‘What Hank Did Is Against the Rules’
By Conor Nagle under PGA Tour

Haney and Tiger: it's not me; it's you.

Former swing coach to the stars Rick Smith didn’t hold back yesterday when asked about his colleague (and rival) Hank Haney’s controversial decision to publish an account of his six-year professional relationship with Tiger Woods.

Speaking at Bay Hill on the eve of this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, Smith, a former coach of Phil Mickelson and long-time advisor to a number of PGA Tour stars, told ESPN’s Farrell Evans that Haney’s memoir, The Big Miss, amounted to a violation of golf’s “code of ethics”.

“I would rather be broke and not have a penny to my name before I violate the code of player-teacher confidentiality… In 27 years out here, I’ve never done that. I’m personally upset with Hank because he’s broken and violated our code of ethics. If you have the opportunity and you’re privileged to conversations, you will not and should not share anything from them with anyone. I don’t care who it is.”

Smith – a self-proclaimed golfing “visionary”– didn’t shy away from contrasting his own discretion with that of the 1993 PGA Teacher of the Year.

“Your relationship with these players is for a lifetime. All the guys that I have worked with are still my dearest friends.”

The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods hits the shelves of all good bookshops (and some crap ones, too) next Tuesday, March 27.

Conor Nagle