- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 10, 2012

KAPALUA, HAWAII (AP) - Gary Woodland left Hawaii for a two-week break but instead of heading to his home in Florida, he made a detour to Las Vegas to work with new swing coach Butch Harmon.

Golfweek magazine reported Woodland will start working with Harmon immediately. This follows an awkward offseason in which Woodland left agent Blake Smith of Hambric Sports Management to sign with Mark Steinberg at Excel Sports Management. Smith is the son of Woodland’s coach, Randy Smith, who thought it best that he and the big hitter part ways.

Woodland told the magazine: “Butch has taken people where I want to go.”

Woodland won his first PGA Tour event last year at Innisbrook, and he teamed with Matt Kuchar in the World Cup to lead the Americans to victory for the first time in 10 years.

Harmon has taken two golfers, Greg Norman and Tiger Woods, to No. 1 in the world. His current list of clients include four-time major champion Phil Mickelson, Nick Watney and Dustin Johnson.

“I like my foursome. Let’s put it that way,” Harmon said.

___

LAY OFF THE ACCELERATOR: Johnny Miller was quick to point out how different he and Nick Faldo were as players, and he said this with some regret. Miller aimed at every flag he saw. Faldo was more of a strategist.

Nick was the ultimate in restricting the temptation, playing a cautious game _ middle of the green, swing easy, basically think his way around in a non-exciting way,” Miller said. “And that lent itself to winning majors.”

Miller won 25 times on the PGA Tour but had only two majors _ the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont (lest anyone forget, he shot 63 in the final round) and the 1976 British Open at Royal Birkdale over a rising teenage star named Seve Ballesteros.

Faldo won six majors, three times each in the Masters and British Open.

“I played just the opposite,” Miller said. “I hit it as hard as I could, fired at every flag stick, and that lends itself to having train wrecks in the majors. If I had to do it over again, I’d have two gas pedals _ one of the majors, one for the regular tournaments. I never figured that out.”

___

HAT FOR SALE: Scott Piercy’s hat looks like a blank billboard, which is about what it is.

Piercy has Titleist on one side of the hat and FootJoy on the other. The front was supposed to be another corporate sponsor but the deal fell through. Piercy, the Reno-Tahoe Open winner, wasn’t going to give it away for free.

Story Continues →