Butch Harmon believes the players who said playing less was their primary reason for joining LIV Golf is “BS”, but defended former pupil Phil Mickelson for his honesty about the move.
Harmon coached Mickelson from 2007 to 2015 as well as Tiger Woods for an 11-year spell.
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While Woods turned down a monster offer from LIV, Mickelson couldn’t turn down the opportunity and joined the rebel competition for a deal reportedly worth $AUD290 million.
Mickelson was heavily criticised over the move at the time, but Harmon believes his former pupil is copping it most because he’s been honest.
“Well, Phil’s very honest,” Harmon said on the Son of a Butch podcast.
“I mean, he’s got no filter. It’s one of the things I admire about him, one of the reasons we were friends, because I got a lot of that in myself, too. What we think is what we say. And I think, in all honesty, I’m going to give Phil some credit.
“People didn’t like it, but a lot of the things he said about the Tour I think were true. And I think the Tour is now seeing that and they’re trying to change a lot of that stuff.
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“So you got to hand it to Phil for that. He has taken a tremendous amount of criticism for it. You know there’s things that have come out about him and his personal life that he hasn’t done, and look, hey, we all make mistakes; nobody’s perfect, all right.”
However, Harmon took aim at the lack of transparency from many of the other stars who have linked up with LIV Golf.
Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson are just four of several players who defected from the PGA Tour, with all receiving big money contracts.
However, very few are claiming the cash was the driving factor, something that hasn’t sat right with Harmon.
“I think the players that went to the LIV – you’re probably not going to agree with me on this – they created the problem because they went for the money, there’s no doubt about it,” Harmon said.
“That’s BS about I’m going to play less and I’m going to spend more time at home. No, you went for the money. So just say that.
“So to me that’s the first problem – I think the PR of the LIV has not been good. The guys should have got together and be honest. This ‘I’m going to grow the game better’ – no, that has nothing to do with it; you’re not growing any game. They’re growing their bank accounts. Which every sportsman has the right to do – to get the best deal you can get.
“So I have a problem with people complaining about that. But I think they brought that on themselves by coming up with this other stuff.”