Golf Weekly and Off The Ball host Joe Molloy on Harmon's enduring excellence and more from the golf world
On the latest Golf Weekly, we salute the magic of Butch Harmon, hear from more listeners in exotic locations and wonder why the PGA Tour dialled down the fun at the famous Par 3 16th in Phoenix.
Harmon it turns out still knows what he’s doing, despite Phil Mickelson swapping him for Andrew Getson last year, a fact borne out by the brilliant Brandt Snedeker win at Torrey Pines. In horrific weather conditions Snedeker carded a 69 and watched from the clubhouse on Monday as those around him failed to reach 6-under.
It’s quite the turn-around for a player who shot an 82 in Australia pre-Christmas and turned to Harmon, convinced his game was in need of major surgery. Harmon said, "He literally got on a plane and flew non-stop to Los Angeles and then to Las Vegas, and at 3:30 p.m. he was on my range working. He was ready to tear down his whole swing, but after I watched him I knew it really wasn't that bad."
The genius of a great coach is diagnosis. Coming up with the fix is generally the textbook part. A bad coach will sometimes misdiagnose and prompt weeks of tortuous tinkering to no real avail. Butch saw the problem and the simple fix was moving the ball back in Brandt’s stance. To quote Butch, "He instantly started to hit the ball better. He likes to play a draw and now he is doing that and seeing the ball beautifully." Let it be a lesson for amateurs; if multiple tour winner Brandt Snedeker needs a set of eyes on him, we absolutely do. Much like most of you, it’s a lesson I happily ignore.
We also preview the Phoenix Open this weekend with Rex Huggard of the Golf Channel. Bubba Watson isn’t happy with the course changes, but Bubba isn’t happy most of the time. It interesting to note the PGA have toned down the levels of fun at the Par 3 16th, which is odd considering the whole point of the set-up. Not so long ago Padraig Harrington kicked American footballs to the crowd and caddies routinely raced to the green as the drunken mob lost their minds. Sure, it would lose its novelty value pretty quickly if replicated at other tournaments but once a year, on one hole, it’s really great. These days though, for ‘insurance purposes’, the real fun is gone. No more racing to the green, no more free stuff into the crowd; it’s reminiscent of that day when running in the schoolyard was suddenly banned.
And finally, a big thanks to our listeners. We're not entirely sure how it started, but it is now a staple of every week for you to send pictures of yourselves listening to the podcast in increasingly exotic locations. Just this week we’ve had Ontario, Sydney, Singapore and my personal favourite, one from a listener right by the 18th at Torrey Pines as Paul Dunne putted out.
You can see all manner of great selfies @golfweeklyNT. I say this often on the pod and I mean it - the Golf Weekly family is a joyous one, we feel the love from GW listeners like no other grouping I experience on radio – maybe its because we know you guys actually seek us out and download, as opposed to happening upon us on the radio. We love you right back! Talk next week. JM