DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Butch Harmon was a busy man Saturday in the CA Championship.
He is working at Doral as a television analyst for Sky Sports, which was kind enough to allow him extra time Saturday to work with a couple of his clients, who just happened to be in the final group.
One of them was Phil Mickelson, one of the most famous names in golf.
The other was Nick Watney.
They go into the final round of the World Golf Championship in a share of the lead.
“All you can do is prepare them to play,” Harmon said. “It’s not about who’s going to win and who’s not going to win. You hope they come down to the last hole tied and one of them holes a putt to win.”
This is not the first time Harmon has had to split time with his stable of golfers.
In the Accenture Match Play Championship final in 2000, he was working with Tiger Woods and Darren Clarke. After they finished the morning round and went out to the range to warm up, Clarke yelled down the range to Harmon, who was working with Woods, “Hey Butchy, I don’t need you. I’m hitting it perfect.”
Clarke went on to win the match.
Two weeks ago, Harmon had to watch clients face each other in consecutive rounds at the Match Play – Stewart Cink beating Mickelson, then Cink defeating Ernie Els.
Harmon said he spent most of the offseason teaching Watney not to have such a strong grip, and Watney was thrilled to see that pay off at Torrey Pines when he hit a high fade into the par-5 18th green, which led to a birdie and his one-shot victory.
“I’m honored to be working with him,” Watney said. “He is, in my opinion, the best in the world.”
Mickelson said he has finished making changes to his swing with Harmon, and now it is a matter of keeping everything in order.
“We have been able to do two things now – take the right side out of play, but also take the left side out of play,” Mickelson said. “That has been the real key.”
Harmon said he devoted 20 minutes to Mickelson and 10 minutes to Watney on the range Saturday.
Mickelson said it was more one-sided in his favor.
“Nick does the 25-minute pre-round warm-up,” Mickelson said. “So he hits all of 11 shots before he goes and plays. He requires about 90 seconds from Butch, and I’ll end up taking the other however many minutes.”
BADDELEY’S BOO-BOO: Aaron Baddeley hit his tee shot toward the water on the right side of the third hole, in the hazard but the ball not quite in the water. He went to move a stone from his stance when he noticed a rules official watching, and he asked if it was OK.
The official told him if the stone moved while taking his stance, that was OK; but Baddeley could not purposely moved it.
Baddeley was in nearly the same spot in the second round, moved a stone out of the way and played toward the green.
When he reached the ninth green, he called for a rules official and told him what had happened on Friday. He should have assessed himself a one-shot penalty, and because Baddeley and already signed for a 69, he was disqualified.
“Disappointing, but I had to do the right thing,” Baddeley said.
He received last-place money of $35,000, which will not count toward the money list.
KIM AND TIGER: One peculiar statistic that is sure to change the longer Anthony Kim plays is that he has never finished ahead of Tiger Woods in a tournament. Kim only joined the tour two years ago, and the CA Championship is the 13th time they have been in the same tournament.
Doral might not be the place to change that trend. Woods shot a 68 on Saturday and was at 7-under 209, putting him three shots ahead of Kim going into the last day.
Kim wasn’t pleased with his round, but he patiently made his way through a long line of fans signing autographs, one earphone in to listen to music, the other out to listen to the fans.
“Anthony, you’re my favorite player,” one of them said to him.
“You might want to find someone else, the way I played today,” Kim replied with a grin.
Kim has not played consecutive PGA Tour events this year, and will take next week off. But his plan is to play Bay Hill and Houston before going to Augusta National for the first time.
IN THE LEAD: Only twice in the nine years of this World Golf Championship has someone come from behind to win. The again, Tiger Woods has won this event six times, and he hardly ever gives up a 54-hole lead.
Hidemichi Tanaka had a one-shot lead over Mike Weir and Mark Calcavecchia at Valderrama in 2000, and Weir rallied to win. And in 2005 at Harding Park in San Francisco, John Daly had a one-shot lead over Colin Montgomerie. Woods rallied to force a playoff with Daly and beat him on the second extra hole.
DIVOTS: Tiger Woods’ return to golf was perfect timing for NBC Sports, which began its PGA Tour coverage at the Accenture Match Play Championship. But it hasn’t worked out all that well. Woods was eliminated on Thursday in Arizona, and when NBC began its weekend coverage at Doral, Woods was on the 14th green. The network got him for an hour. … Azuma Yano was the only player to make bogey on the par-5 opening hole, which played downwind. The average score was 4.101, the same average as two par 4s on the front nine, and easier than the two par 4s on the back nine. … Soren Hansen had the low round of the day, shooting 29 on the back for a 64.