PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods had a terse exchange with a reporter over excerpts from former swing coach Hank Haney's book.
The volley ended with Woods refusing to answer the question, staring him down for five seconds and saying sarcastically, "Have a good day."
The topic Wednesday at the Honda Classic was Haney's contention that Woods seriously thought about becoming a Navy SEAL at the peak of his career.
And so began a bumpy road to the Masters for Woods, who has gone more than two years without winning on the PGA Tour. If the book didn't get under his skin, there were 10 questions related to his putting. Woods is coming off a second-round loss in the Match Play Championship when he missed a 5-foot putt on the last hole.
The news conference at PGA National turned awkward when Alex Miceli, a Golfweek senior writer and contributor to Golf Channel, asked Woods if he considered being a Navy SEAL at the height of his career.
"I've already talked about everything in the book. I've already commented on everything, Alex," Woods said.
"Then I must have missed you answering that question," Miceli replied.
"Well, I've already commented on the book. Is that in the book? Is it in the book?" Woods said.
Miceli replied he had not seen the book.
"You're a beauty, you know that?" Woods said, forcing a smile.
Miceli said Steinberg's statement suggested something was wrong with the excerpt and he wanted to know if it was true. Woods paused for a moment, said with indifference, "I don't know," then stared at him for nearly five seconds and said, "Have a good day."
It was a change from the way he handled a news conference in December 2010. Tom Callahan had written in "His Father's Son" that he would not have been surprised if Woods had followed his father into the military. Woods was asked that day where Callahan came up with that notion.
"Well, I've always wanted to become a SEAL," Woods said back then. "That's something that I told my dad from the very get-go - either I'm going to become a professional golfer or I'm going to go become a Navy SEAL."
On Wednesday, Woods worked hard to contain his anger.
Even in questions related to golf, such as how he plays the Masters with the lead and his pursuit of the Nicklaus record, Woods rushed through his answers. He did not look as comfortable as he had been in dealings with the media earlier this year.
He goes onto the course Thursday at PGA National, a course he has not seen since he was 14 and lost on the last day of the PGA Junior Championship to 17-year-old Chris Couch, who went on to win in New Orleans in 2006 for his lone tour victory.
And while Woods looks capable of winning any time he plays - depending on the putter - he no longer is considered the favorite. That role belongs to 22-year-old Rory McIlroy, who broke several of Woods' records in winning the U.S. Open last summer and who could go to No. 1 in the world if he were to win.