Tiger Woods may never beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championship victories, but his former coach told The Forecaddie he believes Woods will at least get to 15 majors – even though he’s been stuck on 14 for an injury-plagued decade.
“I think he’s going to win another major,” Hank Haney told The Man Out Front. Haney coached Woods from 2004 until 2010. While he’s confident Woods will add to his major tally, he’s not optimistic it will happen in 2018.
“If next year’s venues were this year, then I’d say I think he can win a major this year. But I’m a little hesitant about the venues this year,” Haney said.
Woods’ record at this year’s major venues is relatively middling by his standards. At the U.S. Open venue of Shinnecock Hills he finished T-9 at the ’04 Open and withdrew with a wrist injury at the ’95 edition as an amateur. He twice has played the British Open at Carnoustie, logging a T-7 in 1999 and a T-12 eight years later. He never has competed at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, host of the PGA Championship in August.
The 2019 U.S. Open will be at Pebble Beach, where Woods won by a record 15 shots in 2000, the same year he also won the regular PGA Tour event there, the AT&T National Pro-Am. He was T-4 in the ’10 Open at Pebble. Next year’s PGA Championship is at Bethpage State Park in Long Island, N.Y., where Woods won the U.S. Open in 2002 and finished T-6 in ’09. He hasn’t played competitively at Royal Portrush, which hosts the British Open for the first time in 68 years.
What about Augusta National?
Woods has won there four times, but not since the current generation of PGA Tour stars were pre-teens. Haney says he isn’t at all optimistic on a fifth green jacket.
“He hasn’t won there since 2005,” Haney said. “He’s won one time on the new course there since they really lengthened it out and put all those trees in.”
In nine Masters appearances since that last win, Woods has logged two second-place finishes, a T-3, three T-4s and a T-6. But as Haney points out, Augusta National is more unforgiving of Woods’ weaknesses than it once was.
“He struggles off No. 1 tee,” Haney said. “He really struggles off No. 2 tee. He hits 3-wood off 13 – then the best you can hope for is a hanging lie with a 4- or 5-iron. And he three-putts too much there. He just has.”
Even if Haney doesn’t see another jacket in Tiger’s future, his positive outlook will give succor to fans eager to see Woods back on top in the tournaments that matter most. Gwk
(Note: This story appears in the Jan. 29, 2018 issue of Golfweek.)