Butch Harmon Goes Home

By Rich LernerMay 26, 2006, 4:00 pm
When I traipsed through the mens grill at my dads club as a kid, Id bump into guys like Hank Penso, Sam Briskin and Lenny Abrams, nice men all, but their golf resumes included at best a third-place finish in the spring ABCD. Actually my pop used to joke that he was an R player and the R stood for rotten.
 
Butch Harmons experience at Winged Foot was decidedly different. When we were kids wed walk through the grill room, he remembered as he prepared for the clubs Boys and Girls Club fundraiser earlier this week. And there having lunch were Tommy Armour and Craig Wood. They did a little better than the ABCD.
 
Butchs dad, Claude, was head professional at Winged Foot, which is a bit like saying Joe Paterno is a football coach at Penn State. You cant mention one without the other. Claude was a pros pro, from the mid 40s through the 70s, in a time when a job at a club like Winged Foot held as much or more esteem as that of touring professional.
 
The legend he left Butch said, letting the thought trail off, the meaning easily understood. I mean look at the guys who were his assistants. He had Jackie Burke, Mike Souchak, Dave Marr and Dick Mayer. Butch held the job, too, for a year in the late 1960s.
 
Claude won the 1948 Masters, the last club professional to win a major. The final member of an extinct breed: the workingman champion, the playing club pro, writes Butch in his new book, The Pro: Lessons from My Father About Golf and Life.
 
The Harmon brothers, Butch and Craig and Billy and Dick, who unexpectedly passed away several months ago, would make their own marks as teachers to the gifted and club professionals to the fortunate. Billy is a teaching pro at Tuscana in Palm Desert, instructor and part-time caddie for Jay Haas. Craig is well into his fourth decade as head professional at fabled Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. Theyre all graduates of The Old School. Their father was headmaster. He taught in an era when methods didnt need to be psychoanalyzed on Dr. Phil.
 
I dont remember the first time I heard it: that booming voice erupting from the barrel-chested, bigger-than-life man who dominated my life, said Butch in an excerpt from the book reprinted in the May issue of Golf Digest.
 
Claude was as skilled at deflating young egos as he was at lacing a 2-wood. During an unsuccessful stint on The PGA TOUR in the late 60s, Butch remembers missing a cut and calling his dad.
 
I need to see you, he recalls telling the pro.
 
You missed the cut?
 
Yes, I missed another cut.
 
I thought you were leading, said Claude. I must have had the newspaper upside down.
 
There were playful jabs and then there were important messages, like, dont ever mix your ego and ignorance. There were more pearls. Thats how Claude described his life lessons.
 
When Dick was head pro at River Oaks in Texas, Claude would walk through the shop grabbing pairs of cashmere socks. After Claude passed away in the late 80s, Dick went through his dads closet and found the socks unopened. Butch later told his brother, He only took them because he knew it bugged you. It was his way of telling you not to sweat the small stuff. Thats your final lesson from Dad: stop worrying about the socks.
 
The memories of his father and brother came rushing back this week with his return to Winged Foot. Butch and his brothers are dues paying members, one of several clubs to which they belong. Still, hes unflinching in his assessment.
 
Its the greatest club in the world, he said. Winged Foot has the two best 18 holes in one place. Its all about golf and its the membership we cherish the most.
 
Butch played in an outing and issued a simple declaration for those competing in the upcoming U.S. Open. If you dont drive your ball in the fairway, you have no chance.
 
For the first time, the USGA will prepare three layers of rough, so that the further off line a player hits it the deeper the hay. From the first cut you can get a club on the ball, explained Butch. The next two are iffy.
 
I asked Butch if he missed working with Tiger. No I do not, he said without hesitation. We had a good ten years.
 
As for Phil Mickelson, Butch thinks hes taken a page out of Tigers book. The gap has closed because Phils learned to play smarter.'
 
Now 62, Butch continues to work with Adam Scott, Fred Couples, Jose Maria Olazabal, Stewart Cink and Justin Leonard.
 
Hes reached the top of his field, but theres one pro who will forever be untouchable in Butchs heart.
 
I dont think I can hold my dads shag bag as a teacher, he said. He was an incredible man.
 
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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia


And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win


Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.