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Coaching a Tiger must be cushy job

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Butch Harmon has the easiest job in sports, hands down. Harmon is — and this is almost laughable — Tiger Woods' swing coach.

How hard can that be?

After the British Open, Harmon wrote in USA Today, "To be honest, Tiger made my job easy this week."

No kidding.

What was Harmon before he was Woods' swing coach? Cindy Crawford's make-up man? Gaby Reece's personal-fitness instructor? Robert Duvall's acting coach?

Harmon is going to coach Tiger's swing? That's like telling Streisand how to sing. How do you coach perfection?

Tiger has a swing that makes grown men cry.

He hits the ball harder than Happy Gilmore.

He recently played 63 straight holes without a bogey in a major tournament.

He beat the best golfers in the world by 15 strokes in the U.S. Open.

He beat the best golfers in the world by eight strokes in the British Open.

He's already won a career Grand Slam at the age of 24.

He has old pros such as Nick Faldo throwing in the towel for the other pros, saying they'll just have to play in "Tiger-less" tournaments if they hope to win again. Mark Calcavecchia called Tiger "the chosen one" and said Jack Nicklaus in his prime couldn't keep up with him. Tom Watson called Tiger "something supernatural." Butch himself recently said of Tiger, "He has the most natural talent, he's the strongest and he's playing the smartest."

That about covers it. So where, exactly, does a coach fit in here? What technical pointers does a coach tell "the chosen one?"

"Nice shot, Eldrick."

"Good swing, Tiger."

"No, no, no. I said the black ensemble with the red bag, not the red ensemble with the black bag."

"Good swing, Tiger."

"Thatta boy."

"Try to hit it 370 yards this time."

"Good swing, Tiger."

"Nice tee shot — but next time put it in the hole."

"Good swing, Tiger."

"Can I get you something to eat?"

"Remember to flash your 100-watt smile and to tip your cap to the crowd on the 18th green — and hug your coach."

"Nice swing, Tiger."

After the British Open, Butch fessed up and told reporters, "Mostly, my job was to say, 'Good swing, good swing.' "

Not just anyone could say that.

What else does Butch do? Well, he scouts the world's greatest golf courses for Tiger (a tough, tough job). He attends the British and U.S. opens. And the Masters. He watches Tiger hit golf balls on the range. He watches him play a round.

He gets paid to do this? Hey, Butch, a guy recently paid $2.1 million just to play a round with Tiger.

Does Butch need an assistant? Where do we sign up?

Some grueling job. Butch doesn't even have to tell Tiger to practice, so what does that leave him? After the opening round of the British Open, Woods hit balls at the driving range for an hour. "That's the way he likes to unwind and relax," Butch explained.

Butch really had to extend himself the other day when Tiger appeared to be a little nervous before the start of the British Open. "We kidded around, not really talking about golf," Butch explained. "I was trying to relax him so he could go take care of business."

Well, at least it was something to do.


E-mail: drob@desnews.com