The Big Miss can pretty much be summed up into three parts:
1) Working with Tiger on the golf swing and discussing their relationship as teacher, student, and friend, which was fascinating. It was so interesting to read how Haney worked with Tiger. He had a long-term plan for his golf swing that focused on being more conservative, not missing shots by a wide margin, and not three putting. Tiger liked winning tournaments by a large margin and also liked hitting the ball a long way. It was very difficult to have Tiger implement something, he mentioned that he only tried ten percent of what Butch Harmon taught him, and only implemented half of that ten percent. So, Haney was very good at adjusting to Tiger’s learning style and really convinced him when he wanted him to implement something. He also spent a lot of time making Tiger think something was his idea so that he would implement it. To his credit, he was loyal, focused and determined to give Tiger everything he had with his time and talents. He was always trying to help Tiger avoid the pull, he did this by weakening his grip, flattening his swing, and having him lay the club off at the top. Haney always claimed Butch had him across the line at the top. It seemed that Haney didn’t like the criticism that he received when Tiger didn’t play well, and would get upset when Tiger said anything about his swing that made him look bad. It also seemed that he taught Tiger in a way so that he would not have a big miss in a Tournament. Instead of teaching him without fear to win by ten, he would rather have him finish with some wins, and a lot of top tens so his record with Tiger would look better. This theme in the book was fascinating.
2) The second theme was the personal and controversial side to Tiger’s life and their relationship. I didn’t like how often he quoted mutual friends to discredit Tiger in various areas with injuries and his personal life. I am sure people didn’t appreciate being quoted either. He also discussed the scandal and his opinions on family situations. I think he violated the teacher/student relationship here. He also was very hurt in the way Tiger treated him throughout their time together. Tiger was always very difficult to work with, and never wanted to give any control to Haney. Since Tiger treated him poorly and only paid him $50,000 a year with a $20,000 bonus for winning majors, he probably made about half a million dollars in all of the years they worked together. His caddie had to make a lot more. I think he felt justified in telling the truth and making some money, but being just and doing the right thing are two different things.
3) The third theme was all about Haney comparing his record to Butch’s and speculating about Sean Foley. Haney is a stat freak, and tried to make the case that he made Tiger a more consistent golfer. Consistent is fine, but I think Tiger wanted majors, so if he lost by ten, then won by ten, that would be better in majors. Nicklaus played very conservative and that is why he had so many seconds, I think he could have won more.
I think Tiger is looking pretty good with Foley, although another grip and swing change will take time. So, the race against time is on, and it will be fun to watch.
Did anyone else read the book? What are your thoughts?