JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Gary Woodland was irritated that he couldn’t do better than a 70 on the North Course at Torrey Pines. It wasn’t much better on the South Course, where a 72 allowed him to make the cut on the number, and a 74 in the third round wasn’t enough for the 54-hole cut.
Then again, he realized it might take time for him to adjust to a new swing.
“I’m changing the whole path of the swing,” Woodland said. “I’d like to be ready for Augusta.”
Woodland already has gone through substantial changes off the course. When he left agent Blake Smith at Hambric Sports, he also wound up losing his swing coach -- Randy Smith, the agent’s father. He left Kapalua at the start of the year and flew to Las Vegas, where he spent six straight days with Butch Harmon.
That he wants to be ready for the Masters would indicate an overhaul. Harmon says that isn’t the case.
“He’s been pretty one-dimensional,” Harmon said Tuesday. “We’re getting him to move the ball around, change his trajectory a little, change the setup and the path of his swing and get more of a variety of shots, which he needs to have. We knew he wasn’t going to be very good last week. Finally, the last nine holes things were starting to click. But it’s going to take a while.”
Harmon said Woodland is hitting the ball an extra 15 yards -- “I know that’s hard to believe,” he said -- to the point where he had to switch the model of his golf ball. Harmon liked the short game but is working on lower the trajectory of his wedges.
“The kid has a chance to be the best player in the world,” Harmon said.
Asked if he knew it would be a big project, Harmon said, “I still don’t think it is.”
“The physical side is easy,” Harmon said. `It’s the mental side, the belief in what he’s doing. He’ll have to work on that. He’s good on the range. He’s good in practice. But he reverts to his old stuff in tournaments because he doesn’t trust it.”
Harmon, who has cut down on his stable of clients over the year, now works with Woodland, Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney and Phil Mickelson. Asked who was the shortest hitter from that group, Harmon said, “Me.”
Ringed with nearly 30,000 seats full of raucous fans, the unique 162-yard, par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale is nicknamed 'the Coliseum.'