Rumors began circulating a few months ago that the 86th-ranked player in the world had hired a very famous swing coach, which seems odd until you remember that it’s Jordan Spieth that is now the 86th-ranked player in the world. The whispers were that he and Butch Harmon were a pair because, in golf circles, golfers and their swing coaches get talked about like the latest, hottest name-melding couples in famous people circles.
Somewhat recently there have been rumblings that Spieth, 27, has sought direction from Butch Harmon on his full swing, which Golf Digest now has confirmed. Apparently, Spieth wanted validation from Harmon that he is on the right path in making changes under longtime coach Cameron McCormick. Another set of eyes, especially Harmon’s, can only help, especially in building confidence.
While the reporting from Digest was good, the extent to which Spieth and Harmon were working together seemed slightly ambiguous — possibly on purpose. But Harmon confirmed that their interaction last fall at the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek was a one-off event and that Spieth is still a pupil of longtime swing coach Cameron McCormick.
“He asked if I could come over and take a look at what he and Cam were working on,” Harmon said on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. “I agreed with most of the stuff they were working on. I thought I was going to have to change his clubface at the top of the swing — you know how open that gets because he has a very weak left-hand grip — but they had worked beautifully on that. … I didn’t think he was turning enough … if you don’t wind stuff up, you can’t unwind it.”
Harmon went on to say that all he did was give an opinion to Spieth, which he said happens with a lot of different professional golfers.
Spieth has been searching for his swing for several years now. After finishing second on the PGA Tour in strokes gained from tee to green in 2017 when he was arguably the best ball-striker in the world, he slipped to 23rd in 2018 and outside the top 150 in 2019. He bounced back to 90th in 2020, but that’s not good enough to contend at the level at which he’s used to contending.
Spieth went on SriusXM PGA Tour Radio recently, and it got pretty nerdy when he discussed the nuances of his swing and what he’s trying to do, but he also addressed the crux of the problem that he has not won since summer 2017.
“So it seems something so simple, but when you hit, you know, however many tens of thousands of golf balls, kind of the wrong way, it takes about that many to get stuff back,” said Spieth. “So it’ll be a work in progress and I’m starting to play a lot now. I didn’t play for, you know, four weeks or so, of starting back up, you know, I played maybe one or two rounds of golf in four weeks. And now I’m starting to get back out on the course, hit shots, and make adjustments from there. So kind of built a nice plan together and kind of did a lot of historical research and almost trying to go a little bit back in time while recognizing that your body changes, and you got to make adjustments for that too.”
The relationship with Harmon was not discussed, but it’s not surprising that Spieth would look for help from one of the best to ever do it after three years of struggle. Maybe it helped, too. Spieth had missed three straight cuts going into the CJ Cup but made three of four after that, including at the Masters. Spieth said he’ll start his year at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines next weekend.