Tiger Woods’ swing was better under Butch Harmon or Hank Haney? — Stats say Butch Harmon

mulligan, 08 May 2010, Comments Off on Tiger Woods’ swing was better under Butch Harmon or Hank Haney? — Stats say Butch Harmon
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The Golf Blog says: Johnny Miller has a big mouth. But he knows his golf. So when Johnny said earlier this week that Tiger Woods should ditch golf coach Hank Haney and return to his golf swing under Butch Harmon (“This might be a little harsh, but I really believe [Woods] needs to, every night, watch the U.S. Open in the year 2000 in Pebble and just copy that swing and forget the [Hank] Haney stuff. That was the best golf anybody has every played in history.”), the golf blogosphere was abuzz with chatter.

Haney took exception with Johnny’s comment and wrote a response: ““The facts are what they are. I didn’t start in 2001. I started in 2004. In the last 2½ years, Tiger has won 44% of his tournaments and finished Top 3 in 61%. In the 2½ years before I started working with him, he won 24% and finished Top 3 in 43%.”

Butch Harmon, never one to turn down a microphone, got into the fray: “But when your mind is elsewhere, when you have bigger problems than making a golf swing — and God knows he’s got a lot bigger problems than making a golf swing right now — it’s very hard to come out and compete at the level that we’re accustomed to seeing him compete at. Whether he should be playing or not, I don’t know.”

So the question is: Was Tiger Woods’ swing better under Butch or Hank? The major stats favor Butch Harmon at least a little — Tiger won 8 majors in 5 years under Butch’s watch as a pro, with 3 majors in the most dominating fashion (1997 Masters by 12 strokes, 2000 US Open by 15 strokes, and 2000 Open Championship by 8 strokes). Under Hank Haney, Tiger’s won only 6 majors in 6 years, but none by more than 3 strokes.

But the real test in “coaching” Tiger is driving: which coach did a better job in fixing Tiger’s biggest weakness (in golf, that is)? Here, the stats clearly favor Butch Harmon. Tiger’s driving accuracy stats were far, far better under Harmon than Haney. And, to the extent Tiger switched to Hank Haney to fix his wayward driver, Haney hasn’t really delivered in 6 years. So maybe Johnny Miller is right again. What say you, dear Readers? Please comment above!

Driving stats under Butch Harmon
1997 – 68.6%
1998 – 67.9
1999 – 71.3
2000 – 71.2
2001 – 65.5
2002 – 67.5 (split)

Driving stats under Hank Haney
2004 – 56.1
2005 – 54.6
2006 – 60.71
2007 – 59.83
2008 – 57.86
2009 – 64.29
2010 – 51.19

UPDATE May 9 2010: Hank Haney just quit as Tiger Woods’ coach.


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