Harmon Reveals Tiger Secrets

By Brian HewittSeptember 5, 2007, 4:00 pm
Phil still isnt telling. But when I talked to Butch Harmon this week about the so-called classified information on Tiger Woods he has passed on to Mickelson, Harmon scoffed at the notion that this was something out of a spy novel.
Mostly common sense, Harmon said. This isnt baseball, he said. Im not stealing signs.
Harmon said he told Mickelson he needed to enjoy playing in the same group with Tiger and he needed to pay attention and learn from playing in the company of the best player in the world.
Specifically, Harmon told Mickelson to note how Tiger slows down his central nervous system simply by walking more slowly in the heat of battle. Harmon told Phil to watch how Woods putts out when he has the opportunity rather than wait around and let his opponent finish.
Harmon also told me beating Woods at the Deutsche Bank Championship Monday was huge for Mickelsons confidence. And, Harmon added, if Phil hadnt hurt his wrist in June you would have seen Tiger and Phil dueling like this all summer long.
We know that for every action there is a reaction. And Harmon is predicting Woods reaction to his Monday defeat at the hands of Mickelson will only spur Woods on to better things.
And that, Harmon says, doesnt bode well for everybody else.
Harmon also said he was very impressed with Tigers ball-striking at the Deutsche Bank Championship. In the end, Harmon said, it was Tigers putting that let him down last week.
Here are this weeks FedExCup possibilities, fresh from the PGA TOURs home office in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.:
Q: Could Phil Mickelson have clinched first place in the final FedExCup point standings if he had played near Chicago at this weeks BMW Championship?
A: Mickelson could have if all the other players in the top five, except Steve Stricker, finished third or worse at Cog Hill. Stricker could have finished fourth and had a remote chance. The point is now moot with Mickelson out of the field.
(My opinion: This might even turn out to be a blessing in disguise because the points standings are almost certain to be closer near the top for the TOUR Championship the final week of The Playoffs.
Q: What needs to happen for Tiger Woods to pass Mickelson in the FedExCup point standings?
A: Second place or better.
Q: How many of the 70 remaining players have a mathematical chance to win the FedExCup?
A: All of them. No. 70, Bo Van Pelt, will need to win at BMW and Atlanta and have a lot of surprising things happen.
Q: How many of the remaining 70 players are guaranteed a spot in Atlanta regardless of how they do at the BMW Championship?
A: The top 11 are currently a lock for Atlanta. However, its extremely unlikely more than two or three players from outside the top 30 will move in this week. So the top 27 are, de facto, virtually safe. The key to it is this: There are two big gaps between places right now'271 points between (No. 30) Jonathan Byrd and (No. 31) David Toms and 375 points between (No. 32) Stewart Cink and (No. 33) Tim Clark. So if youre 33rd or lower, you have to jump that 650 point gap, plus the 100 points everybody gets for showing up. Which means Clark needs a 19th place finish at BMW just to get to 30th and that assumes Byrd, Toms and Cink all have bad tournaments.
Q: Is it mathematically possible for there to be a tie in the points totals for first place at the end of the TOUR Championship and, if so, how would the winner be determined?
A: Yes, its possible for there to be a tie at the top after The TOUR Championship. But its incredibly unlikely, and because of that, we (The TOUR) havent made a provision for it. We may revisit that this week.
But, says PGA TOUR house FedExCup expert Steve Dennis, Im betting my job we dont need a tiebreaker at the top.

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    Reed: 'Back still hurts' from carrying Spieth at Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 10:48 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Friday’s marquee match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play between Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, who are both undefeated in pool play, just keeps getting better and better.

    Following his 1-up victory over Charl Schwartzel on Thursday, Reed was asked what makes Spieth, who defeated HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, so good at match play.

    “I don't know, my back still hurts from the last Ryder Cup,” smiled Reed, who teamed with Spieth at Hazeltine National.

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    The duo did go 2-1-1 at the 2016 Ryder Cup and have a combined 7-2-2 record in Ryder and Presidents Cup play. Reed went on to explain why Spieth can be such a challenging opponent in match play.

    “The biggest thing is he's very consistent. He hits the ball well. He chips the ball well. And he putts it really well,” Reed said. “He's not going to give you holes. You have to go and play some good golf.”

    The winner of Friday’s match between Spieth and Reed will advance to the knockout stage.

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    Reed vs. Spieth: Someone has to go

    By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 10:11 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – The introduction of round-robin play to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was a necessary evil. It was needed to stem the tide of early exits by high-profile players, but three days of pool play has also dulled the urgency inherent to match play.

    There are exceptions, like Friday’s marquee match between Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, which is now a knockout duel with both players going 2-0-0 to begin the week in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

    That the stars aligned so perfectly to have America’s most dominant pairing in team play the last few years square off in a winner-take-all match will only add to what promises to be must-see TV.

    Sport doesn’t always follow the script, but the pre-match subtext on this one is too good to dismiss. In one corner, professional golf’s “Golden Child” who has used the Match Play to wrest himself out of the early season doldrums, and in the other there’s the game’s lovable bad boy.

    Where Spieth is thoughtful and humble to the extreme, Reed can irritate and entertain with equal abandon. Perhaps that’s why they’ve paired so well together for the U.S. side at the Ryder and Presidents Cup, where they are a combined 7-2-2 as a team, although Spieth had another explanation.

    “We're so competitive with each other within our own pairing at the Ryder Cup, we want to outdo each other. That's what makes us successful,” Spieth said. “Tiger says it's a phenomenon, it's something that he's not used to seeing in those team events. Normally you're working together, but we want to beat each other every time.”

    But if that makes the duo a good team each year for the United States, what makes Friday’s showdown so compelling is a little more nuanced.

    The duo has a shared history that stretches all the way back to their junior golf days in Texas and into college, when Reed actually committed to play for Texas as a freshman in high school only to change his mind a year later and commit to Georgia.

    That rivalry has spilled over to the professional ranks, with the twosome splitting a pair of playoff bouts with Reed winning the 2013 Wyndham Championship in overtime and Spieth winning in extra holes at the 2015 Valspar Championship.

    Consider Friday a rubber match with plenty of intrigue.

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    Although the friendship between the two is genuine, there is an edge to the relationship, as evidenced by Reed’s comment last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational when he was denied relief on the 11th hole on Sunday.

    “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys,” Reed said.

    While the line was clearly a joke, Reed added to Friday’s festivities when he was asked what makes Spieth such a good match play opponent. “I don't know, my back still hurts from the last Ryder Cup,” smiled Reed, a not-so-subtle suggestion that he carried Spieth at Hazeltine.

    For his part, Spieth has opted for a slightly higher road. He explained this week that there have been moments in the Ryder Cup when his European opponents attempted some gamesmanship, which only angered Reed and prompted him to play better.

    “I've been very nice to [Reed] this week,” Spieth smiled.

    But if the light-hearted banter between the duo has fueled the interest in what is often a relatively quiet day at the Match Play, it’s their status as two of the game’s most gritty competitors that will likely lead to the rarest of happenings in sport – an event that exceeds expectations.

    Both have been solid this week, with Speith winning his first two matches without playing the 18th hole and Reed surviving a late rally from Charl Schwartzel on Thursday with an approach at the 18th hole that left him a tap-in birdie to remain unbeaten.

    They may go about it different ways, but both possess the rare ability to play their best golf on command.

    “I’m glad the world gets to see this because it will be special,” said Josh Gregory, Reed’s college coach who still works with the world No. 23. “You have two players who want the ball and they aren’t afraid of anything. Patrick lives for this moment.”

     Where Reed seems to feed off raw emotion and the energy of a head-to-head duel, Spieth appears to take a more analytical approach to match play. Although he admits to not having his best game this week, he’s found a way to win matches, which is no surprise to John Fields, Spieth’s coach at Texas.

    “Jordan gave us a tutorial before the NCAA Championship, we picked his brain on his thoughts on match play and how he competed. It’s one of those secret recipes that someone gives you,” Fields said. “When he was a junior golfer he came up with this recipe.”

    Whatever the secret sauce, it will be tested on Friday when two of the game’s most fiery competitors will prove why match play can be the most entertaining format when the stars align like they have this week.

    It was a sign of how compelling the match promises to be that when asked if he had any interest in the Spieth-Reed bout, Rory McIlroy smiled widely, “I have a lot of interest in that. Hopefully I get done early, I can watch it. Penalty drops everywhere.”

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    Watch: Bubba casually hits flop shot over caddie's head

    By Grill Room TeamMarch 22, 2018, 9:20 pm

    We've seen this go wrong. Really wrong.

    But when your end-of-year bonus is a couple of brand new vehicles, you're expected to go above and beyond every now and then.

    One of those times came early Thursday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where Bubba Watson’s caddie Ted Scott let his boss hit a flop shot over his head.

    It wasn’t quite Phil Mickelson over Dave Pelz, but the again, nothing is.

    And the unique warm-up session paid off, as Watson went on to defeat Marc Leishman 3 and 2 to move to 2-0-0 in group play.

    Hey, whatever works.

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    Spieth explains why he won't play in a 'dome'

    By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 9:01 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – No one at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was as excited about Thursday’s forecast as Jordan Spieth.

    Winds blew across Austin Country Club to 20 mph, which is typical for this time of year in Texas, and Spieth put in a typical performance, beating HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, to remain undefeated entering the final day of pool play.

    The windy conditions were exactly what Spieth, who never trailed in his match, wanted. In fact, demanding conditions factor into how he sets his schedule.

    “I have, and will continue to schedule tournaments away from a dome, because it's just unusual for me. I like having the feel aspect,” said Spieth, who attended the University of Texas and played Austin Country Club in college. “Places with no wind, where it's just driving range shots, it's just never been something I've been used to. So I don't really know what to do on them.”

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    Spieth used the CareerBuilder Challenge as an example. The Coachella Valley event rarely has windy conditions, and as a result he’s never played the tournament.

    “I played in a dome in Phoenix, and I didn't strike the ball well there. Actually I've had quite a few this year, where we didn't have very windy conditions,” said Spieth, who will face Patrick Reed in his final pool play match on Friday. “I don't go to Palm Springs, never have, because of that. Look at where you can take weeks off and if they match up with places that potentially aren't the best for me, then it works out.”