new golf academy; I’m looking forward to it.”
He also addressed Tiger’s temper, which sometimes manifested itself in outbursts on the practice tee, but said that was part of the job.
“Everybody is under pressure at tournaments, and he shows it in a different way,” Haney said.
Art Stricklin contributed reporting to this article from Dallas.