'Arrogant prick': Former coach's backhanded Tiger Woods compliment

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Seen here, Tiger Woods' arrogance is said to be one of his main strengths.
Tiger Woods' former coach says the American's arrogance is one of his key strengths. Pic: Getty

One of Tiger Woods' former coaches has paid the 15-time major winner a massive backhanded compliment, by explaining that a key part of his incredible success comes down to his arrogant nature.

Butch Harmon was Woods' coach from the start of his professional career until 2004 - a period that saw him claim eight major titles.

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As such, the veteran coach knows a thing or two about what makes Woods tick.

On a recent Instagram Live session with his son, Harmon explained the intense competitive edge and self-confidence that the American exuded.

Harmon likened Woods to golf's greatest major champion, Jack Nicklaus, explaining that both men "had a lot of prick" about them.

“You absolutely need a streak of arrogance to be a great champion, to be the best at what you do," Harmon explained.

“And you’ve got to have a lot of pr**k in you. You have to be that kind of guy when you walk between the ropes.

“Tiger’s definitely that way — guys like him just want to cut your heart out.

“They’ll go to dinner later on, or we’ll have a beer afterwards and joke. But when it comes time to play, I’m going to really get you.

“A certain Jack Nicklaus thought that way too, and he had that dose of arrogance you need. But you would never know it by his demeanour.”

Pictured here, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.
Tiger Woods has often been compared to legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus. Pic: Getty

Tiger possesses qualities that can’t be taught

Harmon said that apart from his immense skill, Woods has a certain quality of self-assurance that you simply cannot teach.

“Tiger couldn’t tell you how he was going to win — he just knew he was going to beat you. And you cannot teach that.

“That fight, all the great guys have it. They have that ability to reach inside, and they love the pressure. They thrive on it. They want it.”

The veteran coach says he sees many of those same qualities in two of the games best modern players - Dustin Johnson and four-time major champion Brooks Koepka.

“You and I know DJ as well as anybody. He is so laid back, but when he walks between the ropes he changes.

“And Brooks is the same way. They just want to beat you so bad. It’s what drives them.

Harmon thinks in Koepka's case especially, the 29-year-old has the rare ability to be able to find an extra gear for the biggest tournaments.

“In Brooks’ case, I still don’t think he gets the credit for being as good as he is, even though he’s won four Majors in the last few years.

“But he uses that to his advantage. That’s why he plays with that big chip on his shoulder. You don’t think I’m good? Let me show you how good I am.

“And then people will say, ‘Well, how come can he play so good in Majors and not good in other events?’

“Well, number one he gets up for the Majors. He likes the challenge. He likes to be there. He likes being the man.”

with agencies