• "I need to hear new ideas from a different perspective," he said
• Harmon coached Mickelson to two of his five major wins
PHIL MICKELSON | BUTCH HARMON
Phil Mickelson has split with swing coach Butch Harmon after eight-and-a-half years together, saying he ‘needs to hear new ideas from a different perspective’.
The 45-year-old flew to Las Vegas last week to sit down with Harmon – who coached Mickelson to two of his five major wins – before ending their association amicably with the possibility of teaming up again in the future.
“I respect him as a person and as a teacher and as a friend, and just wanted to talk to him in person about it,” Mickelson told Golf Digest. "It’s not something you do over the phone. He’s been good to me long before we ever started working together.
"I wouldn’t rule out working together again" - Phil Mickelson
“He couldn’t be more professional about it. He totally gets it and I wouldn’t rule out working together again.”
Mickelson has been frustrated with his form in the past couple of years and is winless since lifting the Claret Jug at Muirfield in 2013 – a victory Harmon called the ‘pinnacle of his career’ – and earlier this year he dropped to No.22 in the world rankings, his lowest since January 1996.
And Harmon agreed that the time was right for the pair to go their separate ways, but appreciated the manner in which Mickelson informed him of his decision.
“He flew up on his plane last week to sit down and talk,” Harmon told Golf Digest. “We talked for about two hours. I completely agreed that sometimes you need to hear things a different way, get a different perspective on things. He’s been frustrated the last two years. I thought it was a good idea that he would do this. He needs to hear things differently that maybe get him rejuvenated and get him back to what we all know he can be.”
Timeline: Mickelson & Harmon
April 2007: Mickelson leaves swing coach Rick Smith for Harmon after becoming frustrated with his driving accuracy.
May 2007: Comes from one shot back to win the Players Championship and walks off the course arm-in-arm with his new coach.
June 2007: Misses the cut at the US Open – the first time he’d done so in 31 majors since the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie.
September 2007: Wins the Deutsche Bank Championship while playing with Tiger Woods, the first time he’d beaten him while paired together on the last day of a tournament.
November 2007: Wins the HSBC Champions in a play-off against Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher.
May 2008: After winning the Northern Trust Open in February, Mickelson clinches the Crowne Plaza Invitational by one stroke from Tim Clark and Rod Pampling.
February 2009: Successfully defends his Northern Trust Open title for his 35th win on the PGA Tour, surpassing Vijay Singh for second place on the wins list.
November 2009: Two more wins follow, firstly at the WGC-CA Championship in March and then the WGC-HSBC Champions for the second time in three years.
April 2010: Grabs his third Masters title for his fourth major, winning by three strokes from Lee Westwood. For the remainder of the year, he has great chances to reach world No.1 following the scandal surrounding Tiger Woods, but top spot eventually goes to Westwood.
April 2011: Wins the Shell Houston Open to rise to No.3 in the world. Tiger Woods drops to No.7 to signal the first time Mickelson had been ranked above Woods since the week prior to the 1997 Masters.
February 2012: Wins for the 40th time on the PGA Tour at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and follows it up a week later by losing in a play-off to Bill Haas at the Northern Trust Open.
February 2013: Ties his career-low round of 60 en route to winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
July 2013: After narrowly missing out to Justin Rose at the US Open, Mickelson follows up success at the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart by lifting the Claret Jug at Muirfield for his fifth major title.
August 2014: Finishes second at the US PGA Championship for his only top ten of the PGA Tour season, where he also missed the cut at the Masters for the first time since 1997.
April 2015: A week prior to the Masters, Mickelson fell to his lowest world ranking since January 1996, but rose a couple of places after finishing tied second at Augusta with Justin Rose, behind champion Jordan Spieth.
November 2015: After helping USA to Presidents Cup success in South Korea the previous month, Mickelson flies to Las Vegas to end his relationship with Harmon, saying he ‘needs to hear new ideas from a different perspective’.
Phil Mickelson and Butch Harmon split :: Your thoughts
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