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Tiger Woods' Former Coach: Golfer Had Planned on Quitting to Become a SEAL


"Tiger did two tandem parachute jumps, engaged in hand-to-hand combat exercises, went on four-mile runs wearing combat boots..."

Tiger Woods the Navy SEAL? That's what Woods's former golf coach is saying almost happened.

In an explosive new book by Hank Haney titled, "The Big Miss," Woods's former golf guru says one of the world's most recognizable golfers almost gave it all up to become a SEAL.

"Tiger was seriously considering becoming a Navy SEAL. I didn't know how he'd go about it, but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan," Haney writes in an excerpt. "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.'"

How close was that to becoming a reality? According to Haney, Woods had started training with elite soldiers.

"The purpose was a sort of 'dry run' to determine whether he could physically and mentally handle the demands," Haney writes in the book, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Haney cites the time Woods spent four days of special operations training in 2004 at Fort Bragg, N.C.

"Tiger did two tandem parachute jumps, engaged in hand-to-hand combat exercises, went on four-mile runs wearing combat boots, and did drills in a wind tunnel," Haney writes. "Tiger loved it, but his physical therapist, Keith Kleven, went a little crazy worrying about the further damage Tiger might be doing to his left knee."

Haney also writes that he was in the kitchen when Woods returned from a long run wearing Army boots. He says Woods told him he's worn the boots before on the same route and told Haney, "I beat my best time."

Woods's father, Earl, was a green beret in the Army who did two tours during the Vietnam War.

"While the excerpt didn't specify when Woods seriously considered giving up golf," writes Yahoo, "you have to believe it was most likely between 2004 and 2008 (he won six majors during that span), when Haney and Woods were working together."

Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent at Excel Sports Management, said in a statement that excerpts show Haney's claim of the book being about golf is "clearly false."

"His armchair psychology about Tiger, on matters he admits they didn't even discuss, is ridiculous," Steinberg said. "Because of his father, it's no secret that Tiger has always had high respect for the military, so for Haney to twist that admiration into something negative is disrespectful."

Woods is playing the next two weeks in south Florida, at the Honda Classic and Cadillac Championship at Doral, as he prepares for the Masters. Woods has not won at Augusta National since 2005.

"The disruptive timing of this book shows that Haney's self-promotion is more important to him than any other person or tournament," Steinberg said. "What's been written violates the trust between a coach and player and someone also once considered a friend."

The book goes on sale March 27, a week before the Masters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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