For the first time in over a decade, Butch Harmon may be softening his stance on Tiger Woods.
In a report for GolfWorld, Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte spoke to Harmon, who admitted he would be willing to give Woods his opinion, which is more than he's ever offered since their split in 2002.
Writes Rosaforte: "What made this conversation different is that in the 13 years they’ve been apart, I’ve never heard Butch say that he would be willing to help Tiger. But at The Floridian for a member-guest, working with [Rickie] Fowler before the tournament started, Harmon opened the door a crack.
“Tiger probably wouldn’t ask,” Harmon said. “At my age, 71, I’m kind of on the end of my run anyway. If he wanted, I’d be more than happy to spend a couple hours and give him my opinion. I don’t think he would ask because it goes against his pride.”
Harmon's admission that he'd be willing to help marks a departure from what he told Golf Channel last August, when he mantained that he would not entertain a reunion with his former pupil.
“No I would not and he’s not going to call and ask,” Harmon said last summer. “I don’t think he needs a swing coach. If I were advising Tiger I’d tell him, ‘You’re the greatest player that ever lived, just go to the range and hit shots.’”
The consistent theme throughout is that regardless of his own willingness, Harmon believes Woods won't be reaching out. The former world No. 1 split with coach Sean Foley after last year's PGA Championship and, at the suggestion of friend and Golf Channel analyst Notah Begay, retained Chris Como as a swing "consultant" last fall.
Woods won eight of his 14 majors and 26.8 percent of the PGA Tour events he played while working with Harmon. He increased that percentage to 33.3 and picked up six more majors under coach No. 2, Hank Haney, but even Haney said earlier this month that if Woods' had "never changed his swing from Butch Harmon, he probably would have already broke Jack Nicklaus' record."
Speaking with Rosaforte, Harmon also commented on Tiger's chipping yips, his balky back and what Woods has been trying to accomplish with Foley and Como.
“I have no idea what biomechanics is,” Harmon said. “And I’m being serious.”