HONOLULU – Brad Faxon was lost in his art, working on his putting on Waialae’s small, crowded practice green when Rick George of the PGA Tour approached. Vijay Singh had just pulled out of the Wednesday pro-am with a sore back after nine holes. They needed a replacement and Faxon didn’t hesitate.
Faxon handles this part of the business as well as he handles the putter. Gracefully. One of the best in the area of corporate schmoozing.
With the boyish smile, he shook hands with the group of Japanese amateurs, took a picture with volunteers and off he went.
If the jump to the broadcast booth is just as smooth Faxon figures to have a long run calling golf.
He’s agreed to announce seven events for NBC in a tower, not as a walker – Doral, Bay Hill, the Players, U.S. Open, Deutsche Bank, BMW and the Tour Championship. If he’s qualified he can play in all but the first two. At 48, Faxon is still planning to play 20 tournaments off his top-50 all-time earnings exemption.
“My strength is that I know most of the current players,” he said. “And I understand modern swing methods.”
That’s because he’s tried just about every one. “It’s hurt my golf but it will help with my broadcasting,” he joked.
His peers often scratch their heads when asked to explain how Faxon won a very respectable eight tournaments because he has never been a pure striker. Not even close. What he has been is an all-time roller of the rock with a good head and strong ticker.
So Faxon will no doubt get called upon to analyze plenty of breaks and putting strokes.
And he will challenge Johnny Miller.
“I absolutely will challenge him,” he said. “Tommy Roy, our executive producer, has said to all of the guys that if you don’t agree with Johnny get on him. We want this to be a discussion like you’re sitting on the couch watching with your buddies at home.
“I share the opinion that Johnny says a lot of things that make you kind of wince but it makes the broadcast too, doesn’t it?”
Paul Goydos, who might someday make a good analyst as well, likes the move for Faxon.
“I think he’ll be excellent,” he said. “He’s a very smart guy with a well rounded view of life.”
Interestingly, Faxon’s boyhood pal from Rhode Island, Billy Andrade, begins his broadcast career with Golf Channel next week at the Bob Hope. They’re both bright and amiable. Andrade is more playful, Faxon more analytical with a rich, deep voice.
Both have dabbled before, Faxon at Houston two years ago and last summer at Deutsche Bank.
Faxon claims the most difficult aspect of broadcasting is one he never had to deal with making all those miles of putts over the last 25 years.
“Having someone talk into your ear over you while you’re trying to finish your thought,” he said. “That is the hardest thing for somebody who’s never done it.”