A Lesson in Gamesmanship
By mustang6560 on 2/15/12
What do Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods have in common?

Butch Harmon.

Prior to 2007, the year Phil hired Tiger's old swing coach, Butch Harmon, as his swing coach, Tiger owned a 10-5-3 head-to-head record against Phil. But, since then, the tables have turned dramatically and Phil is now 8-3-1 against Tiger in their last 12 meetings.

What changed in those five years?
“I explained to [[Phil]] some things to be aware of when playing with Tiger,” Harmon said via cell phone. “If Tiger putts out first the gallery is going to start moving ahead, so if you have a chance to putt out first it’s in your best interest to do so. If it’s close on the back nine, Tiger will sometimes hit 3-wood on purpose to make you wait.”

“Tiger’s not doing anything illegal, it’s just a little bit of gamesmanship.”
I guess the secrets follow the money. I wonder if Tiger is upset with Butch for revealing his strategy?

I employed some gamesmanship of my own during my round Sunday at Quail Hollow (no, not the real Quail Hollow). We were playing wolf and the teams ended up carrying over for 10 holes before a winning team was decided. During that stretch of holes, I made my buddy putt out putts that under normal circumstances I would give him. And it worked because he missed a two foot par putt on the 15th hole to win so my team lived to see another hole. Unfortunately, he rallied strong on the next hole to make bogey on the 450+ yard par 4 to win.

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Flickr, familymwr

[ comments ]
jcstoll says:
Hopefully Butch had some juicier and more useful stuff than that for Phil. Phil's no dummy and he probably figured those 2 tidbits out before he hired Butch. Of course, it doesn't take a brainiac to figure out that that as soon as Tiger hits, the crowd moves.
bkuehn1952 says:
I have a hard enough time thinking about what I need to do. Any gamesmanship on my part would be purely by accident.
bobhooe says:
Why would the crowd not watch Phil as closly as Tiger, 2 of the greats why not take it all in? I guess this would be usefull for Rocco or another 2nd or 3rd tier player.
joe jones says:
Gamesmanship has always been part of golf but it can get out of hand. I once had an opponent who jiggled his change as you were putting. After the third time he did it I walked up to his side and very quietly suggested that if he did it again I was going to knock him on his fanny. I'm 6'3" tall and weigh 250. It never happened again and he stayed clear of me for the rest of the round which I won 4&3
falcon50driver says:
I always try to be helpful to my opponent " Come on George Hit a good drive, Don't even think about that water on the right".... I know they appreciate that kind of support.
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