Thursday, July 15, 2004

Harmon's tutelage paying off for Scott

Aussie succeeding with Tiger's old coach

By Tim Dahlberg
The Associated Press

TROON, Scotland - Tiger Woods might be having his differences with swing coach Butch Harmon, but Adam Scott isn't.

Scott didn't stop with just getting advice on his swing from Harmon. He also got advice on everything from breathing under pressure to picking a new caddie.

"Butch is pretty good," Scott said. "He reads me pretty well, I think, and he knows when he should butt in and say something."

Scott's swing is almost a replica of the swing Woods built under Harmon. Lately, he'= has been having more success with it than Woods, winning the Player's Championship earlier this year and the Booz Allen Classic last month.

"As long as he still wants to teach me, I think I'll be with him until that point," Scott said. "He's really helped my golf game. He took me from a pretty average college player to the Players champion. He works hard, makes me work hard and wants to get the results that he believes I can get."

Scott isn't averse to taking some advice from a fellow Australian, too. Greg Norman suggested his former caddie, Greg Navarro, go to work for Scott, a combination that paid off when Navarro helped make a crucial club selection on the final hole at the Booz Allen.

Norman also has been giving Scott advice on what type of shots need to be played at the British Open.

"I think he probably has a good feel for the shots that need to be played, and we've just been talking about that this week," Scott said.

PERRY'S STREAK: There was no hotter player than Kenny Perry coming into last year's British Open. He had won three of the previous four tournaments before finishing eighth at Royal St. George's.

He later tied for ninth at the PGA Championship but, since then, hasn't recaptured anything like his 2003 form.

"No, and I don't think I ever will again," he said on the eve of the British Open at Troon.

"That was a purple patch for me. It was a special time in my life, and just everything I did was correct at the time. I putted well, I hit it well. Then I was able to hit the shots when I needed to and was able to win golf tournaments."

A DIFFERENT OPEN: Even before rain soaked the area Tuesday night, officials of the Royal & Ancient weren't all that worried about conditions at Royal Troon getting away from them.

The subject of course conditions is a touchy one this year, after many players complained about the rock-hard greens and dried-out fairways on the final day of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

"We're very pleased with the setup," said Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A. "The rain was not unwelcome, and I think it gives you a chance to now prepare the course as we wish right through to Sunday without any fear of it becoming too fiery."

Dawson said the course will still play fast, even with the rain.

"So we've got a good links course, we still think it's going to be fast running," he said. "The wind is changing direction daily at the moment. And I think players are beginning to realize that seeing the course one day is not seeing it the whole week."

So far, players like what they have seen.

"I would suggest this is certainly one of the fairest courses on the Open roster," Padraig Harrington said. "It's a good golf course to play on, one that everybody can compete on."

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