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Coach thinks Tiger Woods can still improve

Tiger Woods has won six U.S. PGA Tour events in a row and is producing some of the best golf of his career, but coach Hank Haney says there is still room for improvement.

Haney, who helped guide Woods through a swing change that has revitalised his game, said the world number one has been hitting his irons so accurately that his short game has been neglected.

"His iron placement has been pretty darn good all year. He's starting to eliminate his three-putts and keep those to a minimum," Haney told Reuters in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

"That's been something that's been plaguing him at parts of the year, and then there's obviously the short game.

"The better you hit it the fewer short-game opportunities you have and it seems like when that happens there's more pressure on those few short-game shots," said the Texan, who has been working with Woods for two and a half years.

Haney helped Woods coordinate his swing, keeping it on a plane from backswing through downswing and taking pressure off his surgically-repaired left knee.

After a 2003 season in which Woods won five U.S. Tour events but no majors, he won just twice the following year and his major drought continued.

Last year he started getting comfortable with the swing changes and won six times on the Tour and added the Masters and British Open to his major haul. It all came together this summer after taking some time off due to the death of his father Earl.

"Before a major it is more intense, usually about 10 hours a day," said Haney, adding that Woods also put in another two hours a day on physical conditioning.

Haney said it took courage for a player like Woods to rework his swing.

"It does take a lot to make that commitment and that's not a commitment that every player will make," he said.

"Some people are real comfortable where they are. Tiger is not worried about where he's been or where he is.

"His mind only thinks about how he could improve and he's not ever scared to take a chance to get better. I think that's one of the things that makes him a little different."

October 11, 2006

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