Welcome to Butch’s “Brotherhood”: Tour Players Spend Time With The Legend In Vegas


The best way to describe the hectic comings and goings at the Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson, Nevada the past two weeks is to compare it to a combine.

Or maybe “mini-camp” would best describe what the PGA Tour’s Las Vegas Fortnight has created. For the second year in a row, thanks to back-to-back events – the Shriners Children’s Open followed by the CJ Cup – the best in the game converged on the desert trail to hang out with Butch Harmon.

However, with players considering their time with the teaching legend, who started cutting back on his trips to Tour events in 2019 and now works almost exclusively at his Butch Harmon golf school in Rio Secco, Harmon has his own vision. – the house of fraternity.

“We had them all there at the same time. It was like a house of fraternity, ”Harmon said with a laugh Monday morning as he prepared for another busy week. “We had a great time.”

These are not your average golf schools. The roster of players who made the trip to Rio Secco includes world number 2 Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and Nick Watney.

Open field start times from the CJ Cup to the Summit

Fowler actually made two trips to visit Harmon last week at the Shriners Children’s Open, but hearing Harmon say it sounded more social than work-related.

“A couple came to work and then a couple just wanted to hang on. We just had a lot of fun talking about the success we’ve had, ”said Harmon. “I missed them. I don’t miss the trip. We had the best time. “

At 78, Harmon couldn’t be happier with his decision to jump off the Tour merry-go-round, but the thought of retirement was never really going to land with him. After spending nearly five decades on the Tour as a player and then a swing coach, you can’t just walk away.

That’s why the two-week Tour in Las Vegas, which was further necessitated by travel restrictions that prevented the CJ Cup from being played in South Korea, has become a highlight for many players.

“It’s mostly the stories, it’s always a good time. You always laugh a lot and you still have a lot of fun, ”Johnson said of his time with Harmon this week. “[We] do a little work in between.

BY Brentley Romine

Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas are the current co-favorites to win this week’s CJ Cup at the Summit Club.

Most of these sessions are less about specific swing theories or teaching methods and more about spending time with a legend.

For Johnson, who works full-time with Harmon’s son Claude, there was work to be had for fun, but it was mostly the laughs.

“He was a little preoccupied with a few things he didn’t like. We worked on that crossfire, a pretty easy fix with some things we’ve done in the past, ”said Harmon.

The concerns and answers were probably a lot more complicated than Harmon suggests, but that’s the beauty of Butch. Where class starts and where time spent with a longtime friend begins is intentionally vague when it comes to Harmon.

For Fowler, who is going through the worst crisis of his career, it was probably more the latter who sent him to Rio Secco. “He came over for a few days just to hang out, I thought he was rocking well. It didn’t really help him in his game and we’ve always been so close, ”said Harmon.

The second week of the fortnight was shaping up to be even busier with Harmon having to work with Webb Simpson and Harold Varner III and he even had time to hire a new player.

“Lanto Griffin came to see me for the first time last week and was sixth [at the Shriners Children’s Open]”Harmon said.” Nice guy; he’s fun to be around. It’s nice to see him play well right after working together. He’s a good player.

Harmon, whose list of players he has taught both past and present reads like a who’s-who of the game’s greats, said he didn’t miss the road and pointed out with great conviction that he had not taken a commercial flight. since the start of the pandemic. But there are still aspects that it lacks.

“What I miss is Sunday in the majors because I almost always had someone in the mix, I miss the rush. And the camaraderie, ”he said before adding,“ I love it as it is now. ”

Combine, mini-camp, fraternity house, whatever you want to call the last two weeks for players who are drawn into the Harmon universe every year, “the way it is now” is always good enough.

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