Tag:butch harmon
Posted on: July 17, 2011 3:37 pm

Different twist leads to familiar end for D.J.

SANDWICH, England -- Just like with a certain left-handed fellow American whose putter failed him, it wasn't exactly hard to pinpoint the moment that cost Dustin Johnson a shot at the world's oldest major.

After making two birdies on the back nine to move within two strokes of leader and playing partner Darren Clarke, a hole on which Johnson's length should have been decisive turned into his complete undoing.

Ultimately, it was an advantage only in theory.

On the par-5 14th, Johnson jacked a 2-iron approach shot out of bounds, leading to a double-bogey and ending any realistic chance of catching Clarke, who cruised to a three-stroke lead over Johnson and Phil Mickelson.

Johnson, playing in the final group for the third time in the past six Grand Slam events, once again was left to watch another man raise a trophy overhead.

"It was brutal out there," Johnson said. "I think I held up pretty well. I hung in there all day, made some birdies on the back to get back in there and just unfortunately made the double bogey on 14, which really just took all my momentum out."

We figured that part out already. If the outcome seems vaguely familiar, Johnson had well-chronicled Sunday missteps in the final group at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship last year, which he seemed to shake off quickly.

"He got off to a shaky start, but D.J. is a fighter, he won’t quit," swing coach Butch Harmon said. "He hung in there beautifully and came back and made those birdies to get right back at the top of the leaderboard.
"He did the hard part on 14 -- he hit the drive perfect. He had just put that 2-iron in the bag this week, he hadn’t played with a 2-iron all year and he figured he'd hit it up in front of the green and make a birdie and get within one or so of the lead.

"And then disaster strikes. It's a cruel game."

No doubt, and Johnson was already second-guessing himself.

"I probably should have hit 3-wood," he said. "I mean, I'm two back with the rest of the holes coming in are pretty tough. Out here you don't really get too many opportunities to make birdie, so it was definitely a 'go' situation."

Johnson started the day one shot behind Clarke, then fell behind by four heading to the back nine. Birdies on Nos. 10 and 12 seemingly set the stage for the 14th, where Johnson's strength -- he led the field in driving distance -- should have given him a look at birdie or eagle. A debilitating double was the result instead.

"It's a tough shot because you've got O.B. just to the right of the green, it's into the wind, you’re trying to chase a low, hot iron up there and bounce it up on the front of the green and you just don’t pull it off," Harmon said. "He's not wanting to finish second, he's trying to win and he knows Darren has been unflappable and you've got to do something. He tried to do it and it just didn’t work."

Johnson, 27, has a remarkably laid-back personality, but you have to wonder if there's any cumulative damage accumulating given the way things have played out for him in the majors lately.
"It always bothers you, but you can’t go back and replay it so you have to go forward and take the positives from it," Harmon said. "He played phenomenally all week, he really did.

"He made one bad swing with a 2-iron and it cost him having a chance. I'm not sure he would have won because Clarke was playing so well."

Johnson was left to repeat a phrase that he admittedly has uttered far too many times of late.

"Obviously, like I say all the time," he said, "the more I put myself in this situation, the better, the more I learn, the more I understand my game and what happens in this situation."

So far, what's happened has mostly been hurtful.

"He is one of the most resilient players I have ever seen," Harmon said. "He'll be back."

Posted on: March 12, 2011 7:12 pm

Woods' spray shots 'shock' to Harmon, too

DORAL, Fla. -- Like everybody else, Butch Harmon did a double-take as he watched his television on Friday when he saw the two amazingly poor tee shots that his former pupil, Tiger Woods, hit in the second round of the Cadillac Championship.

Woods hit a snap hook and a pop-up 3-wood that, combined, traveled under 300 yards, shots that reinforced the growing suspicion that the fading superstar isn't anywhere near staging a comeback soon.

Harmon, working this week as an analyst for European television outlet Sky Sports, made a brief appearance in the NBC Sports booth on Saturday and gave a blunt synopsis of what seemingly ails the former world No. 1.

"I think the drive at the second hole and the 14th hole yesterday were a shock to all of us," Harmon said. "This is Tiger Woods, this isn't somebody on the Nationwide Tour that's trying to get a card. It's the greatest player that ever lived. I think it just shows you that he is still a work in progress. He has said that he and [coach] Sean Foley are still working on it."

Foley and Woods worked the entire offseason on swing changes, but to date, the results have been wildly uneven. Woods lost in the first round of the Accenture Match Play two weeks ago and stands T30 with one round left at the Cadillac Championship.

"This is seven months into it -- they started in August of last year at the PGA [Championship]," Harmon said. "But I think if I am Tiger Woods, I am a little frustrated that I don't see the consistency that I am looking for."

This week, Woods has hit the ball decently and his iron play has been sharp, but his putting has been awful. He switched putters before the third round, benching the Scotty Cameron model he used to win 13 majors and $100 million in prize money on the PGA Tour. 

Harmon said the Tavistock Cup matches on Monday and Tuesday at Woods' home course outside Orlando, Isleworth, could prove insightful. If not frightful.

"I think the next two days at Isleworth in that tournament they are having with the inter-club thing, where he can be relaxed, and play a course that he knows, if he doesn't play well then, I think there are some real problems," Harmon told Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller.

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