June 28 2011
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- Last year at the Greenbrier, Gary Woodland and Brad Faxon made for interesting practice partners. Woodland of course hits it as long as anybody in the game, while Faxon has long been considered one of the great putters of all time.
“He came up to me on the 15th hole and said, ‘Do you always hit it like this? Why haven’t you won?’,” Woodland said Tuesday at the AT&T National.
The two have practiced together ever since and over Christmas Woodland went down to Florida to work on his short game with Faxon, who is a longtime friend of Woodland’s coach Randy Smith.
It wasn’t long before Woodland got that win with his victory at this year’s Transitions Championship. Woodland was fifth in the field in putting that week.
Faxon didn’t do much with Woodland’s stroke -- it was more his mental approach that he focused on -- but he clearly had an impact. The two play together whenever possible and last week teamed at the CVS Caremark Charity Classic in Rhode Island before spending Monday at nearby Pine Valley.
“There's nobody as good as he is at putting,” said Woodland, who has five top-10s in his rookie season. “It’s just phenomenal to see. His mental approach to it is second to none. I think that's really where he's helped me out.”
Faxon, meanwhile, was happy to oblige.
“One of problems with golf instructors sometimes is they don’t ask players what they feel like or what they like to feel like when they play well,” Faxon said. “I’m big believer in that guys out here have to be pretty good to be out here. He didn’t get out here just because he could hit it a long way. Sometimes just having a conversation helps them get that feel back or that thought back.
“I’m not a guy who has a method; I’m more about the complete picture. There are certain things I like to see in a guy’s stroke, and he has a lot of those things.”