Add Butch Harmon to the list of optimistic analysts after a week watching Tiger Woods.
Harmon’s opinion carries more weight than most, of course: he coached Woods from age 17, and the duo spent a decade working together, during which time Woods won three U.S. Amateurs plus eight majors.
Now, Harmon writes in a column for Sky Sports, he is “very pleasantly surprised” with Woods’s form at the Hero World Challenge, and declared himself cautiously optimistic going forward.
The most encouraging aspect of Woods’s return, Harmon wrote, was the freedom with which he was swinging.
“He looks to have his speed back,” Harmon wrote. “I was talking to his coach, Chris Como, last week and he said it’s the first time he’s worked with Tiger where he has actually been pain-free.”
It’s a far cry from last February, when Harmon said that Woods “might not be able to play at any kind of level again.” And although Harmon advises tempering high expectations, he wouldn’t rule out Woods returning to a level where he could win Tour events — or even majors.
“The one thing I learned from my 10 years as Tiger’s coach, and since then, is ‘never say never’ when it comes to Tiger Woods.”