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County golfers swing with Tiger's coach

October 06, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

MONT ALTO, Pa. - Fifteen Washington County prep golfers had a day they won't soon forget Thursday.

Each of the high schoolers got a few minutes of expertise from Hank Haney, the noted golf swing coach to Tiger Woods.

Haney was concluding a whirlwind tour as part of the 11th annual Antietam Healthcare Foundation Tournament at Penn National. Haney conducted a clinic Wednesday and two more on Thursday before welcoming prep golfers at the Bumble Bee Driving Range, all in a span of 24 hours.

"I love teaching golf and I'll teach anyone that has a good attitude about the game," said Haney, who became Woods' coach in March 2004. "Those with good attitudes are my favorite students. It's easy for me to be patient with the young golfers because I know how hard of a game golf is.

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"Kids ... they're the future of golf," he said after the one-hour clinic.

Each of the prep golfers spent time warming up on the range while Haney walked behind them, performing a quick study on their swings.

While briefly watching Smithsburg's Alicia Grier warm up, Haney said, "Great swing."

Then, Haney gave an overview of his swing philosophy while the young golfers gave their full attention.

The theme to his message: "If you want to be good at golf, you've got to put as much time into it as you can. And that's what Tiger does."

Haney gave a timeline for a non-tournament day for Woods.

"Starting at 6:30 a.m. he runs five miles. At 7:30, he works the weights for one hour," Haney said. "At 8:30, he eats breakfast. From 9 to 11 he practices his golf swing."

From 11 to 11:30 he putts. At 12, he'll play nine holes followed by lunch and more practice until about 6:30," Haney said. "Then, he'll work on some weights for another half hour and that's his day."

The final chapter of the clinic featured Haney going one-on-one with each golfer, reviewing their setup, takeaway and swing before signing autographs and posing for photos.

Starting with Mike DeMercurio of St. Maria Goretti and working straight down the line to Kim Eaton of St. James, Haney offered changes and - at the same time - encouragement after each tried to make on-the-spot adjustments from their prized coach.

Haney told Williamsport's Kyle Butler he has a fade to his swing.

"He said I've got to take it back straight," said Butler.

And Zach Weber, also of Williamsport, was told to work on getting rid of his "baseball grip."

"He told me to work on my back swing and followthrough," said South Hagerstown's Robby Suddith. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime to do this. I'll work on exactly what he told me."

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