Like it or not, Butch Harmon wears the stripes of Tiger

Streeter Lecka

Butch Harmon wasn't too pleased with being referred to only as Tiger Woods' former coach during a recent lesson with President Barack Obama.

Widely known as one of the best -- if not the best -- swing coaches in the world, Butch Harmon has worked with his fair share of famous golf professionals throughout his career. However, he will forever be known for his work with Tiger Woods, whether he is willing to admit it or not.

During a recent visit to The Floridian, President Barack Obama turned to Harmon for his golf swing expertise. Following the impromptu lesson, Harmon was referred to by White House media as the "former coach of Tiger Woods", making no mention of any other former student notables. Harmon was angered by this oversight.

''I haven't been with him for 10 years. It's irritating, to be honest,'' Harmon said, according to a recent interview by the AP's Doug Ferguson. ''I guess they were looking for a connection because the president was playing with Tiger. But people think Tiger made me successful. No one remembers I took Greg [Norman] to No. 1 in the world, or all the work with [Steve] Elkington, or Davis Love III.

"It's the press. Anything to sensationalize. And you're dealing with a White House press that doesn't know any of these names.''

While he may have a point regarding the ignorance of the White House press when it comes to knowing the names of other golfers, Harmon is also overlooking the phenomenon that boosted his career into the mainstream.

This is not to say that Tiger Woods "made" Butch Harmon. In fact, the truth is quite the contrary. Harmon's list of former students (many of whom came before Woods) could be an exhibit in the World Golf Hall of Fame:

Greg Norman

Steve Elkington

Jose Maria Olazabal

Phil Mickelson

Dustin Johnson

Ernie Els

Fred Couples

Even so, there is no question that the name of "Butch Harmon" became recognizable in most American households because of the success and attention paid to Tiger. The same can be said for Hank Haney, Tiger's coach following Harmon. Sean Foley, Tiger's current coach, will likely fall into that bucket as well.

In comparison, Haney has fully embraced his moniker as being one of Tiger's former coaches.

''It's a big honor to have coached Tiger,'' Haney said in a separate interview, also conducted by Ferguson. ''You couldn't have a better feather in your cap, especially with the success that Butch Harmon had with Tiger. In terms of my coaching career, obviously nothing can come close to the opportunity I had to work with Tiger Woods."

There is no doubt that Butch Harmon is a world-class golf instructor. His list of clientele speaks for itself. Becoming irritated at being known for just one of those students -- quite possibly the best golfer of all time -- is not only laughable, but bordering on living in denial.

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