Tiger Woods, who became golf’s most famous and dominant figure before his fall three years ago, seriously considered giving up his clubs to become a Navy SEAL, according to a new book from his former coach.
Excerpts from the book The Big Miss, written by Woods’s former coach Hank Haney, said Woods had come up with plans to become a SEAL, and did four days of special-operations training at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
“Tiger was seriously considering becoming a Navy SEAL,” Haney writes, according to excerpts posted by the magazine Golf Digest. “I didn't know how he'd go about it, but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan.
“I thought, Wow, here is Tiger Woods, greatest athlete on the planet, maybe the greatest athlete ever, right in the middle of his prime, basically ready to leave it all behind for a military life," he writes in the book, which will be released next month.
The Navy SEALs have gained a big reputation in the past year, after a SEAL team conducted the mission that killed Osama bin Laden last year and rescued hostages in Somalia in January. Real SEALs star in the movie “Act of Valor” that was released this month.
Woods, whose father was a Green Beret, participated in special-ops training at Fort Bragg that included two tandem parachute jumps, hand-to-hand combat exercises, four-mile runs wearing combat boots and wind-tunnel drills, according to the excerpt.
Haney wrote that Woods clearly enjoyed the military training. “One morning I was in the kitchen when he came back from a long run around Isleworth, and I noticed he was wearing Army boots,” he wrote. “Tiger admitted that he'd worn the heavy shoes before on the same route. 'I beat my best time,' he said.”
Haney said there was concern Woods would exacerbate a knee injury with the military training.
Woods’s agent Mark Steinberg gave a statement to the Orlando Sentinel seeking to discredit the book, calling it “armchair psychology about Tiger, on matters he admits they didn’t even discuss.”
“Because of his father, it’s no secret that Tiger has always had high respect for the military,” Steinberg said, “so for Haney to twist that admiration into something negative is disrespectful.”