MARCH 12, 2012
right from my dad’s mouth, is
what Mr. Hogan changed.
THE POST Who is the best
student – and I emphasize the
word “student” not “player,”
that you ever worked with at
taking information, processing
it and bringing it to the course?
HARMON I think Greg Norman
and Tiger Woods would be the
two best. Greg really – I changed
his swing pretty radically back
in the early 90s. When I changed
his swing, I think he grasped it
beautifully. He has a tremendous
knowledge of the golf swing.
And then you’d have to say Tiger
Woods because he’s changed his
swing so many times and still is
a great player. He obviously has
knowledge of the golf swing and
whether we agree with the way
he swings it or not is immaterial.
43¼-inch steel shaft and he was
hitting 71 percent of his fairways
and was the second longest
hitter in the game. That’s pretty
phenomenal if you think about
it. Then everybody started using
more graphite and longer shafts
and he wanted to use that be-
cause he wanted to hit it farther
and I didn’t think he needed to.
And that’s kind of why we started
falling apart as far as to what we
THE POST Is it realistic to think
Tiger could ever get back to the
level he reached in 2000 and
part of 2001?
HARMON I don’t think so. I
don’t think that any one player
can dominate like he did then.
It’s different times. Equipment A
Tiger Woods and Butch Harmon in better days
B I don’t think you’d ever change
anything that Ben Hogan did. His
work ethic was above anybody.
THE POST So Hogan would have
adjusted better to today’s game
than today’s players would
have adjusted to conditions and
equipment from a previous era?
HARMON I truly believe that
it’s very hard to judge eras in
any sport. But if you brought
the great players of yesteryear
forward, they’d be so much
better now with new equipment
because the new equipment
has made the game so much
easier. But I do believe if you
take these young superstars
today back 40 years, they would
have a hard time adjusting.
So, I wouldn’t change anything,
mechanically, that Ben Hogan
did. He might have to change
the lofts on his clubs – new
balls and things like that. But
he was a machine.
He got his left wrist in a cuppy
position. He had a fairly neutral
grip and he got his left wrist in
a very cupped position, which
meant the clubface is more
open at the top of the swing and
THE POST So what was Hogan’s
secret? Everybody seems
to have an opinion. But your
vantage point was better than
HARMON It was a change he
made. What he did, what it was,
according to my father, who
was his best friend and they
practiced together, was this:
"I don’t think you’d
ever change anything
that Ben Hogan did."
he could use his right side so
much faster through the ball
and not fear the ball going to the
left. You read so many different
things and so many opinions of
what people think. But that, in
my opinion, because I heard it
THE POST Tiger gets criticized,
by some people, for feeling he
has to change it so often. Is that
something that’s just in his nature – that he’s always going to
feel like he wants to be working
on something new?
HARMON He always feels he can
get better. He’s not complacent.
When he and I went our separate ways, I was of the belief
that if it’s not broken, we don’t
need to fix it. He always liked to
tinker with it. When he had his
phenomenal year in 2000 and
then in 2001, he drove with a