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19th Hole

Hank Haney: ‘This whole hit the fairway thing is a bunch of baloney, and it always has been’; blasts golf media ‘idiots’



Hank Haney took to his podcast this week to share his strong views on the importance of distance in the game, while also slamming golf media ‘idiots’ who questioned him over Tiger’s accuracy with the driver during their time together.

The 65-year-old claimed that “if you can’t hit the long ball, the game has passed you by”, and on his show cited Henrik Stenson as an example as to why.

Haney explained how the Swede hits many fairways because he often takes 3-wood, and broke down the numbers to illustrate why the concept that accuracy off the tee is important is ‘a bunch of baloney’.

“In 2020, he (Stenson) was 5th in accuracy off the tee, but yet he was 163rd in strokes gained off the tee. The advantage you get from driving comes from distance. This is why Rory is up there at the top, DJ is up there at the top and DeChambeau was number one last year.

This whole hit the fairway thing is a bunch of baloney, and it always has been.”

Haney then went back to his successful period coaching Tiger Woods and took aim at those who at the time criticised Tiger’s driving – with some scathing remarks directed towards those in the media.

“I remember when I was coaching Tiger, from 2004 to 2010, and those absolute idiots that follow golf that are the media. This is like the ‘fake news’.

The golf media idiots who don’t know anything about the game and they used to ask me all the time about Tiger’s driving accuracy, and I’m like ‘it doesn’t matter, it’s a meaningless statistic’. As long as you keep it in play and miss it in the right spot and hit a few key fairways, that’s all you have to do.”

Haney then summed up his thoughts on what the goal should be when driving the ball: “You want distance and you want to be able to find your ball. If you can do that, you’re going to do good.”

Check out the audio from the Hank Haney podcast below.

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito



  1. Mike Gross

    Dec 7, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    In the run-up to every major (except maybe the Masters) or any tour event with rough, point a mic at any player, and what does he say? “The key this week is going to be driving it in the fairway.”

    That’s not the media talking, Hank.

  2. Mike

    Nov 5, 2020 at 11:44 am

    It’s funny how Hank Haney is trying to create some revisionist history. When he was actually coaching tiger he publicly stated that one of their goals was for tiger to hit more fairways. Before he was fired from Sirius satellite radio I’ve heard him on many occasions talk about some of the things they would do to get tiger to be more accurate off the tee including putting the golf club in the palm of his left hand which Hank said allowed him to spin the ball more with the driver and hit more fairways. Now he’s claiming he knew it was all about the long ball all along.

  3. geohogan

    Nov 3, 2020 at 9:37 am

    Too bad Mr Haney seems to know more about hitting the long ball , than how golfers can swing without causing permanent injury.

    The golf gurus’ , “fake” instruction took away Tigers perfect golf swing(2000) and made changes that caused permanent damage to Tigers body… all for the sake of more distance?

    • phizzy

      Nov 15, 2020 at 8:04 pm

      That had more to do with his PED use.

      • geohogan

        Nov 26, 2020 at 4:52 pm

        2:09 note his position at top of BS, throughout 2000. Almost identical to Ben Hogan in his prime.

        compare to about 2004 onward, how much steeper his DS, became. Thats what damaged the knee then the lower back, IMO. The lower body doesnt rotate when DS is steep.

  4. Gunter Eisenberg

    Nov 1, 2020 at 9:04 am


    2015 Top 5 driving accuracy combined earnings on the PGA Tour = $4.5 Million
    2015 Top 5 driving distance combined earnings on the PGA Tour = $27.5 Million

  5. Tom

    Oct 30, 2020 at 9:58 am

    It’s one thing to make this generalization about elite golfers. Most of us struggle with making decent contact with our shots. The value of “seeing the back of the golf ball” more than makes up for the one, two or even three club advantage the average golfer gains by hitting driver on every tee. Add to this the fact that most of us play courses that have poorly maintained rough, without the benefit of those nicely placed white lines designating those areas deemed unplayable. When we go to the practice range we do not practice hitting shots from poor lies we we encounter in the rough.

    • PSG

      Nov 3, 2020 at 9:19 am

      This has been studied and your comment isn’t true. Read the study by Mark Broadie from Columbia University. An amateur is better with an 8 iron from heavy rough than a 6 iron in the middle of the fairway. By about 1.3 yards on average.

      You can not like it or try to make up stuff to excuse it, but he’s absolutely right. When it comes to score bomb and gauge is by far and away the most efficient way to shoot a good golf score.

      • phizzy

        Nov 15, 2020 at 8:07 pm

        PSG you are correct. I AVERAGE close to 300 yards off the tee and post better scores on holes where I’m 300 plus yards in the rough with 7 iron down rather than hitting a 270 yard mis hit in the fairway with more than 7 iron. FACT.

      • Gunny

        Nov 16, 2020 at 11:08 am

        This is 100% accurate. The ONLY caveat is that if you are out of play. If you can keep it in play (have a legitimate swing at the green, not hitting 3 from the tee, etc) then being in the rough isn’t a problem.

  6. DaveyD

    Oct 30, 2020 at 9:05 am

    For me, it’s all about the shot to the green. I hit long enough where my golfing buddies are hitting their 3, 4, or hybrid and I’m usually hitting a short iron. I’ll never complain about hitting the long ball.

  7. simms

    Oct 30, 2020 at 2:42 am

    just put in the rules a driver face must not have any rebound (COR) at swing speeds up to 150 MPH and the over 300 yard driver will come back within reason…95% of average golfers do not gain an inch with the same drive a long hitter is gaining 15 or more yards. When John Daly was hitting the 300 yard mark (and every one else was under 275) his driver had no advantage in the face and that is the way it should be now.

  8. Large chris

    Oct 29, 2020 at 10:25 am

    The theory of missing in the right place is obviously correct, but Tiger has had a two way driver miss for much of his career including with Haney. Haney even said in his book he wanted Tiger to loft up a bit with the driver to reduce his misses.

    • Travis

      Oct 29, 2020 at 12:59 pm

      Don’t mistake “missing in the right place” for missing one way every single time. What Haney means by missing in the “right place” is that your miss isn’t going to cost you a stroke from going OB or in the water. It doesn’t matter if you miss left and right, you just need to keep it in play enough so you can advance the 2nd shot.

      • geohogan

        Nov 5, 2020 at 9:08 pm

        Missing in the “right place” isnt a miss.
        In past years, it was called course management.

        When you intend to hit a 320 yard drive down the right side and MISS
        it to the left side, that is a miss. Cant have it both ways, Hankey.

  9. JP

    Oct 29, 2020 at 8:04 am

    100% correct. I’ve yet to meet a golfer that complains about hitting the ball too far. Everyone knows if you miss, miss it in the right spot.

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19th Hole

Lawyer uses Tiger Woods analogy in court…and it does not go down well



If you love relating golf to all aspects of life, you are not alone. Unfortunately for a golf-loving Kentucky lawyer, a recent Tiger Woods analogy in a court room fell flat.

The case in question featured a man by the name of Maurice Gasaway (named by Sportico) who was convicted of possessing heroin and marijuana. During the jury selection process, the prosecutor attempted to explain the idea of “reasonable doubt” through the lens of a hypothetical golf match with Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

The lawyer stated: “But, who in here believes if I was to go out and play golf with Rory and Tiger, that it’s possible, possible that I could beat them in nine holes? Does everyone agree it’s possible? Anything’s possible. Both their arms could fall off. Okay. It’s possible. Maybe extreme, but it’s possible. Anything could happen, okay.”

He continued, “Is it reasonable to believe that I would beat both of them? No. No, it’s not reasonable. Um, it’s not. If you play golf, you know it’s not reasonable. Does everybody understand the difference between possible and reasonable though? Okay. Now, does everybody agree to hold this man responsible for his actions if I meet my burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt?”

Woefully for the lawyer, the judge ruled that while prosecutors may define to juries what reasonable doubt is not, using hypothetical scenarios is far from ideal.

Judge Taylor ultimately deemed it an incorrect use of the analogy. While we are firm believers that every aspect of life can relate back to golf, this attempt might have been a little ambitious.

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19th Hole

Gary Woodland surprises friend with Special Olympic selection



Gary Woodland and Amy Bockerstette’s friendship dates all the way back to the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Bockerstette parred TPC Scottsdale’s famous 16th hole during the pro-am, with Woodland cheering by her side.

Bockerstette and Woodland remained in touch. The four-time PGA Tour winner even credited her, “I got this,” mantra for helping him with the 2019 U.S. Open later that year at Pebble Beach.

Bockerstette, who has Down syndrome, was one of five golfers chosen for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, which will be held next June in Orlando, Florida. Through a zoom call, Gary Woodland was the one to deliver his friend the news.

“I was so happy to see Gary invite me to go to Florida next year for the Special Olympics USA Games. We are best friends. I am very excited to go to Disney too,” Bockerstette told ESPN.

Bockerstette, who plays golf for Paradise Valley Community College, was also the first person with Down syndrome to ever play in a collegiate championship, when she competed in the NJCAA Division I women’s national golf championship. She will be amongst over 200 athletes competing in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games.

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19th Hole

Tour pro gets rock “stuck” in club, prompts strange ruling



Kiradech Aphibarnrat embarked on quite the adventure on the par-five 12th hole at Wentworth Golf Club during the third round of the European Tour’s BMW Championship.

The four-time European Tour winner hit his tee shot into a drainage ditch, and elected to play the ball as it was. Aphibarnrat was able to advance the ball close to 10-yards out of the hazard, getting doused by water in the process.

As Aphibarnrat emerged from the hazard, he noticed that there was a stone embedded inside his club. The Thailand native promptly called an official.

The issue was that Aphibarnrat was having difficulty removing the stone from the club, yet according to Rule 4.1a, he was still allowed to use the club for the remainder of the round.

Aphibarnrat still managed to par the hole as part of a third round two-over par 72. He proceeded to finish the tournament one stroke back of eventual winner Billy Horschel.

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