'Tiger Is Going To Surprise A Lot Of People' - Butch Harmon

Former coach, Butch Harmon, believes that the success of Tiger's week will come down to whether he can handle the walk of Augusta National

Butch Harmon holds a cup of drink, whilst Tiger Woods watches his iron shot
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The player-coach duo of Tiger Woods and Butch Harmon is arguably the most successful and dominant in golf history, with the pair amassing 142 consecutive cuts made, eight Major victories, 34 Tour wins, which accumulated to a 27% success rate, and five PGA Tour Player of the Year accolades. 

Despite splitting at the back-end of 2002, they still keep in contact and, at The 2023 Masters, the former coach is backing his former pupil to surprise those in attendance, with Harmon telling Sky Sports "Tiger is swinging the club beautifully."

Harmon and Tiger chat during the 1997 US Open

Harmon and Tiger chat during the 1997 US Open

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Speaking to Sky Sports, the 79-year-old claimed the 15-time Major winner is swinging the club well, but "it's whether he can handle the walk. Can his body handle 72 holes on these hills and all the things he has to deal with?"

In 2022, Tiger made his return to competitive action just 14 months after a serious car crash that almost led to his right leg being amputated. Incredibly, at the tournament, not only did he make the cut, he was inside the top 10 after the first day. However, throughout the weekend, Tiger was visibly struggling as he hobbled round Augusta National on Saturday and Sunday.

Speaking at this year's event, Harmon explained that: "He (Tiger) is hitting the ball long and has a lot of speed back but the walking is the tough part. I know he is in a lot of pain, you can see a bit of a limp. The fact he is even playing is amazing."

Harmon added: "He wouldn't be playing if he didn't think he could win the thing, so I think Tiger is going to surprise a lot of people." Currently, in the betting odds, the five-time Green Jacket winner sits at +9000 (90/1) to win a record-equalling Masters.

Tiger Woods walks down the fairway whilst Freddie Couples watches on

Tiger during a practice round at The 2023 Masters

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It isn't just Tiger who Harmon has his eyes on though, with the American backing Rory McIlroy to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National this week. In the interview, Harmon stated: "Rory is the guy to beat, for me."

Harmon isn't the only one, Tiger also believes that his good friend has it in him to secure a Green Jacket and join him as only a handful of players to complete the Grand Slam. Speaking on Tuesday, Tiger said: It's just a matter of time. Rory has the talent. He has the game. He has all the tools to win here. It's just a matter of time." 

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x