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Norman vs. Harmon for the biggest head in golf

September 19th, 2012 · 2 Comments

And now, for the title of the personality with the biggest head in golf we have, in this corner, Greg Norman, the Great White Shark. In the other corner is Butch Harmon, instructor to the stars.

Let’s start with Greg. Yesterday, while talking about the passing of the torch as the world’s best player, he said, “Jack took it from Arnold (Palmer). I took it from Jack, Tiger from me and now it looks like Rory’s taking it from Tiger.”

Norman believes that his win over Nicklaus in the semifinal of the 1986 World Match Play signaled the passing of the torch. Trouble is, despite his win in the 1986 Masters, Nicklaus, as he freely admitted in My Story, was passed by Tom Watson nearly a decade sooner. Certainly this is backed up by the stats, which show that, from 1977 on, that Watson won seven majors to Nicklaus’ four.

Norman further said that his reign basically lasted from October 1986 until Woods came along in late 1996. Seems like he conveniently has forgotten about Nick Faldo, who won six majors during this period to one for the Shark.

Now for Harmon who, like Norman, has an exalted sense of self. During a commercial for his new instructional series of DVDs, the announcer tells us, in a super obnoxious voice, that Butch is “The best golf teacher the world has ever known.” It would have been inappropriate for Butch to say it, so he had someone do it for him – but Harmon obviously, like a politician, “approved this message.”

Is Harmon really the best teacher of all time? I would submit that, given his inability to improve Phil Mickelson’s game one iota despite six years of trying, (see COG)  that he is not even the best teacher of the last five years.

So, who do you think is more full of BS, Harmon, or the Shark?

Tags: The Game


2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 BD // Sep 19, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Norman apparently believes he was a better golfer than his record in majors reflects. There’s some validity in that claim: the win doesn’t ALWAYS go to the best player and Norman was pretty damn unlucky in some of his losses. Still, good as Norman was, I would have a hard time justifying the claim that he was better than Faldo. I think they were fairly equal, but of course Faldo’s 6 majors would be hard to deny.

    As for Harmon, there are two issues. The easier one to address is whether or not it’s tacky to call yourself the greatest teacher of all time ,even if you can make a claim to that distinction, given that it’s almost purely a subjective achievement and there is no informed consensus. I vote “tacky.”

    As to the merits of the question, off the top of my head, I would think that Harvey Penick and Ben Hogan were greater teachers than Harmon. Although Hogan was only a golf teacher in the broadest sense of the word, I doubt any traditional, hands-on instructor has had nearly the impact he did with his “Five Lessons.”

    Also, Claude Harmon was a pretty fair teacher, wasn’t he? Is Butch really claiming to have significantly surpassed his father’s skills as an instructor? And shouldn’t the father get a lot of the credit for teaching Butch (and his other sons) in the first place?

  • 2 Golfzoo // Sep 20, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I’m not impress with Norman. Its best if he just dont say anything. Anything unnecessary for everyone.

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