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Was Tiger intimidating? Haney says no, Faldo yes

Tiger in '97.jpg
(Getty Images photo)

By John Strege

Tiger Woods' former coach Hank Haney brought up an old debate Tuesday, about whether Woods once benefitted from an intimidation factor.

"I didn't buy into that when people talked about it as much as people talked about it," Haney told Golf.com during a TaylorMade outing in New York City's Times Square on Tuesday. "Tiger won because he shot the lowest score, not because he intimidated his opponents."

Nick Faldo disagreed, as this Twitter exchange showed.

Haney and Faldo, incidentally both have been consistent in their assessments over the years.

Haney, in February, 2009, in this story by ESPN's Bob Harig: "But this idea that Tiger intimidates everybody. ... I watch Tiger play every round of golf. And I don't see it. I see quite the opposite. I can give you example after example of the opposite. I see guys now who raise their game playing with him.

"If you look at the last three groups in any major championship where you see guys struggle, they are in a difficult situation anyway, regardless of whether Tiger is there. We saw that last year at the majors when he was gone. It's a difficult situation anyway.

Faldo, in September, 2011, from Sky Sports: "In the past, Tiger had such an aura, had such a presence that (rivals) used some energy consciously or sub-consciously thinking about him or seeing his name on the leader board."

Jennifer Brown, an associate professor of management and strategy at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, once did a study on the subject, her article appearing in the Journal of Political Economy beneath the title, "Quitters Never Win: The (Adverse) Incentive Effects of Competing with Superstars."

Related: Bad to the Bone

Brown, who has a PhD in agriculture and resource economics from the University of California at Berkeley, analyzed 10 years worth of PGA Tour data and concluded "that the presence of a superstar in a rank-order tournament is associated with lower competitor performance. On average, higher-skill PGA golfers' tournament scores are 0.8 strokes higher when Tiger Woods participates, relative to when Woods is absent."

Others can decide for themselves, but just remember this old quote from J.C. Snead, talking about playing with Jack Nicklaus: "He knows he's going to beat you, you know he's going to beat you, and he knows you know he's going to beat you."

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