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April 23, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Harmon criticizes Haney, says Tiger lost his 'nerve'

Tiger Wood's other ex-swing coach is finally speaking out in regards to Hank Haney's polarizing book, The Big Miss, reports Jeff Neuman of The Wall Street Journal, and Butch Harmon says he was shocked by Haney's decision to include information on Tiger's family.

"I'm very surprised that he would write it," Harmon said this week. "I'd never do that to Tiger or Greg [Norman] or any of the guys I've been with. We get to spend a lot of time with these people, sometimes even more time than their own families. Things are said, or you see different things, and it's just—it is what it is, you just leave it where it belongs. I was really shocked to see him talk about Elin and Tiger's kids and stuff like that, I don't think that had any place in it."

"It almost seems the way he has everything documented in there—too many times and dates and places that you wouldn't come up with from memory—it's like he kept precise notes all along with writing a book in mind." 

While Harmon makes it clear that he wouldn't write a book about his former students in Haney-esque fashion, he's still game to analyze Tiger's swing woes.

"For me, and I think we saw this at the Masters, he looks like he's playing 'golf-swing' and not golf. In my opinion, he's very robotic. And you could see that at Augusta with all his practice swings and the double-cross shots when he's trying to fade it and he hooks it. I think everyone thought because he won at Bay Hill that he was back; well, he didn't hit it great at Bay Hill, he hit it OK. And Bay Hill's not a major."

"When I had him, I'm more of a natural-type teacher, I like to keep what you do naturally and just try to improve on it. I like to let you be creative, which he was good at."

"And for me, I think he's lost his nerve putting. I think his nerves are bad, and he's lost his confidence."

So what would Harmon do if he was back coaching the biggest name in golf? In a sense, nothing.

"If he ever asked me what I thought he needed to do, I'd tell him, look, go on the practice tee without anybody—without me, without Sean [Foley, his current coach], without Haney, without a camera, and start hitting golf shots. Hit some high draws, some low draws, high fades, low fades, move the ball up and down, move it around; don't worry about how you do it and go back to feeling it again. Quit playing golf-swing and just hit shots; just say to himself, I'm gonna hit a low fade, and I don't need anybody to tell me how to do it, I'm just gonna feel it. He's Tiger Woods, for God's sake. He doesn't know how to hit a shot?"

Little green jacket

You know what they say: like father, like son. So after Bubba Watson won the Masters this year, it was only a matter of time until son Caleb got in on the action. That's why Bubba had a second green jacket made, just for Caleb. 

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Caleb even has the same Travis Matthew polo to go along with it. No word yet if he's hitting a pink driver, though.

Na remembers infamous 16

Remember that one time Kevin Na made a 16 on a single hole? Yeah, so does Kevin Na. Luckily, Na has a sense of humor about things. With a camera crew in tow (he is hosting a future episode of "Inside the PGA Tour"), Na returned to the scene of the crime Monday before this year's Valero Texas Open -- with a chainsaw. 

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That's not all, though. Na replayed the No. 9 hole at TPC San Antonio to see if he could best his 16 from a year ago -- using only a 6-iron. You'll have to wait until Tuesday night on "Inside the PGA Tour" on the Golf Channel to see how he fared (6:30 p.m. Eastern if you're setting your DVR).

To top it all off, though, Na left the same shirt he wore on that fateful day in memoriam during the first round of the tournament.

China gets third European Tour event, and Rory will be there

The European Tour announced that they will be hosting a third tournament in China, according to Reuters, and the payoff will be BIG. The BMW Masters, hosted by the Jack Nicklaus-designed Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, is set to be played at the end of October and will offer a purse of $7 million. One player already marking his calendar? The world No. 1.

"I am already looking forward to teeing off at the tournament," said world number one Rory McIlroy, who won last year's Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters which is now being replaced by the new event.

"The tournament will be one of the very best events in the world. That obviously makes it all the more exciting to defend my title there," added the Northern Irishman in a statement.

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