Tiger Woods' major quest is taking a toll, says Hank Haney

Hank Haney and Tiger Woods
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Hank Haney believes that winning majors will get even more difficult as Tiger Woods gets to Jack Nicklaus' all-time record.
By John Holmes

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Friday, June 21, 2013 | 6:46 p.m.

In the wake of the U.S. Open, Tiger Woods' former coach Hank Haney believes Woods' persistent focus on breaking Jack Nicklaus' major record is wearing on him.

''Pressure affects everyone, even Tiger Woods, and the pressure at majors that Tiger puts on himself is a factor and always has been,'' Haney told Robert Lusetich over at FoxSports.com. ''Being the favorite in every major is a pressure that only Tiger faces. Trying to catch someone's record like Tiger is trying to do with Jack is a much different dynamic than when Jack was adding to his major win total.

''Tiger is having a real hard time winning the easiest major he is going to win – No. 15. No. 18 to tie Jack and 19 to beat Jack, those are going to be the hard ones,” Haney said. ''If he gets that far.''

Haney, who coached Woods for six years until they split in 2010, also believes that Woods is slacking off when it comes to getting ready for majors.

''For whatever reason, Tiger doesn't prepare for majors as hard as he could,'' he told Lusetich. ''He plays the course in a rushed way maybe once or twice before the tournament week, then in the tournament week Tiger has gotten into a routine of playing nine-hole practice rounds on some days.''

Haney also was critical of the evolution of Woods' game under current swing coach Sean Foley.

''Tiger's ball striking statistically isn't as good as it was,'' he said. ''His greens-in-regulation statistic was always No. 1 or near that with both Butch (Harmon) and I; now he is 35th or something like that.'' Woods' current GIR ranking is 39th.

''Always hitting to the center of the green and working the ball to the pins on the edges gives any player a clear statistical advantage to an appropriate pin,'' Haney said. ''Tiger used to do this better than anyone, but now it is almost like he is playing the same game as everyone else and just trying to execute it better.''

Neither Woods nor Foley has responded to Haney's comments. Woods' next chance to win a major is the British Open at Muirfield in mid-July.

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People spend far too much time psychoanalyzing Tiger and his game. There is no doubt Tiger will break Jack’s record, he is still relatively young, and still has enough talent to compete at a high level.