Boston, Mass. — Oh, the yarns that Mark O’Meara could spin if he were inclined to write a tell-all book about Tiger Woods.
Fortunately for the former No. 1, his old mentor has no desire to spill the beans on his friend the way Woods’ ex-coach Hank Haney did in “The Big Miss,” the golf instructor’s best-selling memoir about his six years as Tiger’s swing guru.
“’If you think [Haney’s] book’s bad,’” O’Meara said he told Woods in a text message about two and a half months ago, “’wait ‘till I come out with my book.’”
In town on Monday to accept an award from the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund for his lifelong contributions to golf, O’Meara said he would have counseled Haney, who is also his former instructor, not to write the book. Alas, the author, whose penned remembrances of his time as Woods’ teacher include competitive secrets as well as personal details, never sought O’Meara’s advice.
“It’s not what I would have done but everybody’s got to live up to what they do,” O’Meara told us prior to the Ouimet Fund’s 63rd annual banquet. “If [Hank] would have called me and said, ‘I was thinking about writing this book, what do you think,’ I would have said, ‘no, don’t do it.’ But he didn’t call me.”
O’Meara, who served as Woods’ mentor for several years when both golfers played at Isleworth Golf & Country Club, said he told Tiger he had no intention of reading Haney’s tome and recounted the communications he had with both men about the issue. First, Woods scolded him in a text about “your man” publishing a book. O’Meara responded that “hey, it’s not my man…he was your coach,” and then he received a message from Haney.
“Hank sent me a text [saying] ‘don’t judge me until you read the book,’” to which O’Meara replied he wouldn’t even flip through it.
“I already know everything,” O’Meara said he told Haney. “There’s not much that I don’t know that’s gone on in Tiger’s life.”
On Monday night, some 1,300 golf fans and philanthropists enjoyed O’Meara’s recollections of his 30-plus-year PGA Tour career and applauded the announcements that the Ouimet Fund would provide $1.5 million in scholarships to more than 300 deserving young women and men in the 2012-2013 season. The audience also learned that former Ouimet honoree Arnold Palmer had agreed to serve as honorary chair of the organization’s centennial celebration of Francis Ouimet’s historic 1913 U.S. Open victory.
The Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund has awarded $25 million in scholarships to 5,000 students since its founding in 1949.