Why Tiger Woods should man up and go back to Butch Harmon as swing coach

mulligan, 12 May 2010, Comments Off on Why Tiger Woods should man up and go back to Butch Harmon as swing coach
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The Golf Blog says: Tiger Woods has Pebble Beach and St. Andrews coming up this year for the next 2 majors. Both courses he’s practically owned. But, given all the turmoil in his personal life and now the split with his coach Hank Haney, Tiger Woods may not be ready for the muni course, let alone a major caliber course. It’s time for Tiger Woods to eat some humble pie and go back to Butch Harmon, his first swing coach as a pro under whom Tiger had his greatest success. The stats don’t lie: 8 majors in 5 years, 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). But the best stat of all was Tiger’s driving accuracy, which was the highest of his career under Butch and much better than they were under Haney:

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

As loudmouth Johnny Miller said last weekend, Tiger’s swing at the 2000 U.S. Open was the best swing in history–that’s when Tiger dusted the entire field by 15 strokes. That was all under the tutelage of Butch. Going back to Butch would be easier to do, from a mechanics point of view, than going to someone new. Butch knows Tiger’s swing, and Tiger knows the swing mechanics Butch likes. Tiger should take a lesson from Ernie Els, who switched back to his long time coach David Leadbetter (after a brief stint with Butch) and then won his first tournament in several years.

Of course, 2 things make a reunion highly unlikely. First, Tiger and Butch both have big egos, and neither probably will initiate a reunion or admit fault for the somewhat bad blood that followed their breakup. Second, Butch Harmon coaches Phil Mickelson, among others. Who knows if Phil would even consider sharing a coach with Tiger? But maybe Phil would, given his priorities for his wife Amy and family that probably make golf seem nothing more than a sport. So Tiger Woods should not let his ego get in the way of getting his golf game ready for the next 2 majors this year. This may be the best year for Tiger to close the gap on Jack Nicklaus’s 18 majors. Tiger, go back to Butch.


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