Woods: Friction with Haney overblown

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Tiger Woods was furious at how he hit the ball at the Masters, and he said after the final round that he used a “Band-Aid” swing to get around Augusta National in 68.

That led to some news reports that Hank Haney’s days were numbered as Woods’ swing coach.

“That’s complete speculation,” Woods said Wednesday. “It has nothing to do with Henry. I didn’t hit the ball the way I wanted to, and I didn’t make any putts. I felt like that every day. It was 17 and 18 that hurt. I didn’t finish off my rounds the last couple of days, and it cost me a chance to win the golf tournament.”

Much of the speculation focused on a practice session Friday afternoon, when Woods was pounding drivers in frustration and griping about his swing to Haney, the only other person at his side. Steve Williams, the caddie, has been around long enough to know when Woods needed to blow off some steam, so he stayed near the clubhouse and ate lunch.

“Usually, you just leave me alone, let me vent for a while and then I’ll be ready to focus on what I need to do to get ready for the next day,” Woods said. “It’s happened before. He (Haney) has seen it before. Stevie has seen it. You’ve got to vent.”

Haney is not at the Quail Hollow Championship, but he was with Woods last weekend in Florida working on his game.

Some reports, mainly on the Internet, also had Haney on his way out as the swing coach toward the end of 2007, when he was not at the Bridgestone Invitational or PGA Championship. Unknown at the time was that Haney had to attend to personal matters at home. Woods closed out that season winning four of his last five tournaments.

ARGENTINE APPETITE: According to a story in Sports Illustrated on the Masters, Angel Cabrera has such an appetite that at the champions dinner Sunday night after his victory, the Argentine found the “Tiger Woods Cheeseburger” so much to his liking that he ate nine of them, washed down by red wine (the burgers were said to be small).

Cabrera said this wasn’t the case.

“No, it’s not true,” he said through an interpreter, swing coach Charlie Epps. “I don’t like hamburgers, anyway. It’s not true.”

So what will be on the menu for the Champions Dinner next year on the Tuesday of the Masters?

True to his root, the past champions can expect beef.

“Like a good Argentine, we’re going to have a great ‘asado,’ which is a great barbecue with a lot of different meats,” Cabrera said. “And a little wine.”

PREMATURE ENDING: Chad Campbell had a tough time going over some of the shots he missed on the back nine of the Masters, where he lost in a playoff, but it didn’t keep him from watching the tournament on tape.

But not the entire final round.

“I didn’t see the playoff hole,” Campbell said with a smile.

That’s probably a good thing, for he was in the middle of the 18th fairway with a 7-iron, blocked it into the bunker, blasted out to 5 feet and missed the cut to get eliminated.

It’s not like Campbell turned off the TV or turned his head. He used a digital video recorder, and well ...

“You know how it works with playoffs and stuff,” he said. “Sometimes, it doesn’t continue to record. And for some reason, it didn’t record it (the playoff). I really don’t know what happened, to be honest. My wife just told me that it didn’t get the whole thing.”

Campbell said if he gets a copy of the playoff, he’ll be sure to watch it – even if he doesn’t like the outcome.

QUICK FIX: The pro-am brought one moment rarely seen with Tiger Woods – the world’s No. 1 player strolling down the fairway while talking on his cell phone.

Who was he calling?

The answer was evident when Rick Nichols of Nike hustled inside the ropes to Woods, then took his putter and 3-wood and began jogging off toward the equipment trailer.

The 3-wood needed a new grip. That was simple enough.

And the putter that Woods has used to win 13 of his majors? Turns out the loft had changed ever so slight, which Nichols said happens on occasion. He adjusted it by three-quarters of a degree.

The putter was returned one hole later, and Woods made a 20-foot eagle putt.

“Good job, Rick,” Woods called out to him. “You did the company proud.”

Of course, the putter is the one club that is not made by Nike. Woods has been using a Scotty Cameron putter that Mark O’Meara gave him at the 1998 British Open.

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