Tiger's coach set to publish tell-all book

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Tiger's coach set to publish tell-all book

From Comcast SportsNet
KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) -- Hank Haney has written a book about the six years he spent as Tiger Woods' swing coach, a volatile time in which Woods went from winning nearly half of his tournaments to a scandal that derailed his pursuit of golf history. "I get asked all the time about Tiger, what it was like to work with him," Haney said in a telephone interview. "I felt like I had a front row seat to golf history. It just kind of chronicles a little bit of what I went through, what I dealt with, how I coached and the observations I made." Haney began working with Woods at the Bay Hill Invitational in 2004. They parted ways a month after the 2010 Masters, where Woods made his return to golf after being exposed for multiple extramarital affairs that shattered his image and led to divorce. Most of the people involved with Woods have signed a nondisclosure agreement. Haney said he signed no such thing -- "I didn't even have a contract," he said -- although he said the book was not intended to "take jabs at anyone." Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent at Excel Sports Management, said he was aware of the book 'The Big Miss' but that Woods had not seen any excerpts and would have no comment. Haney was asked whether he thought Woods will like it. "If he reads it, I don't think it will be a book that bothers him. It's hard to say," Haney said. "Anybody who reads it will think it's interesting, very fair and honest, and that's what I wanted to do. I was on that job for six years. There were 110 days a year I was with him. I stayed at his house for close to 30 days a year. You make a lot of observations." The book will be released by Crown Archetype, part of the Crown Publishing Group at Random House, Inc. It is scheduled to be published March 27 -- one week before the Masters -- and issued simultaneously in print and digital formats in the United States and Canada. Haney wrote the book with Jaime Diaz of Golf Digest, whose coverage dates to when Woods was a teenager and Diaz played golf with Woods and his father. Diaz also spoke at the memorial service for Earl Woods. He said the title was collaboration. "It has multiple meanings," Haney said. "The Big Miss' was golf jargon. The big miss of a drive, obviously that's been part of his game. The big miss of an opportunity? That's really where we got the idea. It was a missed opportunity that Tiger and I had that we experienced working together. That all comes out in the book." Haney was the second of three coaches Woods has used as a professional, though he was part of the most interesting times. He received more criticism than any coach, even though Woods won 29 times and six majors during their six years. "The period of time that I dealt with Tiger was much more unique, in terms of having the scandal, Torrey Pines with the broken leg at the U.S. Open, other things, too," Haney said. "It was a totally different time." Woods went nine months without winning after going to work with Haney. Starting with the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan at the end of the 2005 season, however, Woods won 46 percent of the tournaments he played worldwide. During their six years together, Woods got married and had two children. His father died in May 2006, and Woods missed the cut in a major for the first time at the U.S. Open a month later. As for the serial adultery, Haney said he didn't know about it and doesn't delve into that chapter of Woods' life in the book, except for his return from the scandal after going nearly five months without competition. "It's something you can't NOT talk about it," Haney said. "My last tournament was the Masters, and that was his first tournament back from the scandal. I didn't know anything about the girls. That's not something I could specifically comment on. Everything I comment on is what I observed and the facts I knew. I didn't know anything about that. "But I did know about how he interacted with me about that, what my observations were and other areas in terms of how I dealt with and the aftermath." The most compelling win under Haney came at the 2008 U.S. Open, when Woods learned he had a double stress fracture in left leg, along with torn ligaments in his left knee. Despite not competing for two months, he won in a playoff over Rocco Mediate. Haney recalled doctors telling Woods before that U.S. Open that he needed to spend three weeks on crutches, followed by three weeks of rest. Haney says Woods told the doctors, "I'm playing the U.S. Open, and I'm going to win." Pressed for examples of his observations in the book, Haney declined, not even to mention his favorite moment or the low point in his coaching relationship with Woods. Haney said he knew all along he would be writing a book. He worked primarily with Mark O'Meara, which is how he got to know Woods. Haney said from the day he first went to work with Woods, he knew that would be his last pro client. He took notes and kept his observations in diaries, then waited to find the right publisher and someone -- Diaz -- to help him with the book. Haney said he hasn't seen the finished product, but "we're very close." "It was an incredible opportunity," Haney said. "We had a great run and I enjoyed it, but a lot of things happened in six years that made it feel a little longer. I had a lot of great observations from being in the position I was in."

A's spring training update Day 6: Davis savors winter in Oakland

A's spring training update Day 6: Davis savors winter in Oakland

MESA, Ariz. — Khris Davis enjoyed quite an offseason travel itinerary, checking out Toronto, taking in the beaches of Hawaii and dining on lobster in Belize.

However, it was the time spent in his adopted hometown of Oakland that most struck a chord with the A’s left fielder. After finishing his first season with the A’s, Davis followed through on his plan to make his offseason home in Oakland, and he was glad he did.

“I got to just feel the heart of the city,” he said upon arriving at camp Sunday. “That was basically the purpose of why I was there. … I wanted to feel Oakland. I love it, honestly. I love the city.”

He trained at Dogtown Athletic, a gym in West Oakland. He took part in the A’s holiday party for kids at the Oakland Zoo, joined by A’s Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, who grew up in the city.

“Just to feel these kids’ happiness,” Davis said. “They didn’t look at me as a baseball player. They just looked at me as a role model kind of.”

It should be music to the ears of A’s fans that the team’s most dangerous hitter has a love affair with the city he plays in. If the A’s ever entertained the idea of trying to sign Davis to a multi-year extension, and that’s purely hypothetical here, it would help that Davis feels comfortable in his surroundings.

Even when he described Oakland in edgy terms, such as when he said it “has its dark side,” he seemed to find it endearing.

In return, Davis felt the love from the fan base in 2016, hitting a career-high 42 homers with a team-best 102 RBI. That was despite the awful start he got off to, hitting .143 and mustering just one RBI over his first 12 games.

Obviously, any chances the A’s have of improving last year’s American League-worst offense rely on the 29-year-old Davis having another big year. But over-analysis is one thing he tries to avoid.

“I don’t want to get caught up in last year — the slow start and the strong finish, whatever,” he said. “However it was, I’m just ready to do this year.”

Davis decided to back out of his plan to play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, saying his main priority was preparing for his A’s season.

“My main focus is to perform for the organization,” he said. “I feel like I want to get off on the right foot this year.”

NOTEWORTHY: Heavy showers continued to pelt Mesa on Sunday, spoiling the A’s first full-squad workout. The hitters were relegated to swinging in the cages and playing catch, while pitchers were scheduled for a day off from throwing on the mound anyway.

“If ever there was a day, at least for the pitchers, that you don’t need to (work out), it’s today,” manager Bob Melvin said. “But when you have everybody there on the first day, you wanna get out on the field and do everything. Hopefully we can incorporate everything tomorrow.”

The A’s have a whopping 70 players in camp, more than in any other spring Melvin can remember as a big league manager. He addressed the full team in a meeting Sunday morning.

His message?

“We’re gonna have to outwork, out-hustle everybody like we have in the past,” he said, “and get back to playing the game with the same tenacity that we did a couple years ago.”

FAMILIAR FACE: Longtime A’s second baseman Mark Ellis is back for the second year in a row as a spring infield instructor. The plan is for Ellis to spend a week with the team now, then another week later in camp.

“I’ll take Mark Ellis as many days as I can have him,” Melvin said.

LIGHTER SIDE: Nursing his broken right foot, starting pitcher Daniel Mengden has been making his way through the clubhouse on a knee scooter in order to keep pressure off his foot.

Apparently, it looks more fun than it really is.

“I contribute to society Friday, when I can start walking again,” Mengden quipped.

Giants spring training Day 7: Rule change should help Bochy

Giants spring training Day 7: Rule change should help Bochy

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — On one of the many nights last season when his bullpen imploded, Bruce Bochy nearly put a catcher on the mound. Trevor Brown ended up playing an inning of third base on June 28 as the Giants gave up eight runs over the final two innings in a brutal loss to the A’s, and he said this week that he was told he was the next man up on the mound. 

That night was an odd one, as a tired bullpen was waiting for Sergio Romo to get activated off a rehab assignment and trying to get by without long reliever Chris Stratton, who had thrown 57 pitches out of the ‘pen the night before. The bench was also short because Joe Panik was about to be put on the concussion DL.

Bochy hopes he doesn’t have to deal with such a situation this season, and not just because the bullpen should be much improved. The disabled list lasts 10 days now, not 15, and Bochy is thrilled with the new rule.

“The DL thing, I really like it,” he said. “You get caught in that gray area so often.” 

Bochy met with league officials on Saturday to go over some of the rule changes. DL stints can now be made retroactive just three days, but it’s still a vast improvement overall. 

“With (position) players and pitchers it’s going to make it easier to DL guys,” Bochy said. “If you’re looking at (starting) pitchers, they could miss just one start.”

The Giants have often played a man or more short, trying to get by day-by-day to give a position player or starter time to heal. Around camp, this could be called the Angel Pagan Rule, as the former Giants outfielder often missed a week or so before officially going on the DL. At times, Bochy has been patient with players like Buster Posey and Hunter Pence, knowing that even if they missed a week, keeping them off the DL could still earn the Giants seven or eight games with a big bat back in the lineup. If a future diagnosis is that a player will miss a week, it’ll be much easier to swallow putting him on the 10-day DL than it was for the 15-day. Likewise, the Giants will take advantage of the change if a pitcher will have to miss a start. 

Bochy has said often that he would like every reliever to go on the DL during the season to freshen up. That’ll make more sense now, and it should keep the Giants from having to play as many games where the bullpen is gassed and a backup catcher is preparing to pitch. For guys like Stratton — a versatile pitcher on the 40-man roster — it should also lead to increased trips up to the big leagues to fill gaps. 

INJURY UPDATE: Pence (side muscle) took 25 swings during a live BP session in the cage and Bochy said he’s doing much better. That was about the only significant activity Sunday. Once again, the workout was rained out. Bochy said the Giants have enough time to get guys ready for the Cactus League opener on Feb. 24, but they’ll likely hold some big-name pitchers out of the early games. Brandon Crawford and Posey will get plenty of early starts to prepare for the WBC. 

PROSPECT WATCH: If the early games are turned over to prospects, Dan Slania will be an interesting guy to watch. Slania is listed at 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, so he always had the look of an imposing reliever. But his greatest success last season came after a surprise move to the rotation. 

Slania, a 2013 fifth-round pick out of Notre Dame, got a call on his 24th birthday telling him to prepare to start because of an injury in Richmond’s rotation. He had not started a game since high school, but his four-pitch mix worked. He had a 5.32 ERA out of the bullpen but it dropped to 1.48 in 10 starts for the Flying Squirrels. In two Triple-A starts, he struck out 14 over 13 innings while allowing just eight hits and two runs. The Giants put him on their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. 

“He had a great year last year,” Bochy said. “He’s in camp for a reason. He’s got great stuff and a good makeup.”

RULE CHANGE: One more thing that came out of that rules meeting: Managers who are out of challenges now have to wait until the eighth inning to ask an umpire to look at a play.

QUOTABLE: “We know he’s better off taking some days. We talked about it (with him). He agrees that it’ll help him.” Bochy on Pence’s workload. The right fielder is coming off two injury-marred seasons, and the Giants have no intention of even trying to get him back to his Iron Man days.