ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Hank Haney has made numerous trips to the British Open in his teaching career, first with Mark O’Meara and then with Tiger Woods. But this week Haney is in Lake Tahoe looking over Charles Barkley and Ray Romano at the celebrity event.
The Woods questions still follow Haney, the break-up and whether Woods will win the British Open.
“I think he’s going to win the British Open this week,” Haney said in a press conference in Lake Tahoe. “That would be my pick.”
While that’s not much of leap considering the bookies have Woods at a 6-1 favorite, it still is interesting that Haney sees Woods turning the corner since the world No. 1 has not won an event since last November.
Eventually Haney clarified his answer, which may explain why Woods doesn’t win this week.
“If you’re asking me to pick a winner at a golf tournament, it’s always very difficult. You have to putt good,” Haney said. “There’s a certain amount of luck in putting. You’re not putting on a pool table. Things can happen. You can hit a great putt and it doesn’t necessarily go in.”
Woods is ranked 45th on the PGA Tour in putting average at 1.760. Not very good when you consider that he was ranked 23rd in 2009, third in 2008 and fourth in 2007.
Digging a little deeper, Woods is 150th in overall putting average and 162nd in three-putt avoidance. He will have to find considerable luck this week on slow greens, the type of greens he is doesn’t like.
But like many, Haney still believes that Tiger of old will return to the Old Course and work his magic.
“I really believe that this will be a great week for Tiger,” Haney said. “The conditions are supposed to be tough. He can handle the conditions. Mentally he can handle them, and he has all the shots. He has all the golf shots. So I really feel like he’s going to get his game going this week, and I think he’s going to win that tournament.”