Scott, Harmon split at Hazeltine
BY Anthony Powter | US PGA Tour | 2009 US PGA Championship | 16 Aug 2009
Scott confirmed the separation at Hazeltine saying “we need a break” following rounds of 81, his worst ever score in a major, and a slightly better 79 to finish almost last.
For the player who was ranked third in the world as late as June 2008 and seen by some as Tiger Woods’ next great rival, the 91st PGA Championship may end up being rock bottom.
News started to spread on Friday that Scott had split with his long time swing coach Butch Harmon. Turns out, the two didn’t split up, but the Australian characterised the situation as “a break.”
Harmon, regarded as one of the world’s leading swing coaches and is best known for having been Tiger Woods’ golf coach. In 2007, Harmon started working with Phil Mickelson and he has also coached other major champions such as Stewart Cink, Greg Norman, Davis Love III, Fred Couples and Justin Leonard, and with younger stars such as Nick Watney and Natalie Gulbis.
Whilst Harmon’s forte is the golf swing, it is a little ironic that Scott has separated from Harmon even if it is a temporary arrangement, when you consider Scott’s performance with the putter this week.
Scott hit 20 of 28 fairways and made 19 of 38 greens. It was on the greens where Scott’s woes unfolded.
Scott made 38 putts on Thursday, 32 more Friday, and the stats keep getting worse with the flat stick. A four putt double-bogey at the par-4 second Thursday, which was followed by a trio of 3 putts coming home on the back nine. In the second round, Scott twice 3 putted. His score had nothing to do with his swing, but his flat stick.
If you putt like that, you are sure to rack up the number like Scott did. Putting has cost Scott dearly this year and no more so than at this week’s US PGA Championship.
Scott has missed the cut in a major championship for the third time this season and while that’s bad enough, his form slump looks even worse when you spread the picture out over an entire season. In 16 tournaments, Scott has missed nine cuts and earned just US$738,384, and that was mainly due to one top 10 back in January.
When told of Scott’s description of their current relationship, Harmon confirmed that it was accurate. The two have been together for many years and have put countless hours into their relationship to simply walk away.
At 29, Scott, clearly is a player who needs to figure out some things for himself. Last Australian summer he missed all the main Australasian events due to an injury and his presence was sorely missed back in Australia. He’ll also be missed this weekend at Hazeltine but they say a change is as good as a holiday. In Scott’s case lets hope this is true.
Whatever eventuates in the future between Harmon and Scott, the Australian desperately needs to find some form. Immediately after signing his card for a 79 yesterday, Scott was making arrangements to play next week’s Wyndham Championship. Scott decided what he needed wasn’t a break from the game, but to get right back into competition.
Scott’s year is quickly reaching an end. He’s 110th in FedEx Cup points and will need a solid finish to the season to advance past the first round of the Playoffs.
What is clear is he will do it without Harmon, who has been there for Scott for most of his professional career. Whether Scott makes it past the opening round of the Playoffs, is not so clear.