ATLANTA – New swings, new swing coaches, tend to come with built in warning labels, something to the tune of: “objects are further away then they appear.”
No swing change, or coach change, is seamless, but Nick Watney has made the transition appear relatively smooth given his performance in the playoffs.
Watney, who started working with Sea Island (Ga.) Resort’s Todd Anderson at the PGA Championship, posted his first top-10 finish since May at The Barclays (T-9) and secured his fifth consecutive trip to East Lake for this week’s Tour Championship with his runner-up showing on Monday at the BMW Championship.
“I didn’t want to Band-Aid it,” Anderson said. “Let’s don’t be worried about the playoffs or the next couple of weeks. Let’s see if we can get where he wants to go. But it has been nice to see results this quickly.”
From the outset, Anderson figured Watney could change his on-course fortunes if he improved his short game and he set out a plan that included an adjusted putting stroke and a series of intense drills.
In 2012, Watney had dipped to 106th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained-putting. At the BMW he had improved to first in that category and was 13th in putting at The Barclays.
“Obvioulsy, he is very talented,” said Anderson, who has worked with Watney at the Wyndham Championship, Deutsche Bank and traded video files and text messages the week before the BMW. “I have given him a very clear path of what he has to do, not just his swing but what he needs to do when he practices. He’s a very hard worker and an intense competitor and he responds well to our sessions.”