June 12, 2008, 11:15 AM PST–Torrey Pines–Butch Harmon, who operates the Butch Harmon School of Golf in Las Vegas, needs to clone himself, especially when his "clients" are either paired together (Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson), or tee off within minutes of each other (as Nick Watney did, just after the featured Scott, Phil, Tiger pairing went off). Harmon, with assistance from son Claude, was working the range this morning before the first round of the U.S. Open as three of his players were all pounding golf balls on the range at the same time, just a few feet apart. And then just a few more stalls away was former Harmon golfer Tiger Woods (pictured, hitting in round one), with new instructor Hank Haney keeping a close eye on him. "I've got five players here and they're all playing well, that's a scary thought, huh?" Harmon joked as he walked to the putting green. Harmon had a "break" until the afternoon when Stewart Cink and Ernie Els would be teeing off. Photo courtesy of Courtesy of USGA.ORG
Harmon spent the first part of his morning with Phil Mickelson, standing behind him and watching him swing. Phil warmed up with a club on the ground that helped him align to his target. Mickelson and Harmon also shared some laughs on their walk from the pitching area to the driving range.
Harmon then moved to the left and watched Scott, the former UNLV golfer, hit a few. Harmon says that the right pinky-finger injury that Scott is nursing shouldn't be a factor, but when the two parted, Harmon was sure to shake Scott's left hand when he wished him well.
Harmon then moved to the left again and watched as Watney ended his warm-up routine. He walked with Watney to the chipping area and observed him hit some chips from the rough and hit a few sand shots. Then Harmon was off to the putting green where son Claude, a teacher himself, was waiting and they disappeared in Harmon's golf cart.
Harmon also teaches Las Vegas resident Natalie Gulbis among others. Harmon's School is located at Rio Secco Golf Club in Las Vegas. The public is welcome and schools run throughout the year.
GolfLasVegasNow.com Thursday, June 12 Morning Diary Leading Up to Featured Pairing
6:30 AM–Las Vegas PGA Tour Craig Barlow hits balls on the driving range, dressed in a white shirt and brown slacks. He is hitting it well and nods hello as this writer enters his vision.
6:35–Las Vegas golfer Scott Piercy, who is playing in his first US Open, is hitting balls on the range. Piercy's strategy will be to hit driver all day because the course looks like it is there for the taking.
6:40–Barlow tips his cap as he walks off the driving range, headed to the 10th tee for the 7 AM tee time, the first of the US Open.
6:41–Las Vegas PGA Tour player Dean Wilson is hitting balls on the range.
6:42–Piercy heads to the putting green to roll putts, and says he is ready.
6:59–Barlow is laughing on the 10th tee with his fellow players, Robert Garrigus and Peter Tomasulo
7:00–Peter Tomasulo, from Long Beach, Calif., tees off wearing a shirt with a Nevada State Bank logo. We don't know what the connection is.
7:01 AM–Barlow is off, but hits it way left. He goes on to make bogey and shoot +6 on the front nine.
7:18 AM–Phil and Butch arrive on the range. Some in the crowd yell to Mickelson.
7:22 AM–Claude Harmon stands and watches Scott hit balls.
7:25 AM–Tiger Woods is hitting fairway metals on the range.
7:30–Phil goes to chipping green and Butch goes to Scott.
7:35–Scott, Claude and Butch share a laugh.
7:37–The three part as Claude and Scott leave the range. Scott shakes hands with his left hand with a few people.
7:38–Butch is now working with Nick Watney. Someone from the crowd yells "Go Bull Dogs" to Watney, a Fresno State grad.
7:40–Shingo Katayyama swings a HUGE practice club next to Watney, and also sports a cowboy hat. As the TBS slogan says, "very funny".
7:40–Tiger is still hitting woods on the range. "Stevie" his caddie throws golf balls to him. In the background is a big screen showing past US Opens. At this particular instant Tiger has to hit as 2006 Champion Geoff Ogilvy accepts the trophy. Added inspiration for Tiger?
7:42–Tiger leaves, the crowd cheers him as he walks to the chipping green.
7:43–Watney and Harmon leave to the chipping green.
7:46–Tiger swigs red Tiger Gatorade, earning his paycheck.
7:50–Tiger heads to the putting green. More cheers.
7:55–Amy Mickelson, Phil's wife, and group arrive to the first tee to some cheers. They are escorted through the crowd by a USGA official.
7:59–All is quiet before the 8:06 tee time of Scott, Phil and Tiger
8:01–Phil Mickelson walks through the player's entrance to the first tee to a large roar from the crowd. He is dressed in black.
8:02–Adam Scott walks through the entrance to the first tee to applause. He is dressed in a black-and-white sweater with a diamond pattern.
8:03–The crowd anticipates the final player in this group, and the atmosphere is similar to that of a championship boxing event.
8:03–Here comes Tiger Woods. wearing light blue and looking focused.
8:04–The three shake hands.
8:06–Adam Scott tees off with a good one; Phil hits a good one; Tiger pulls it left.
8:11–Tiger's lie is bad and he hits a wedge back to the fairway
8:13–Tiger hits a shot from about 90 yards over the green. He is in trouble.
8:16–Tiger chips to five feet from the hole. He has that for bogey.
8:18–Tiger makes double bogey on the first hole. Scott and Mickelson make par.
A large crowd follows the grouping, and watches as Woods and Scott both make biride on the par 4, 4th hole that plays along the ocean cliffs. Scott gets to 1-under par while Woods gets back to even. Mickelson plays at even par to this point.
The front nine will end with Woods coming all the way back to one-under par after nine holes. He birdied holes eight and nine. From a double and nearly last place, Woods has climbed into the top 10. Scott finishes the front nine at even par, but then makes a double bogey at 10 to plummet down the leader board. Mickelson goes 3-over par on the front nine but finally makes a birdie on the 10th hole.
PHOTO: Courtesy USGA