Lewis passes up Irish Open for trip to Vegas to work with teacher Harmon

Tom Lewis
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Tom Lewis sought the help of Butch Harmon after missing four of his last five cuts.
PA Sport

Series: European Tour

Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 | 5:43 p.m.

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland -- Tom Lewis, one of the stars of last summer, had originally intended to be at the Irish Open this week, but instead he has flown to Las Vegas.

This is no trip to have some fun in "Sin City." It is to seek help from Butch Harmon -- someone he had never met and never even spoken to.

Harmon, one of golf's best-known coaches, formerly with Tiger Woods and now with Phil Mickelson amongst others, is the man the 21-year-old Lewis has turned to following an alarming loss of form.

Lewis, of course, made it into the British Open last year by firing 63 and 65 to win a qualifying event and then in the first round shot 65 again to not only share the lead, but also create history with the lowest round ever by an amateur in the championship.

That put him alongside Tom Watson, the five-time champion after whom he was named. And when the youngster turned professional two months later, he had to wait until only his third event before capturing the Portugal Masters -- with another 65.

In the past two months, however, Lewis has missed four cuts out of five. In Germany last week, he crashed out by eight shots, and in the British Open qualifier at Sunningdale, he took nine strokes too many to make it into a playoff.

To make it back into the Open, he will need a top-5 finish at either the French Open or Scottish Open. But first, his flight out west.

"I've got a couple of days with him -- hopefully it will give me some confidence," Lewis said. "It'll be nice to spend some time with him. I like the fact that he helps a lot of different players with a lot of different swings.

"You can tell from my scoring and my putting and my stats that my game is not in the shape it was this time last year," Lewis added. "I'm just going to have to try to battle through it. I think I probably haven't worked hard enough on my game and feel like I really need to get my head down and concentrate on what I can control.

"Everything in my life's been quite easy and I ended up being stuck in the deep end with some very good players," he said. "I think it's a good thing for me to have this stage in my life because it's going to make me realise how hard you need to work."