Tiger Woods' former coach Hank Haney believes the world number seven doesn't care as much as he used to, following his decision to not play competitively again until the Open.
The 14-time major winner made a surprising return to the PGA Tour last week at Congressional at the Quicken Loans National, but after comfortably missing the cut following rounds of 74 and 75, he will have played just 36 holes of competitive golf in four months when he tees it up at Royal Liverpool next week.
And Haney, who coached Woods for six years between 2004 and 2010, has called into question his former player's attitude after the 38-year-old chose not to play in this week's Greenbrier Classic nor next week's Scottish Open.
"That he isn’t going to play competitively in the two weeks running up to the Open speaks to the fact that he doesn’t care as much as he used to,” he said in an interview with The Scotsman.
“Still, you can’t win if you don’t enter. Maybe he will catch lightning in a bottle. But I really think he is using the Open to get ready for the PGA at Valhalla next month. That’s a much more realistic target for him.”
Haney and Woods' relationship has been consistently in the spotlight for the past two years following the coach's 2012 book 'The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods', which was met with disapproval from the 79-time PGA Tour winner.
Earlier this year in February, Haney once again laid into Woods, stating he had "overdone" his gym workouts and was now "too big".
With the Open less than a fortnight away and Woods missing most of the season following surgery on a pinched nerve in his lower back in early April, Sir Nick Faldo wondered whether the man chasing Jack Nicklaus' record major haul of 18 might tee it up in Scotland this coming week in order to shake off any rustiness in his swing.
However, Woods has chosen not to, and Haney believes rust is not the only problem with the three-time Open winner's swing.
“Tiger’s swing looked the same as it did before he left. Speaking as a fan, that was more than a little disappointing.
"I didn’t see anything different. He was still setting up for a big slice off the tee. Other people might call it a fade, but that isn’t a fade Tiger is hitting, it’s a slice.”
The former world number one will certainly be quizzed on Haney's comments in the build-up to third major of the season, but whether he chooses to respond is another matter, after he famously admitted he had no plans to read his former coach's book about him when it was published two years ago.
Despite his inactivity on the golf course in 2014, Woods will still start as one of the bookies' favourites next week at Hoylake.
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