THE TIGER EFFECT: Butch Harmon first worked with Steve Elkington in the 1980s, and his roster of clients has grown enormously over the years. He coached Greg Norman and Tiger Woods during their rise to No. 1, along with four players in the World Golf Hall of Fame _ Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Jose Maria Olazabal, Fred Couples.
“I haven’t been with him for 10 years. It’s irritating to be honest,” Harmon said. “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 to No. 1 in the world, or all the work with 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.”
Hank Haney, on the other hand, expects to be linked with Woods the rest of his life. Then again, Haney didn’t have such a long list of top golfers (except for Mark O’Meara) before coaching Woods, and he has said he won’t coach another.
“It’s a big honor to have coached Tiger,” Haney said. “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.
“I never hit any shots and Butch didn’t, either, he said. “My friend Bill Parcells always says it best. `You are what your record says you are.’ And so how Tiger played while you coached him certainly has a lot to say about you as a coach.”
REST VS. RUST: Ian Poulter was never tempted to return to golf earlier than he planned, and it worked out just fine for him. After a six-week break after Kapalua, he returned at the Match Play and reached the semifinals, before losing to Hunter Mahan and then Jason Day in a meaningless consolation match.
His quarterfinal match was a perfect example of how players can be sharp even after a long break. He beat Steve Stricker, who also had not played in six weeks.
“I guess I was glad to beat a part-timer,” Poulter said.
Poulter said he did not play a single round over the last four weeks of his break, or even one hole on a golf course. He spent his time on the range, tuning his equipment. It reminded him of the early days working in a golf shop, when his duties left him no time to play on the course.
“I had time to practice, and that’s what I do when I have time off,” he said.
Some players have had time off, though not by choice.
Rory McIlroy goes into the Honda Classic with three competitive rounds this year, having missed the cut in Abu Dhabi and losing in the first round of Match Play.View Entire Story
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