It doesn't matter how well Tiger Woods has previously played, or how many top 10s he has logged, when he has a poor week -- especially if that somehow includes a missed cut -- the reaction is predictable: Tiger needs to a) fix his swing and b) jettison Hank Haney for good measure.
I can't disagree with tightening up his swing -- Tiger looked like a 4-handicapper at Turnberry -- but Woods continues to support Haney, at least publicly. Skepticism remains (via Gold Digest's Local Knowledge blog):
Within hours of Tiger Woods missing the cut, there was already speculation that he ought to consider a serious talk with his swing coach, Hank Haney. Although Woods has gone out of his way to diffuse it, it's a line of thinking began after the Masters. BBC analyst Mark James offered the same Woods-Haney critique after Woods missed the cut here. Even though Woods worked with Haney the week before Turnberry, had said on his Web site that he and Haney were good and Woods had won at Congressional in his last tournament before he got here, the Haney Rumor Wagon is probably going to be getting new wheels.No idea if Haney is on the outs. Since joining Woods in early 2004, Tiger has six major victories in 20 events (.300 winning percentage). That's slightly better than the 8-for-28 (.286) he managed while working with Butch Harmon.
So maybe it's not as dire as some folks might have you believe. I mean, just prior to Bethpage, Tiger steamrolled the field at the Memorial, hitting 14-of-14 fairways during the final round (and 47 of 56 for the week). Nobody's was talking about Haney's job until, well, Tiger only managed a top 10 at the U.S. Open two weeks later.
For all the concerns about the state of Tiger's golf swing, best bud Mark O'Meara seemed unfazed by the missed cut:
"I would tell you that I played with Tiger on Tuesday and it was as good as I've seen him hit the ball and prepare for a major championship," O'Meara, 52, told Reuters.I think that's right, but that doesn't mean we won't be inundated with breathless "How can Tiger fix his swing before Hazeltine!?" stories. So there's that.
"As much as anyone I was shocked (when he missed the cut). It just goes to show you that even if we think that Tiger Woods is not human, he is human. ... I don't think that we need to worry too much about him. He's going to be just fine."
In the meantime, just something to keep in mind, courtesy of BBC golf analyst Peter Alliss: "It's very difficult to criticize Tiger. He's just had a bad week. He didn't play very well but it's only about the fifth bad week he's had in 13 years. He will regroup and come back and probably win another couple before the end of the year. ... I think his problems are quite small, but he's won all these things without any help from me."