Butch Harmon on Feherty
This week on the Feherty Show, David sat down for an interview with legendary swing coach Butch Harmon. While we all know Butch Harmon was with Tiger through 59 PGA wins and 8 majors we often forget he cut his teeth with some other pretty good players including, Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman. At one point, Butch says he just feels lucky to have been around so many great golfers but somehow I don’t think luck had much to do with it.
Butch came from a golfing family so it is really no surprise where he landed. His dad won the 1948 Masters and still holds about six course records and all 3 of his brothers have taught golf at the highest level. And, if you counted them up, Butch has probably played with nearly every great golfer since Ben Hogan (who was good friends with his dad). Yup, Butch knows golf.
From a golf standpoint, Butch talks about a number of golf philosophies but what struck me was his differentiation between learning a golf swing and learning to play golf. Butch references this notion at least three times and credits Ben Hogan for the term “getting back in the dirt”. While clearly treading lightly in terms of talking about Tiger, Butch Harmon does say that Tiger has become too much of a golf robot and not enough of a golfer. Beyond Tiger, Butch even blames this swing first, golf second coaching mentality for the period of decline in US golfing talent.
Speaking of US talent, Butch is another in a long line of experts who when asked about the next great group of golfers, brings up Rickie Fowler. Now I am a big Rickie fan, so this is good news for me, but if you look at the results guys like Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson seem to be ahead of him at this point. Then again, this is why he coaches PGA players and I write a blog.
The two other swing notes that jumped out at me oddly enough came from Feherty. First, he said “just swing the club and let the ball get in the way” which is exactly what Wade tells me that Jim Colbert would say all of the time. The other interesting note, is that because of Feherty’s injury he cannot keep his left elbow straight which many people think you need to do in order to create power. Ironically, Wade just wrote about keeping a soft left elbow last week and judging from Feherty’s’ swing it is a perfectly fine way to hit a golf ball.
Back to the show: as you may know, Feherty has been very active with the men and women of the military. Given his involvement with the troops oversees, it was appropriate for him to be onsite for Butch Harmon to showcase his Troops First Foundation which hosts a golf camp for seriously injured soldiers. Expectedly, David is really great with these guys as he is totally at ease talking to anyone (it may have helped that he wore a ridiculously stupid hat during the entire segment). While clearly emotional during his conversation with a man who lost both legs, Feherty is able to keep his sense of humor as he tells one guy who had lost his arm “gimme none”. I give credit to the Feherty Show for dedicating so much time to this segment rather than re-airing 15 more minutes of Tiger highlights (even though that never get old).
My final note is something I also referenced in last weeks post. The opening monologue is just so bizarre. I am to the point where I actually enjoy its uncomfortable nature. This week on the Feherty Show I could swear David was channeling his inner Mr. Rogers as he sauntered around his office looking from camera to camera. Let’s see if next week he hangs up his jacket in favor of a sweater.