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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 June, 2004, 18:33 GMT 19:33 UK
Butch v Tiger rumbles on
Tiger Woods and Butch Harmon
Woods and Harmon in friendlier times for the pair
Swing coach Butch Harmon has defended the comments that prompted a testy response from former pupil Tiger Woods.

Speaking after Saturday's third round, Woods angrily said he had no idea why Harmon would suggest he was "in denial" about the state of his game.

Harmon, however, hit back on Sunday, saying, "If I was Tiger, I'd probably be upset if I heard the same thing.

"(But) I didn't say anything that players on the practice tee haven't been saying for weeks."

Harmon worked with Woods between 1997 and 2002, and helped the phenomenally-gifted American redesign his swing after winning his first major at the 1997 Masters.

I don't understand why (Harmon) would ever say anything like that
Tiger Woods
After winning the 1999 USPGA, Woods would then go on to win six of the next 10 majors and cement his position at the top of the world rankings.

But Harmon and Woods parted company in 2002 and the 28-year-old has not won a major since.

Harmon's original comments, made on British television after Thursday's first round, stung Woods, who fired back, "I don't know why he would say anything like that.

"Obviously he doesn't really know what I'm working on. He has never asked me. I've never talked to him about it and no one knows.

"I don't understand why he would ever say anything like that, especially when we have been as close as we are. And we have resolved everything, I thought. I thought everything would have been cool."

But Woods' game has increasingly come under scrutiny as his dominance of golf has diminished.

"There's something wrong with his swing," Zimbabwe's Nick Price said.

Bottom line, if we look at the Tiger Woods of 2000 and the Tiger Woods of now, it's a different person
Butch Harmon
"This is the first time we're seeing him missing fairways with an iron off the tee. Until he starts hitting fairways, I don't think he's going to play any better.

"He can't keep doing this. It's not one shot. He's hitting a big hook and blocking it too. When he starts hitting more fairways, then he will win again."

Harmon defended his right to criticise Woods by saying he was serving as an expert analyst and responding to a question, adding that Woods himself knows how changes in his body have affected his swing.

"His body has changed a lot since 2000. He's bigger in the chest and bigger in the biceps.

"If he would go back to just putting his ball in play, doing what he was doing in the past - and I don't think he needs me to do these things - he would have more control of the ball in the air and he would have (better results).

"Bottom line, if we look at the Tiger Woods of 2000 and the Tiger Woods of now, it's a different person."





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