Inside Golf : Inside Golf November 2014
exclusive www.insidegolf.com.au | November 2014 31 him with. I feel his iron game and his wedge game improved a lot when I helped him. They were significant – everything is measurable. At that level, you are just looking for little things to improve and monitoring to see if the things he does well change anywhere. Can you give us an example? His putting. I never really changed his putting, but I monitored it. I would say, ‘usually you are doing this and now you doing that. You are not doing the things you usually do when you putt well’. When you look at stats, you have to have measureable results. They got better or they didn’t. Why do the world’s best players like Tiger Woods need a coach? What a teacher does is help you formulate a plan and stay focussed. Tiger and Rory (McIlroy) know a lot about the swing, but what a teacher can do is make the plan and make them stay focussed. Tiger will wander off and work on different things that maybe aren’t part of the plan, but that’s his personality. He likes to change things and try different things. Players can’t see themselves, though. A lot of times it is better if you have someone who can make more of an objective observation and a coach can do that. There aren’t any top players today that I can think of that don’t have a coach. Apparently, Bubba Watson has never had a lesson. He likes to say that, but his caddie is a wannabe coach. Most caddies think they are coaches. Do you think that Bubba Watson just gets up there, hits the ball and never thinks about anything? Well, it couldn’t be further from the truth. He has constant discussions with his caddie about how he is playing and discussions about his swing. When I was with Tiger, Bubba would play practice rounds with Tiger and no one asked more questions or was more observant than Bubba Watson, but he can’t wait to tell everybody he hasn’t had a coach. Jason Day has his coach on the bag, is that a good thing? I think it is. They are there with them all the time and as a coach you see what they are doing on the practice tee, but oftentimes it might be different when get on the course. They have certain tendencies under pressure, but I think it’s a good combination if you can do it. Are today’s professionals spoilt? There’s so much prizemoney and they play on perfectly manicured fairways and greens. That’s a good point. There is a lot of money in golf and it can be hard to keep your desire up when you are making a few million dollars a year. Do you push and practice as hard? Jack Nicklaus and Byron Nelson were winning tournaments, but they had to keep winning to make money. Nowadays you can be a middle of the road player and make a lot of money and your desire to try to be better and to change is not what it would be if you hadn’t made it financially yet. So I think it does influence players’ work ethic and their desire to improve because they get comfortable at a certain level. But it is what it is. It just takes a special player to play for the championships and not for the money. Are today’s pros a little clichéd – boring perhaps? There is something to be said about that, but it’s such a competitive environment. When you have such a competitive environment, you are going to have less chitchat. It seems there was more chitchat engagement in the past, but it doesn’t mean there won’t be more in the future. What advice do you have an elite amateur turning pro? Practice hard. There is a world of different between a great amateur and a great pro. It’s like night and day. You have to keep improving and have a mindset that is going to get better. If you don’t you won’t be nearly good enough. There is a world full of good amateurs and there is not a world of spots on different tours. It’s hard and competitive and you have to keep trying to improve if you are going to have a chance. I’ve had people point out 18-year- olds and say ‘they are better than Greg Norman was at 18’, but those players turn pro and never make it. Why? Greg Norman consistently improved and he kept getting better and better. Just because someone is as good as Greg Norman was at 18 that doesn’t mean he is going to be as good as Norman at 32. There are a lot of years to practice and get better and you have to have the right work ethic, mentality and right team around you. It’s an indicator, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. In 2016, putters hinged to the body will be banned. Is that a good thing? I don’t understand why they let it happen for so long and all of a sudden they are not going to allow it anymore. I am not a big fan of that ruling. I would have left it alone because I want to see golf grow. Golf is not booming so I don’t know how that helps the game. I like everything that is good for the game of golf. I don’t see how that (banning) is good for the game of golf. People who have the yips are some of the most jeopardised people in terms of how much they are going to play golf. If you can’t make a putt from two feet, your desire to play is very low. If a long putter helps, then more people play golf. Do you approve of golf returning to the Olympics. Yeah, I think it’s good. Many countries view the Olympics as the ultimate test. A lot of people that don’t know what the four majors are, but they all know what a gold medal is. It helps the notoriety and the funding for golf in some of these countries it can’t hurt. I feel strongly that anything that helps grow the game is good in my book. When you are not working, what do you enjoy doing? Playing golf – I love golf. I was working so much through the years that I didn’t play as much, but now I have more time and I like to play golf. How is your game? Hopefully, my game is good, but I feel good about it. I’m 59 so I’m not looking to play the PGA Tour, but I think I can go out there and shoot something decent. But really, I just want to hit some good shots. I judge myself on how I struck the golf ball. Hitting the ball good – that’s all that matters to me. What’s your favourite holiday destination? I go down to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico – that’s my favourite place. We have a house down there and spend a lot of time there in the winter. When we are there, I play golf every day. • Hank Haney warms up at RACV Royal Pines Resort. GAME CHANGED COBRAGOLF.COM.AU IN THIS CASE, FORGIVENESS IS ANYTHING BUT A WEAKNESS.
Inside Golf October 2014
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