Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of reading a frank, honest interview with Butch Harmon, Tiger Woods' ex-golf coach. It has not received a whole lot of attention, and I believe it is because of the frank honesty.
In it, Harmon gives his opinion on Tiger’s problems, Hank Haney’s book and his philosophy of teaching versus coaching golfers. It was a breath of fresh air amidst all of the folderol spread so thickly by those who think/hope Tiger Woods will have a “second coming.”
Harmon seems to scowl at Haney’s collection of records of conversations with Tiger, implying that some type of (almost) sacred confidence was broken. I’d point out that in the extremely litigious society that we live in today, such confidence is only guaranteed by what’s commonly referred to as a “gag” clause in a contract, which would prohibit certain uses of such information.
I’ve always wondered why a guy with Tiger’s ability to hire veritable teams of lawyers to write contracts for his swing coach or caddy would not do so. To that end, I find no harm in Haney securing his financial future, as long as he was honest.
I thought Harmon’s candor about all those who thought Tiger was “back” because he won Bay Hill was refreshing inasmuch as he rightly observed that “...Bay Hill’s not a Major.”
He further explained that he thought Tiger had confused himself with all his swing changes, and that when under pressure, the mind would ask “...which swing am I using?”
The most astute observation, I thought, was his comment that “...I think he’s lost his nerve...,” and that has caused him to lose his confidence. I prefer to describe that as Tiger's diminution of his mental edge due to having to deal with all of the problems he brought upon himself with his abhorrent conduct.
Lastly, Harmon gave an excellent contrast between teaching and coaching a player and how he deals with players during an event, especially a Major.
While Butch Harmon might not be everyone’s cup of tea, he certainly has a long resume of helping his players improve and having fun along the way, too.