Butch Harmon’s prescription for what ails his former student, Tiger Woods? Ditch swing coach Sean Foley and just do what you’ve always done best.
“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, without [ex-coach Hank] Haney, without a camera, and start hitting golf shots,’” Harmon, who coached Woods for more than a decade, a span that included eight major championships, told the Wall Street Journal Friday.
“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," Harmon suggested.
“He's Tiger Woods, for God's sake,” he said. “He doesn't know how to hit a shot?"
Harmon, who until the Journal article had deflected any and all questions concerning “The Big Miss,” Haney’s best-seller about his six years as Woods’ teacher, took the occasion to rip his fellow coach for chronicling personal details of his ex-pupil's life.
“I was really shocked to see him talk about Elin [Nordegren, Woods’ ex-wife] and Tiger's kids and stuff like that,” said Harmon. “I don't think that had any place in it." Harmon claimed he “would never” pen a similar tell-all about any of his famous charges, who, in addition to Woods, include Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson.
As for Tiger’s on-course woes, Harmon opined that Woods was “playing ‘golf-swing’ and not golf,” which led to his worst finish ever as a pro at The Masters two weeks ago.
“He's very robotic,” Harmon said. “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.”
As for winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods’ first official victory in 30 months did not signal that the former ace “was back” to the dominating form with which he won 14 major trophies.
“He didn't hit it great at Bay Hill, he hit it OK,” Harmon said of Woods, who finished tied for 29th in driving accuracy that week. “And Bay Hill's not a major."
Harmon also believes that Woods’ swing, which the golfer changes so often it may have “confused” him, has had an impact on his short game as well.
“I think he's lost his nerve putting,” Harmon said. “I think his nerves are bad, and he's lost his confidence."