Butch Harmon has his eye on Ernie Els in Augusta Las Vegas, Nevada (April 8, 2010) UPDATE APRIL 10 –Somebody else tees off at 10:42 PST Thursday, but the man to beat could be Ernie Els, who recently spoke with Las Vegas resident Butch Harmon about his swing alignment. Els has worked somewhat unofficially with Harmon, who operates his school at Las Vegas golf course Rio Secco Golf Club, for a couple years, and already has two PGA Tour wins in 2010. Els was even par through two rounds, and in 21st.By Brian Hurlburt.

"I spoke to Butch Harmon about my alignment because it's out of whack again, and that's the first sign of a left shot," Els said during the week of the Shell Houston Open. "I've been working on that a little bit the last couple days and just like to have it under pressure, you know, because obviously next week you got to do everything right under, you know, biggest pressure you're ever going to find. I would just like to have my game peaking. I'm pretty close." Els originally went to Harmon to get an opinion on ball position. Other pros Harmon works with include Las Vegas resident Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson, and Natalie Gulbis. Harmon has also helped, at times, Fred Couples with his swing. Els was off to an early 3-under par start.

The Las Vegas Golf Region is home to more than 50 Las Vegas golf courses, and more than 30 touring professionals have strong ties to those Las Vegas golf courses. No fewer than five are playing at The Masters in 2010, including Ryan Moore, 2009 runner-up Chad Campbell, Adam Scott (who also used to work with Harmon, and Nick Watney. Rio Secco Golf Club is a Rees Jones-designed Las Vegas golf course, and home to the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge, among other big Las Vegas golf events. Click now to view the official website for Rio Secco where you can make online Las Vegas tee times and reserve Las Vegas golf packages. This course is also home to the beautiful T-Mates, Las Vegas' first female caddies.

Click for Rio Secco and the beautiful T-Mates Harmon was also asked this week to comment about Mickelson's lack of success thus far in 2010. Mickelson ended 2009 on fire with two-straight wins–including the TOUR Championship–but doesn't even have a top five finish in 2010. A New York Post article surmises that the battle with breast cancer of his wife, Amy, has taken a bigger toll on Mickelson than the golfer is showing. ""He's a great champion and great champions don't make excuses," Harmon was quoted as saying. Mickelson said the following, when asked how he and his family have been doing leading up to The Masters. "Day-to-day has been difficult," he told the media during a press conference on Tuesday. "The medicines and so forth have been challenging, and that has made the quality of life not what we (would like) … we are trying to work on that and make it better."

In other Las Vegas golf-related Masters news, Moore, who was a 4-time All-American golfer at UNLV and won the 2004 NCAA Championship, has been known for not taking advantage of endorsements. But this week, according to the Golf.com equipment blog, Moore is playing a set of custom clubs which were made specifically for him by Scratch Golf,. Moore isn't getting paid for playing the clubs, but does have an equity stake in the company. "We’re obviously not in a position to be giving him millions of dollars," said Ari Techner, in an article in the Bloomberg News. "We’re definitely looking at this as a long-term deal and hoping to have Ryan using our clubs for the rest of his career" Moore is playing a set of oversized, cavity back Scratch EZ-1 irons at Augusta, according to Golf.com.



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