Tiger Woods has had some bitter breakups with his swing coaches, as Hank Haney wrote a tell-all book following their split and Woods has barely spoken with Butch Harmon in more than a decade.
Phil Mickelson also recently parted ways with Harmon, his swing coach for the past eight years, but it appears they’ll remain friends. That’s partly due to the way Mickelson handled the breakup, flying to Las Vegas last week to personally give Harmon the news over breakfast at Rio Secco, home of the Butch Harmon School of Golf.
“He flew up on his plane last week to sit down and talk,” Harmon told Golf Digest. “We talked for about two hours. I completely agreed that sometimes you need to hear things a different way, get a different perspective on things. He’s been frustrated the last two years. I thought it was a good idea that he would do this. He needs to hear things differently that maybe get him rejuvenated and get him back to what we all know he can be.”
Mickelson, 45, won 12 tournaments with Harmon as his coach, including the 2013 British Open and 2010 Masters.
“I respect him as a person and as a teacher and as a friend, and just wanted to talk to him in person about it,” Mickelson said. “It’s not something you do over the phone. He’s been good to me long before we ever started working together. That stuff is never easy, but it’s what he deserves.”
Harmon appreciated that. “He did it in a classy way,” he said.