PGA Tour Confidential: Hank Haney’s new book; Tournament of Champions at Kapalua

January 9, 2012

Every week of the 2012 PGA Tour season, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group will conduct an e-mail roundtable. Check in on Mondays for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the in the all-new readers' live Confidential or in the comments section below.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: In off-course news, the most interesting thing this week was the revelation that Hank Haney has written a Tiger book, coming out in late March. He wrote it with Jaime Diaz, a pro's pro and somebody who knows Tiger better than any other writer. What's your interest in the book? If Hank writes with candor, and I suspect he will, it should be fascinating.

Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: I guess the Hank Haney golf schools are struggling.

David Dusek, deputy editor, I'm not really a fan of kiss-and-tell, he-said-she-said books, but I've always found Haney to be a straight shooter, so I think I'll read it. Aside from scandal-related stuff, I'm fascinated to learn more about the preparation he and Woods put in before the majors.

John Garrity, contributing writer, Sports Illustrated: I'm hoping it will start a trend: Haney on Tiger, Stevie on Tiger, Butch on Tiger, Fluff on Tiger, leading up to the ultimate tell-all — Elin on Tiger.

Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: The Tiger Tell-all Series.

Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: At least Haney still respects Tiger enough to do a whole book about him. Stevie has said he'll only give Tiger a chapter in his memoir.

Herre: Back in the '90s, Jaime thought he had a multiple-book deal with Woods, who got cold feet. I don't think the Tiger-Haney split has ever been adequately explained.

Dusek: I agree. We'll never know the precise way the Tiger/Stevie split occurred, but we have also never gotten a full explanation as to what, specifically, was the problem between Woods and Haney.

Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: I'd put my interest at about 10 out of 10. Hank Haney is smart and insightful and had as much access to Tiger as anyone who might write a book. Haney will be fair to Tiger, but he won't pull any punches either.

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Hell, yeah, I'll read it. Hank has always been a good talker, and he had a front-row seat for a lot of stuff. I can tell Tiger's people aren't happy. I talked to Mark Steinberg this morning and asked if he cared to comment on the book. "Absolutely not," he said. "God no. I don't want to at all."

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: I would love to know what's in the book, simply because it's always fascinating to contemplate the Tiger enigma.

Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Hopefully Haney is as candid in the book as he is on his Twitter feed.

Garrity: Hank will have to tell enough Tiger tales to justify the book advance, but I'm sure his real motive is defending his reputation. He doesn't want to be remembered as the coach who derailed the greatest player in history (which you hear a lot) and couldn't help the duffers he coached, either. (Ray, Rush, etc.).

Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: Interesting that Tiger didn't make Haney sign a non-disclosure agreement. Really strange and kind of sloppy, even if Tiger had never hit the fire hydrant.

Shipnuck: Haney says he didn't have any kind of contract, to say nothing of a non-disclosure.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, You have to think we'll learn more about Tiger's practice habits, mental approach and personality off the course. I'd absolutely buy the book.

Mick Rouse, editorial assistant, SI Golf Group: Behind-the-scenes drama with Woods or behind-the-scenes preparation with Woods? Maybe a bit of both? Either way, should be interesting.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: I expect it will be great reading. And not just for the behind-the-scenes material. I want Haney to tell us what he was trying to do with Tiger's swing, and if he thinks Tiger will ever get his mojo back.

Bamberger: In 2000, Butch Harmon said he could have received a $1 million advance to write a Tiger book, while he was working for Tiger. Tiger said he "preferred" if Butch didn't do it, and Butch didn't. Does anybody have a problem with Hank doing what he's doing? I, for one, do not.

Shipnuck: In 2000, Butch was still working for Tiger. Hank hasn't been part of the team for a while now. I think that's an important distinction.

Morfit: No problem at all. No one is more ruthless than TW himself.

Reiterman: Torre wrote about the Yankees locker room. Phil Jackson dished on Kobe and Shaq. No reason why Haney can't share some stories about Tiger.

Rouse: Exactly. Almost every notable public figure has been written about in a book like this, and I'm not really sure if it's worth Tiger and his people getting too upset about it. We've heard it all when it comes to Tiger and his antics, right? Right?

Gorant: I don't have a problem with him writing the book at all, but in the big picture Haney should remember that without Tiger he'd be just another one of the boys pitching instruction articles to golf magazines and telling stock brokers where to keep their elbows.

Tell us what you think in the all-new readers' live Confidential or in the comments section below: Are you interested in Haney's new book?

Steve Stricker, Kapalua 2012

Kohjiro Kinno / SI
Steve Stricker doesn't have a major championship, but he has been one of the world's top players for several years.

Bamberger: Steve Stricker turns 45 next month. So far in Hawaii, he's looked fully recovered from the aches and pains of his Presidents Cup sojourn. He's well-known for being genuinely nice and humble. He putts beautifully and could be a good player, like Jay Haas before him, for another 10 years. When it's all said and done, who would you rather be, Sticker with his quiet middle-American life, largely anonymous with (presumably) millions in the bank? Or the most dominant player of modern times, Tiger Woods, whose exciting life came at great personal costs. You have to trade places with one of them. Who is it going to be?

Dusek: Stricker. As you pointed out, I have all the money my family will ever need, I'm healthy, I'm respected, and I've maximized my abilities. I don't have Tiger's titles, but I don't have his headaches or humiliation either.

Godich: I agree with Dave. What's not to like about a guy who was Comeback Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons? He's respected, well-liked and friendly. And perhaps most important, he has never forgotten his roots.

Garrity: It's a great question, and I don't even have to think about it. I'd trade lives with Stricker. Tiger's world, even with all his accomplishments, holds no appeal for me.

Lipsey: I'd rather have Tiger's paper record. Impossible to say which person I'd rather be.

Ritter: I'll take the big bank account and relative anonymity of Stricker, but at my Vegas bachelor party I'd rather be Tiger, just so I can get comped at the Wynn buffet. You can't beat their crab legs.

Gorant: I'd have to go with Tiger. Good and bad, he's an iconic figure who transcends not just golf but sports.

Bamberger: Interesting, Jim. I'll see your transcend sports and raise you transcends everything. Whatever happened with his private life, he is the definition of excellence and domination.

Gorant: Thank you Michael. I can't believe all the aspiring to mediocrity around here. I've already got mediocrity. If I'm going make believe, I'm going big.

Godich: You would get all the baggage that comes with being Tiger Woods. Sign me up for that $32 million life of mediocrity.

Reiterman: I'd go with Stricker. At least I'd be buddies with Tiger and give him putting lessons.

Shipnuck: The obvious answer is Stricker. But if Tiger can reclaim his old form and once again be the world's most dominant athlete marching on history, how exciting would that be?

Rouse: Tiger. Everyone likes a good, old-fashioned story filled with a little debauchery.

Walker: Tiger. For those Sundays at Augusta.

Wei: Definitely Stricker. Living the good, simple life would be much less complicated.

Shipnuck: By the way, Stricker ain't mediocre. He is likely to win 20 tourneys or more in his career. That's heady company.

Gorant: I was never on a debate team, but I believe the appropriate counter-argument is: Meh.

Tell us what you think in the all-new readers' live Confidential or in the comments section below: With whom would you rather trade places: Tiger or Stricker?

Plantation Course at Kapalua

Kohjiro Kinno / SI
The Plantation Course at Kapalua makes a fun, scenic test for any golfer.

Bamberger: The Tour is in Kapalua, and Waialae is up next. If you could have a four-day vacation with your buddies at any course that sponsors a four-round PGA Tour event (in other words, I'm taking out Pebble and Augusta), where would you go? I might just go Kapalua first and Waialae second, but East Lake would be right up there for me, and Hilton Head, too.

Morfit: I'll go with San Diego and Torrey Pines.

Walker: I'm with Cam on this one.

Dusek: It's a savvy pick. You get great views on both courses, and if you avoid playing the South from the tips it's not that much tougher than the North. At night, downtown San Diego is fun, as are some of the funky beach towns like Encinitas.

Gorant: Torrey's kinda boring. If it's about the getaway, El Camaleón near Cancun, where they play the Mayakoba, would work. If it's about the golf, gotta go Riviera.

Wei: If we're talking locale/atmosphere/getaway, you can't beat Kapalua. The Plantation course is cool and fun to play. I mean, it was built on the side of a volcano! The Bay Course isn't bad either.

Ritter: Does any other Tour stop offer the chance to cap a round with a 300-plus-yard drive down a ski-slope finishing hole overlooking the Pacific, followed by a glass of fresh-squeezed guava juice, followed by a surfing expedition? I think I'll make Kapalua my pick.

Lipsey: Kapalua. Nothing on the mainland comes close when the locale is factored in.

Shipnuck: Riviera. That place is so pure, and El Lay would be fun with the boys. But Kapalua would get strong consideration.

Dusek: Riveria is solid, but I'll go with Colonial. I love the course, you get to high-five Ben Hogan's statue outside the clubhouse, and sweet barbecue is just a few blocks away at Railhead Smokehouse in Ft. Worth.

Reiterman: Can't pass up another chance to play at Muirfield Village. Got to play there a few times growing up, and it's just a great track.

Bamberger: I don't know what it is about Muirfield Village. It's a beautiful course, but for some reason I find it . . . just not that interesting.

Dusek: Don't tell that to Mr. Nicklaus.

Herre: Hilton Head is awesome because there are so many great courses in the vicinity, but if I had to pick just one it would be Sawgrass, which is a lot of fun if you play the right tees, which for me is WAY up.

Godich: I'd choose Sawgrass, and I'd make sure to book a time on the Valley course there. It gets overshadowed by the Stadium, but it's a fun, challenging track.

Garrity: I'm a Kapalua fan, too – I love those long downhill tee shots on 17 and 18 — but I might go for the TPC of Louisiana. The course doesn't excite me, but I'll take four nights of seafood gumbo, jambalaya and Drago's chargrilled oysters.

Wei: John, you even have a bunker named after you at the Plantation course!

Garrity: Yes, the left fairway bunker on No. 13, next to the cliff. And lest you think it's named that because I couldn't get out of it, I have to tell the truth: it was ADDED to the course because I hit a beautiful long drive up the left side in a round with Kapalua's golf director, Gary Planos, before the course opened — a drive that went over the cliff. Gary immediately called Ben Crenshaw, and the architect ordered that a saving bunker be installed. So yeah, I love that place.

Wei: I'd pick Kapalua in a heartbeat. Can't beat the weather and atmosphere. PGA National would be next (but mostly for all the courses in the Palm Beach area than the actual host course). Riviera is third.

Tell us what you think in the all-new readers' live Confidential or in the comments section below: You're taking a four-day golf trip with friends: Which Tour course — excluding Augusta and Pebble — would you play?

Bamberger: Johnny Miller and Sir Nick Faldo worked the broadcast booth together this weekend. They are likely to be together another 12 or so times before the year is out. Johnny's brilliant — a savant, really — at swing analysis, and Faldo is too. Where Miller used to be brilliant is at mind-reading the players, even if he was, in the end, doing nothing but taking educated guesses. He's done much less of that in recent years. I wish he'd go back. In any event, what do you think of two Hall of Famer players in a booth together? I think it has great potential.

Reiterman: It has great potential if Golf Channel stops making it about Miller vs. Faldo and just lets the two Hall of Famers talk about the golf.

Godich: I like it. I especially like it when Dan Hicks is in the booth with them. He will bring out the best in both of them.

Lipsey: It might be too much ego, especially for golf.

Herre: The pairing has potential, but they haven't knocked my socks off so far.

Shipnuck: It's great fun, with their edgy chemistry and subtle jabs. Plus, this week they're the biggest stars here.

Herre: Maybe that's the problem, Alan. I'll reserve judgment until they work a more significant event.

Reiterman: One good thing they've done is given each guy a break. Five straight hours of Miller vs. Faldo could get old pretty quick.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Faldo needs someone to push him. He was at his best when he and Azinger were competing in the booth.

Have a question for Gary Van Sickle's mailbag? E-mail [email protected] or ask it on Facebook.


Dusek: I'm neutral on Faldo, but Miller makes my TV's mute feature kick in. One swing analyst is enough. Each person on a broadcast team should have a clear role (play-by-play, on-course reporter, comic relief, swing guru, etc). When they are at their best, Faldo and Miller bring a lot of the same stuff. I'll be curious to see how their on-air relationship develops.

Reiterman: Johnny blows a lot of hot air, but at least he's never boring. In the first round, Miller said of Jhonny Vegas, "He's still Jhonattan to me until he wins some more."

Rouse: I'm all for it, but my support really lies with an all Shaq/Charles Barkley announcing team for every sport, and the Olympics.

Dusek: What's interesting is how hard the Golf Channel is pushing the Faldo-Miller pairing. Seriously, did we need a press release with quotes from their banter over the first two days?

Godich: It probably just occurred to them that the ratings aren't any better (if not worse). People are still in football mode. And I still don't know what makes them think they're going to get a final-round audience going into the BCS title game Monday night.

Wei: I'm curious how many more people tuned in specifically because of Faldo and Miller. I'd say more people watched than would have otherwise, but it's tough to get excited about a limited-field event in January. How many golf fans (and writers) were more interested in Tebow than the Tournament of Champions?

Tell us what you think in the all-new readers' live Confidential or in the comments section below: What do you think of a Miller-Faldo booth?

Lexi Thompson

Sam Greenwood / Getty Images
If Lexi Thompson became rivals with Yani Tseng, it would be great for the LPGA Tour.

Bamberger: It was wonderful to see some good LPGA news this week — the tour will be returning to Hawaii. This could be a great LPGA season if two amazing players, different in so many ways, start duking it out: Lexi Thompson and Yani Tseng. Imagine Commissioner Whan calls you, looking for free advice, and asks: Do we promote this rivalry, or do we let nature take its course? What would you tell him?

Wei: Mike Whan and the ladies deserve the good news, and I was stoked when the unofficial 2012 schedule that was sent to players somehow popped up in my inbox. If the two other "new events" go through, then they'll have 28 official events (as opposed to 23 in 2011), including three more tournaments in North America. As for the Lexi-Yani rivalry, it's got great potential, but I think the two need to play in a few final groups together before the LPGA starts hyping it up.

Reiterman: I don't think it would hurt to pair them in the first two rounds. Seems LPGA does this a lot already. Why not throw a Lexi, Yani, Creamer group together? I'd watch that.

Shipnuck: Give it one more year and let Lexi win another half-dozen events. Then in 2013 blow it out like never before — billboards in Time Square, Golf Channel reality show, endless promotion.

Dusek: I'm not sure the LPGA has the money for that stuff, but at the end of the day Alan's approach is smart. The public wants to see stars playing other stars. At Torrey Pines in 2008, why did the USGA put Tiger, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott, the world's top three players, in the same group ? Hype. Put Lexi, Yani and Paula together. Then Lexi, Yani and Natalie. If nothing else, it would get people thinking and talking about the LPGA for a change.

Herre: Any rivalry has to happen organically.

Gorant: Right. Lexi has to challenge Yani's dominance before it will get really interesting.

Rouse: You can pump it up all you want, but I just don't see Lexi unseating the dominant force that is Yani Tseng. The LPGA would be wiser to promote them as great young talents instead of rivals.

Morfit: The LPGA should do nothing and let it happen. There's no way to manufacture a rivalry.

Godich: Just let 'em play. The rivalry will take care of itself.

Garrity: Better yet, DON'T pair them. If one of them dominates their rounds together, you've deflated the rivalry before it starts. Keep Yani and Lexi apart as much as possible and make people anticipate their head-to-head meetings.

Tell us what you think in the all-new readers' live Confidential or in the comments section below: Should Mike Whan orchestrate a Lexi-Yani rivalry, or simply sit back and let it play out?