Butch Harmon reveals the best player he’s seen since Tiger Woods

GOLF Hall of Fame Teacher Butch Harmon has seen a lot of great players over the years, and in many cases, has experienced that greatness first-hand. Greg Norman, Tiger Woods, and Phil Mickelson are just a few to have come out of Butch’s stable. His legendary track-record gives him a unique perspective when it comes to evaluating other players — a topic of conversation between him and his son Claude Harmon III, when the pair sat down for their most recent episode of Claude’s Off Course podcast.

Butch helped Tiger get to his best in 2000, and on today’s PGA Tour, he says there are only two players who come close ability-wise: Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson. And at their best, Butch gives the edge to DJ.

“If he’s on his game, nobody can beat him.” he tells Claude in the video above. “If they’re all on, and Dustin Johnson is 100 percent, they can’t beat him. And that’s not a put down to Rory, because he’s a phenomenal player…but Dustin Johnson, when he’s on, is the closest thing I’ve seen to Tiger Woods.”

Dustin Johnson
At their best, nobody can beat DJ. Getty Images

Why Butch picks DJ over Rory

What’s his reasoning? Aside from his talent, technique and work ethic, Butch says DJ has the kind of Tiger-level confidence in his own game that makes him impossible to beat when he’s on.

“I tell people, because he takes his balls with him in a wheelbarrow to the first tee,” he says. “He’s not afraid of anything. He’s not afraid of any shot. He’s not afraid to try the right shot, even if it’s a difficult shot.”

But of course for as phenomenal a career DJ has had, he’s no Tiger Woods. Why? Because DJ’s peak form comes and goes, Butch says. Which, in essence, was the genius of Tiger Woods.

“The difference is Tiger was ‘on’ for 20 years,” he says.

You can listen to the full episode on Spotify below, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes right here.


Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.