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Brandt Snedeker makes tough call switching from Todd Anderson to Butch Harmon

July 14, 2014

From the July 14 edition of Golf World Monday:

Butch Harmon warned Todd Anderson years ago what it was like working for tour pros. "I took Tiger [Woods] and [Greg] Norman to No. 1, and they both fired me," was the line Anderson remembered as he prepared for the British Open -- down a star player that he recently lost to Harmon.

"It's inevitable," was the perspective Harmon offered after Brandt Snedeker left Anderson and joined his stable. "It happens to all of us. Methods get stale, and it doesn't work."

Recently, it wasn't working for Snedeker. The 2012 FedEx Cup champion was 84th in FedEx Cup points and 28th in Ryder Cup points going into the most crucial segment of the season. So after visiting Harmon in Las Vegas last week, he made the move official.


"It was one of hardest phone calls I've ever had to make in my life," Snedeker said before boarding a flight to Manchester, England. "Todd and [son] Tucker and [wife] Stacy are like family to me, but it's one of those calls I had to make."

Snedeker started working with Anderson after making quadruple bogey on the final hole of second stage of PGA Tour Q school in 2005. Since then Snedeker won two Web. com events, six PGA Tour titles, was rookie of the year in 2007, played on a Ryder Cup and a Presidents Cup team, and has made over $33 million, including the FedEx Cup bonus two years ago.

Anderson was hoping those numbers weren't lost on Snedeker when he visited Harmon prior to the U.S. Open, and again for a follow-up. Just last year, Snedeker fought off injuries to win twice, finish second twice and earn over $5.3 million.

But Snedeker was living in real time, saying every month he waited to call Harmon he was not getting better. "He's a tremendous talent; we know that," Harmon said. "But he was very lost. He took to the fix very well."

Harmon is famous for quick fixes, most famously with Phil Mickelson at the Players in 2007 -- one month after they began working together. "With Butch, he takes guys who are established, tweaks them, and they get better," Anderson said.

That seems to be the case with Snedeker. Two trips to Butch and he feels like a different player. They will work at Royal Liverpool hoping the way Harmon communicated a swing thought will hold up to Open conditions and pressure.

"My wife told me on the way to the airport today that I was like a kid on Christmas," Snedeker said. "It's something new and different."

Not lost in all this is that Nick Watney left Harmon at the PGA Championship last August to work with Anderson. Watney was like a son to Harmon. Feelings were hurt, but it's not like this was payback. Anderson knows that. In addition to Watney and Billy Horschel, he will focus on developing young players like Cory Whitsett.

After nearly losing son Tucker in a '12 car accident, Anderson has a different perspective. "In this day and age, teachers are worried about themselves and their reputation," he said. "The bottom line: It's about players. They employ us. They have every right to un-employ us."

Just like Harmon said they would.