Roaring Tiger a Major boost
But book proving unwelcome distraction
TIGER Woods eased concerns he would miss the first Masters of his career by coming through 18 holes of an exhibition event yesterday, just eight days after an Achilles injury forced his withdrawal from the WGC Cadillac Championship.
Not only did Woods survive the opening round of the Tavistock Cup in Florida, but he showed no sign of a limp and, partnering England's Justin Rose in a better-ball format, played with distinction.
"I did the smart and prudent thing this time, hence I'm back in a week," said the 36-year-old who quit in Doral with seven holes of his final round remaining. "I've played through pain before and set myself back. Last year, I missed two majors because of it. I want to be ready for Augusta."
Following the denouement of the mega-bucks event at Lake Nona today, Woods plans to tee it up in the Arnold Palmer Invitational which starts at nearby Bay Hill on Thursday and then take next week off before travelling to Georgia on a mission to win his first major in four years. The game will be relieved to have him in the field, regardless of the latest "revelations" to leak out from Hank Haney's forthcoming book about their six years together.
His former coach claimed 'The Big Miss' would concentrate on golf, but American newspapers have been awash with snippets. Woods is depicted as cold and mean.
Haney claims Woods, who was furious when he discovered the book was being written, disliked some of his rivals and went as far as naming them. Ian Poulter is supposedly one of these, as is Phil Mickelson.
Already, The Big Miss, to be published next week to coincide with the Masters, has caused plenty of discomfort for Woods, who has become tetchy when asked about it.
Haney also says that during the 2006 Ryder Cup, Woods turned on the adult channel when he was sharing a room with his team-mate Zach Johnson. Haney says Woods thought the reaction of Johnson, a devout Christian, was funny.
"It was so funny watching him acting like everything was normal," Woods told Haney.
"I got him pretty good."
In the book, Haney wrote that Woods would make others pick up the tab for takeout orders and would leave a restaurant abruptly when he had finished eating, regardless of whether his dining companions had finished.
"When he was done - and he habitually ate fast - you were done," Haney wrote, adding that Woods "seemed to think it was funny to be cheap."
Haney worked with Woods from 2004 until May 2010 when he quit via text message.
Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, inferred the timing of the book's release, just ahead of the Masters, revealed Haney's true colours.
"The disruptive timing of this book shows that Haney's self-promotion is more important to him than any other person or tournament," Steinberg said.