Tiger Woods’ decision to play the 2022 Masters was a break-the-internet surprise that fans fervently hoped for but couldn’t actually believe until Woods teed off last Thursday.
His 47th-place finish was far from his best, but the fact that he made the cut — and managed to grind around Augusta National for four days — reignited hope that his major chase was still alive.
On this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, Woods’ former swing coach, Butch Harmon, gave his take on Woods’ Masters performance.
“For him to make the cut, I thought was phenomenal,” Butch said. “I didn’t think he’d be able to walk. Seventy-two holes, especially. But he opens with 71, one under par. Are you kidding me? And then on Friday he gets off to a terrible start. Three over after four, and brings it back. It was very impressive.”
Butch noted that Woods has an extremely high pain threshold, but he could tell that he was wiped out over the weekend. Despite his physical condition, Butch and Claude agreed that Woods’ swing looked sound.
“I like that he looked a little bit like in the old days at the top of the swing,” Harmon said. “Got the club set in a beautiful position. Obviously, he’s had what, five back operations? He’s not going to rotate his body as fast as he used to. That’s not possible. He probably couldn’t push off of that right leg as much as he wanted to. But if you watched him, he was still hitting shots. He was hitting high, low, he was hitting cuts, he was hitting draws. Especially the first two rounds. And then I think fatigue took over.”
Butch said he’s still excited to see Woods tee it up at future majors, especially the Open Championship at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
“All you gotta do is say never. The guy will never play again,” Butch said. “And he will surprise you every time. Because if there’s anything humanly possible he can do to try and make it, he does it.”
For more from Butch, including his thoughts on Scottie Scheffler and why Rory McIlroy’s final round at Augusta was so significant, check out the full interview below.