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March 07, 2011

Truth & Rumors: Would Tiger re-unite with Butch?

Posted at 1:17 PM by Jeff Ritter | Categories: Butch Harmon, Honda Classic, Tiger Woods, Truth & Rumors

Would Tiger ever go back to Butch?

Tiger Woods will tee it up this week at Doral in search of his first professional victory since the 2009 Australian Masters. His game has been erratic (to put it mildly) since his April 2010 return from a sex scandal, and it's impossible to watch Woods today without wondering if he'll ever regain his old form. But would Woods ever return to Butch Harmon, who worked with Woods for eight years before Tiger fired him in 2002? Golf World's Jaime Diaz speculates ... and says we shouldn't hold our breath.

There are many reasons that probably will never happen, but the biggest is not Woods' pride. As good as his swing performed from 1999 to 2002, it wasn't perfect. Harmon's fix for Woods' most persistent flaw -- getting "stuck" by having his hips outrace his arms on the downswing -- was to slow his hips down. It worked: Woods' control off the tee was never better and he was plenty long.

But fast hips are an essential gift employed by the great ball-strikers, and Woods was not satisfied with having to suppress his athleticism. He wanted a swing that allowed him to move his body as fast as he wanted without a loss of control. Woods went to Hank Haney with the expectation that putting his club on a better plane would do just that. But as well as Woods played with Haney, he never truly conquered getting stuck.

Under Sean Foley, Tiger is attacking the problem with new information. Although his results haven't been consistent, he believes the quality of his good shots are better than ever. But what's becoming increasingly apparent is that Woods' problems are more mental than mechanical.

Bear Trap shows its teeth

The 15th, 16th and 17th holes at PGA National, otherwise known as the Bear Trap, derailed many pros last week at the Honda Classic. How bad was the carnage? The Orlando Sentinel's Jeff Shain tweeted this report:

* 60 balls in the water at No.15
* 25 at No.16
* 65 at No.17

Add it up and that's a staggering 150 balls in four days. I double-checked, and it turns out these are not highlights from last week's Honda.

Caddie experiences other side of the game

As the full-time caddie for Zach Johnson, Damon Green's day job involves calming his pro's nerves in tense situations. But on Sunday at the Coors Light Open, Green was playing his own ball as a competitor and got a taste of final-round pressure.

Holding a one-shot lead in Sunday's final round of the 49th annual Coors Light Open at Fort Myers Country Club, Green snap-hooked his drive on the par-5 18th hole into the canal and settled for bogey, losing by a shot.

"Just hit it. That's what [Johnson would have] been telling me to do," said Green, 50, long known as one of the best players among PGA Tour caddies. "It's just a bad swing at the wrong time."

Green, who finished 17th in Champions Tour qualifying last fall to earn conditional status, won a pair of pro-am events this winter. But Sunday's final round was his first in about 15 years with a gallery - even if only a fraction of tour crowds.

"This is good to be out playing in front of people. I really hadn't done it since 1996," Green said. "I handled it pretty good. I would have liked to have finished her off. That was kind of frustrating."

Tweet of the Day

Ian Poulter went to a doctor for an allergy test. Naturally, he tweeted his diagnosis.

Logo_bigger @IanJamesPoulter: So funny I'm allergic to every type of grass apart from 1 quality effort that. And All trees apart from 3. Chuffed to pieces

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