Hank Haney offers his opinion on who will come out on top.
A man who coached Woods to 6 majors has some informed views on the future of the big three. In an interview for The Scotsman, Haney was clear where he was hedging his bets. “I think Jordan will wind up with the best record of the three.” Here is a breakdown of the three factors Haney considered to reach his conclusion.
1. Ball striking
Hank was quite clear with whom he judged to be the most gifted ball striker. Spieth was a clear third in this department, his consistent and compact swing putting a ceiling on his ability to lift it to the next level. Rory’s languid power puts him in prime spot, “Rory’s ball striking is incredible. He’s top-ten or right there in driving distance. Which makes his accuracy off the tee – he is 23rd – absolutely incredible. He’s also comfortably in the top ten for greens in regulation. Those are statistics that can lead to domination.” So all good for Rory so far and Jason wasn’t far behind in the analysis either.
Here Haney views McIlroy as well below par, questioning his level of hunger since his early successes.“I do wonder about Rory’s motivation,” he says. “He’s made a lot of money. It’s human nature to ease off, but I don’t see the same dedication in him that I see in Jordan. The former coach trivialised McIlroy’s comments about how his motivation was connected to the success of Day and Spieth.
For Hank it’s all about internal motivation, “as it has clearly been for Jason and Jordan. And was for Tiger,” he cited Rory’s football injury as evidence for his lack of focus. Not too sure about that one Hank. Being able to switch off is obviously not an issue for Rory and might safeguard him in a career that will be mentally exhausting, after all Hank, Tiger could have just as easily injured himself in a hotel room with all that ‘focusing’ he did.
On this topic Hank’s wall-to-wall complements of Jordan peppered the reader like a Floyd Mayweather right-left combination. He was convinced that putting never usually improved after 30 and with Rory being 117th in the putting statistics he couldn’t expect to win as many majors. With Day at 5th position in three-putt avoidance, Rory does lag behind, “On the greens, Rory gave Jordan one-and-a-half shots per round this year – 29.39 versus 27.82. That’s six shots per tournament,”
Obviously it’s all guesswork but you can be assured Hank knows his stuff. Once again we’re all reminded that putting, as skilled as it may be, is a frustrating necessity of being the world’s best. Exciting ball striking might not be enough for those ‘chasing’ Spieth.