Butch Harmon made comments recently about Hank Haney’s new book, “The Big Miss,” and Tiger’s inconsistency at the 2012 Masters in an article published on the Wall Street Journal. Butch Harmon is currently ranked by Golf Digest as the #1 golf teacher in America. His list of students include Davis Love III, Greg Norman, Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Adam Scott and now Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney, and Phil Mickelson.
The following are comments Butch Harmon made in regards to Hank Haney’s new book, “The Big Miss.”
“I’m very surprised that he would write it. I’d never do that to Tiger or Greg [Norman] or any of the guys I’ve been with. We get to spend a lot of time with these people, sometimes even more time than their own families. Things are said, or you see different things, and it’s just—it is what it is, you just leave it where it belongs. I was really shocked to see him talk about Elin and Tiger’s kids and stuff like that, I don’t think that had any place in it.”
“It almost seems the way he has everything documented in there—too many times and dates and places that you wouldn’t come up with from memory—it’s like he kept precise notes all along with writing a book in mind.”
I completely agree with Butch Harmon. There is a level of trust between coach and student. The coach is given access to so much and in this case sometimes more than another family member. That trust should be respected, not violated. Although the book documents Haney’s work with Tiger in a positive light, the book is a complete breach of trust because of the fact that personal issues were brought up.
Below are comments Butch made about Tiger’s win at Bay Hill and his recent woes at the 2012 Masters.
“For me, and I think we saw this at the Masters, he looks like he’s playing ‘golf- swing’ and not golf. In my opinion, he’s very robotic. And you could see that at Augusta with all his practice swings and the double-cross shots when he’s trying to fade it and he hooks it. I think everyone thought because he won at Bay Hill that he was back; well, he didn’t hit it great at Bay Hill, he hit it OK. And Bay Hill’s not a major.”
“When I had him, I’m more of a natural-type teacher, I like to keep what you do naturally and just try to improve on it. I like to let you be creative, which he was good at. Under pressure, which swing am I using? What am I thinking? What are my eyes seeing? There’s too much more that goes into it than just the actual swing. He’s changed so many times he may have confused himself. And for me, I think he’s lost his nerve putting. I think his nerves are bad, and he’s lost his confidence.”
“If he ever asked me what I thought he needed to do, I’d tell him, look, go on the practice tee without anybody—without me, without Sean [Foley, his current coach], without Haney, without a camera, and start hitting golf shots. Hit some high draws, some low draws, high fades, low fades, move the ball up and down, move it around; don’t worry about how you do it and go back to feeling it again. Quit playing golf-swing and just hit shots; just say to himself, I’m gonna hit a low fade, and I don’t need anybody to tell me how to do it, I’m just gonna feel it. He’s Tiger Woods, for God’s sake. He doesn’t know how to hit a shot?”
In my opinion, it’s incredibly interesting to hear these comments from a top teacher who’s worked with so many good players in the past. He’s pinpointed Tiger’s problem perfectly saying he’s playing the “golf-swing” instead of playing the game. Going back to a more natural approach would be the solution. But we’ll see if Tiger continues down the same path.
Long and Straight,