Butch Harmon bills himself as the world’s top golf teacher, so it makes sense that he’s a sharp golf handicapper, too.
Next week, Harmon will be in Wisconsin for the U.S. Open. On Monday, he visited the VSiN studio inside the South Point Hotel and Casino to talk about a wide range of topics with “My Guys in the Desert” hosts Ron Flatter and Amal Shah.
Harmon (ButchHarmon.com) lives in Las Vegas, and before hitting a betting window, he offered a few handicapping tips on the U.S. Open, which begins June 15 at Erin Hills, northwest of Milwaukee.
Harmon is a teaching instructor for Dustin Johnson, last year’s U.S. Open winner and this year’s favorite at 4-1 odds. Johnson recently went to Erin Hills, a first-time venue for the tournament, to practice. The 7,700-yard layout will favor the longest drivers, such as Johnson.
“Dustin was there over the weekend,” Harmon said. “I said, ‘How did you like the course?
“He said, ‘It’s long, it’s tough and I love it. It’s made for me.' So I said, that’s good enough for me."
The pressure that comes with contending in majors apparently is no problem for Johnson.
“Dustin is unusual,” Harmon said. “When he goes to the first tee, he’s going to take his balls in a wheelbarrow. He’s not afraid of anything.”
Harmon was not referring to golf balls.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are Harmon’s most accomplished pupils. Mickelson has six runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open. Woods is a 14-time major winner, but his last one came in 2008 at the U.S. Open.
Woods was arrested last week in Florida for driving under the influence. He blamed the arrest on his use of prescription drugs. Woods had a fourth back surgery in April.
“It’s so sad,” Harmon said. “I had somebody ask the other day, ‘Do you think Tiger will ever play again?’
“I said, ‘Look, let’s forget about playing golf.’ I hope Tiger can get some help. I would like to see him get back to having a normal life, and if he can then play golf, that would be a plus. But right now, I would just like to see him get healthy.”
Harmon said he’s not optimistic about Rory McIlroy’s chances of winning the U.S. Open because of health issues. McIlroy is among the favorites.
Looking for a long shot? Harmon is targeting a player who recently picked up his second PGA Tour win.
“I’ll give you a good long shot. Look at the bottom of the list,” Harmon said. “Kevin Kisner won a few weeks ago, and this guy is one of the best ball strikers in golf. I’ve got him circled because I’m going to go put $100 on him myself.”
Harmon left the studio and headed to a South Point betting window. The odds on Kisner were 125-1 on the sheet. Soon, Kisner was down to 75-1.