Harmon: Not unfair to compare Spieth to Tiger

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KAPALUA, Hawaii – Jordan Spieth’s eight-stroke victory on Sunday at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions was his seventh on the PGA Tour and sixth triumph in less than a year, accolades that immediately sparked comparisons to Tiger Woods.

Although Spieth quickly dismissed the comparisons calling them “premature,” Butch Harmon, who was Woods’ swing coach from 1996 to August 2002, sees plenty of similarities.

“It’s not unfair to compare Jordan with Tiger because Jordan is doing exactly what Tiger did at the same age,” Harmon told GolfChannel.com on Sunday.

Harmon explained the key difference between Spieth and Woods was the latter’s length advantage off the tee. Woods ranked third in driving distance his third year on Tour, compared to Spieth last year who was 78th in driving distance.

“Tiger could physically take over a golf course with his driver better than Jordan can,” Harmon said. “Tiger putted great like Jordan does, he is smart mentally like Jordan, he had all the shots like Jordan, he has the same work ethic.”

Despite Spieth’s comparative weaknesses, Harmon said the current world No. 1’s decision not to change his swing in search of more power is a sign of maturity 

“What I really admire about Jordan and his instructor Cameron McCormick is they really haven’t tried to gain more distance,” Harmon said. “Everybody has their own swing that is personal to them and the secret to teaching is you don’t want to take away what someone does naturally and I think Cameron and Jordan have done that beautifully.”