For the majority of his professional career, Tiger Woods off-days were like Feb. 30: nonexistent.
Often, the 15-time major champion’s quietest days were the ones he spent competing in events. All the other days, in Tiger’s Logic, were hours he could be spending improving himself and his golf game. There are no shortage of legendary anecdotes to back up that claim, many of them attesting the long hours he spent in the gym to prepare his body for the physical grind of consistent play and his golf swing.
On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz dove into Woods’ escapades with his former swing coach, Hank Haney, who recalled in great detail Woods’ ridiculous “off-day” schedule.
“He doesn’t sleep much, he didn’t sleep maybe 4-5 hours a night,” Haney said. “So he’s up early, goes to the gym. He’d be in the gym by 6-6:30 in the morning, I’d be rolling out by 8-8:30 when he came back. Then we’d have breakfast and we’d be on the practice tee by 8:45 or 9. Usually, it’s short game first or pitch shots, and then he’d go to the full swing, hit a full swing on the driving range. Then he’d want to play nine holes, we’d go play nine holes. Go eat lunch. Back to the driving range, go hit balls. Go play nine more holes. Go work on the putting. After that, some more short game.”
A pretty quiet day, y’know, other than the whole golf thing.
But it gets better. Haney served as Tiger’s swing coach from 2004-2010, and he said he recalls a few memories when Tiger’s off-day was even busier.
“I remember the first time I worked with him we went back to the house around 6 at night, and I went up and take a shower,” Haney said. “I go downstairs and he’s in the gym and I said ‘what are we doing?’ and he said, ‘when I’m done with my shoulder exercises we’ll go to dinner.’”
The gym time was therapy from the day-to-day pressures of being Tiger, which played a key role in helping Woods maintain his level of greatness for so long. But still, Haney can’t help but wonder if at times it may have been overkill, too much at one time, which helped to contribute to some of the physical issues he faces today.
“That was pretty much like it was pretty much every day,” Haney said. “So it was a lot, if you count in all the gym time, which I think a lot of time was overdone with Tiger. I remember we were at the Masters and I was like ‘do we really need to go the gym for like three hours? Couldn’t we go for an hour-and-a-half and go practice our putting?’ But that was how it was.”
Ultimately, Haney says, the same logic that might have led to the physical struggles of the last 10 years was the mindset that made Tiger, Tiger.
“There is no such thing as staying the same,” he said. “You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse.”
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