Lessons With Butch Priceless


2007 THE PLAYERSPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Former PLAYERS champion Adam Scott startled reporters this week when he told them Butch Harmon hasnt billed him a penny for all those lessons hes given him in the seven years theyve been together.
No, never charged me, Scott said. Its amazing.
Scott himself was a little startled recently when Harmon called Scott to tell him he was going to be working with Phil Mickelson but that Scott was still at the top of the totem pole on Harmons priority list of students.
He asked me if I was all right with it, Scott said. And I said, Sure, Im all right with it. Im not in charge of Butch.
For his part, Mickelson has decided not to talk publicly about the exact mechanics of his work with Harmon. Asked if the two would ever discuss course management, Mickelson said, I dont know how it will evolve, he said. Right now they are focusing on the driver.
Mickelson said the fruits of their official partnership, less than three weeks old, doesnt show up in the driving accuracy statistics yet but agreed that its no coincidence that he has finished in the top five in each of his last two events.
Asked about the difference between Harmon and former teacher Rick Smith, Mickelson quipped, He (Butch) probably swears a little more.
Mickelson is a non-winner at THE PLAYERS in 13 tries. He has missed the cut four times and once five-putted the 10th green. His best finish here is a T3 in 2004, the year Scott won.
Only one European has won THE PLAYERS, Scotlands Sandy Lyle in 1987. But Irishman Padraig Harrington was a runner-up in 2003 and 2004.
Harrington, who once planned and studied to be an accountant, thinks his methodical nature is an advantage at the Stadium Course because of the target golf point A to point B nature of many of the holes.
I think you kind of think your way around this course, he said. Theres a lot of options all the way around. You will see three guys tee up in a group and all three will hit different clubs off the tee. Theres a lot of choices to be made and play the course how it suits yourself. Its not a question of walking on to every tee and pulling a driver. Theres certainly a lot of options.
PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchems first words to the media at his scheduled press conference were: Welcome to sunny, dry, warm Florida.
He was being sarcastic. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have alternately brought high winds, cold temperatures and rain to the practice rounds.
We never said it doesnt rain in May, Finchem said of THE PLAYERS move from March. We just said the patterns were different. More rain is forecast for Thursday and, possibly, the weekend.
Finchem also predicted a playoff Sunday for the first time in this tournament since 1987. Why?
Because were going late, he said, referring to the late starting time for the 54-hole leaders.
In other remarks, Finchem said the annual players meeting was moved out of this week because, with all the other activities schedule he didnt want it to be a distraction.
Scott is as curious as anybody as to how much and how quickly Harmon will be able to help Mickelson.
Scott and Mickelson found themselves paired the first two rounds at last months Masters and Scott couldnt help but notice Mickelsons wildness off the tee.
I dont think he (Phil) knew where it was going, Scott said. He could be pretty scary good if he gets the ball in the fairway.
Sight seen at a Jacksonville area rock concert last week: Former TOUR pro Larry Rinker playing rhythm guitar for Stephen Stills. . . . Ken Duke arrives at Sawgrass with four straight top 10s on the PGA TOUR. Duke was exempt into the field by virtue of leading the Nationwide Tour in earnings last year. . . . No one has ever successfully defended their title at THE PLAYERS. And there hasnt been a playoff in this event since 1987 when Lyle defeated Jeff Sluman. .
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