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Butch: Haney's Memory Suspiciously Good; Tiger's Swing Is "Very Robotic"

Jeff Neuman with several fun insights from a silent-until-now Butch Harmon, talking about Hank Haney's book on Tiger, which drops to the fifth spot on this week's NY Times combined bestseller list.


"I'm very surprised that he would write it," Harmon said this week. "I'd never do that to Tiger or Greg [Norman] or any of the guys I've been with. We get to spend a lot of time with these people, sometimes even more time than their own families. Things are said, or you see different things, and it's just—it is what it is, you just leave it where it belongs. I was really shocked to see him talk about Elin and Tiger's kids and stuff like that, I don't think that had any place in it."

He went on: "It almost seems the way he has everything documented in there—too many times and dates and places that you wouldn't come up with from memory—it's like he kept precise notes all along with writing a book in mind."

Doesn't every great swing instructor keep a diary?

As for Tiger, Butch offers his advice from afar, which probably won't be appreciated by Tiger's current instructor Sean Foley.

"For me, and I think we saw this at the Masters, he looks like he's playing 'golf- swing' and not golf," Harmon said. "In my opinion, he's very robotic. And 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. I think everyone thought because he won at Bay Hill that he was back; well, he didn't hit it great at Bay Hill, he hit it OK. And Bay Hill's not a major."

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Reader Comments (23)

Haney has established himself as a swing coach/golf teacher, but Butch is a cut above in my estimation.
The GC "Feherty" episode featuring Harmon was very good, well worth the time. If I remember correctly, when asked on that program what he thought Woods should do to fix his game, Harmon indicated he should focus less on the mechanics of the swing, get away from the coaches a bit and just go out and play golf.

I agree that Haney must have kept a diary. Whether a book was planned, who knows?
04.23.2012 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane
Having read and actually taken notes on "The Big Miss" it was far more about Hank than Tiger. There is so little about Elin and the kids as to make the rest of Butch's comments unreliable.

However, Tiger is playing rather robotic, so Butch isn't totally off base.
04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGolfFan
Butch Harmon should thank his lucky stars everyday that his club professional father won the Masters otherwise he'd be caddying on the Hooters tour. What a blowhard.
04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJPB
I am not sure if Harmon can actually read . . . .
04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterNubi
Harmon's book "The Pro" has a large number of pages devoted to stories about Greg & Tiger along with an extensive after-the-fact justification for his record with Tiger
04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBertie Wooster
Tiger didn't look robotic when winning Bay Hill, he did while struggling at the Masters. It's very nice of Butch to say Tiger just needs to hit golf shots and look less robotic now, but I notice he didn't think the same thing in 1998.

Shockingly when guys aren't hitting it well they tend to be trying to figure out why and look more robotic, when guys are hitting it well they tend to look less robotic. Of course how many shots from other pro's do you see when they're having a bad tournament or round?
04.23.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Harmon would serve himself well if he said nothing at all. He played on tour, won a crappy event, and coached Tiger to the best golf ever witnessed. It speaks for itself.
04.23.2012 | Unregistered Commenterhighside
I'd be pleased as punch to have ever won even the crappiest of crappy tour events!

Butch's comments pretty much end the debate, Haney was way out of bounds with the book. Good onya Butch.
04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Butch is an ok guy, I like his approach. His comments however in now way "end the debate". There was no debate: there is no "code," there are no rules amongst coaches, every person is different. One guy writes a book, fine, another guy says he would not have wrote the book - fine. Believe him if you wish - fine. There's a good chance Butch hasn't even read the book - in which case he wouldn't even know what he's talking about.

Foley could make a very good argument that Butch broke the "code" when he offered advice publicly to someone who Foley is coaching. There's so many "codes" being broken, I can't even keep track. BTW where is "RIV," the guy was so worried about there being a separate thread about Butch's comments, yet when he gets what he wants he's nowhere to be found. Must be out documenting all the "codes" being broken. LOL
04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
Results are the coin of the realm in the guru bidness. All Harmon has to say is: "I had a great time coaching that douchebag...What's his name? Tigro? Oh Yeah. Played a couple nice rounds at Pebble Beach around 2000." Talking after the fact makes him look needy. Like he wants Tiger to call him.
04.23.2012 | Unregistered Commenterhighside
Press Agent. There is a code amongst teaching professionals.
It's unspoken and unwritten - it's called class.
04.23.2012 | Unregistered Commentermetro18
I like Butch and have always thought Haney was just an average swing teacher who got lucky, got canned, and then decided to cash in- weak.
04.23.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjjshaka
Could someone WHO HAS READ THE BOOK please explain to me what was so out of bounds about what Haney wrote? Haney said he read the final script eight times and took out something every time that he considered over the top. What exactly is the problem with what he wrote?
04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJPB

Nothing. 99.9% of the whining about the book has been from people who didn't read it. We've entered a new era where you don't even need to have a grasp of the subject matter, don't even have to read something to offer a review.

@ metro18

I don't know if you caught Feherty's interview with Butch, but in it he suggested that Tiger may want to post up some photos or watch some video of Adam Scott's swing to get an idea of what a good swing looks like....... Ya there's a code between all these guys and it's called class. Sure. (dripping with sarcasm)

We teach people how to treat us. Tiger taught Hank how to treat him.
04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
@metro exactly

@highside what event did Butch win???
04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarter K
BC Open
04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPat Burke
Tiger needs to go and hit balls and find it in the "dirt" like Hogan.
04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterShawn C
@Press Agent -

Perhaps you'd care to post your real name and some internet detectives can hunt down your Elementary, Junior High, High School, and College/University teachers to find out if they have any "dirt" on you? Maybe your swim coach, cub-scout leader, block parent, guidance councillor, etc. would have juicier info?

You wouldn't mind that, right? Especially since you haven't read the book/article yet?
I enjoyed the book for a light but insightful read and a different slant on the game as well as the individuals. Don't know Butch, don't know Haney, don't know TW, and don't know most of you, but the way so many get so bent out of shape about the book, from Steiny to Buth to coach-coders, strikes me as way out of proportion.
04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPasaplayer
@Press Agent. Sarcasm duly noted. There is an unspoken code on Tour whether you want to believe it not. If you don't like the word class, try decency. It's a human condition and is not exclusive to the PGA Tour.
04.23.2012 | Unregistered Commentermetro18
@ Press Agent,

Some people have to work during the day and I'm one of them. metro18 pretty much nailed it.
04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Riv
Interesting that Butch mentioned the part in the book about Elin and the kids. The book mentions Elin and the kids on two occasions - once in the Isleworth clubhouse and once on the Isleworth range. Neither story was included in any of the pre-release appetizers.

Therefore, Butch read the book!

So, he is opposed to former teachers writing gossipy stories, BUT he is one of the first in line to read those gossipy stories?!?


And, Harmon knowingly gossiped about Woods' on-course tactics telling everyone, first on Sky Sports and then on American television, that he told Mickelson what Woods was doing.

Also, one of the biggest and well-known gossip hounds is Tiger Woods himself!

I think Harmon, Haney, and Woods were all made for each other - they just can't accept it and it leads all those guys to bitch and quibble with each other. The 4th wheel is Foley, begging for membership into this club.
04.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeek Tragedy
In the book, Haney comment's how its not appropriate to comment, as a tour-player coach, on a player's swing while that player is coached by someone else. However, Butch is currently breaking this particular "code." Also, Foley complains that Tiger's swing didn't create solid shots with Haney's theories. So Foley broke a "code" there. Now Rick Smith claims that there is a "code" that former teachers can't write about former pupils and that Haney broke this "code."

So, Haney is breaking a code, Foley is breaking a code, Butch is breaking a code, Rick Smith wishes he was famous enough to break a code.

Egos, arrogance, jealousy galore.
04.23.2012 | Unregistered Commentersgolfer

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