On the Hot Seat: Brad Faxon
No doubt you've heard the saying, "Once is an accident, twice is a pattern." When I spoke with Aaron Baddeley just days after his victory at Harbour Town last month, I pulled a straight rip-off from "SportsCenter," putting Badds on the Hot Seat with a series of probing questions.
Granted, it wasn't an accident exactly, but with our second Hot Seat interview, a pattern is definitely developing. I sat down with Buick Championship defending champion and eight-time PGA Tour winner Brad Faxon Tuesday to get his thoughts on driving distance, Michelle Wie and Rhode Island milk shakes.
Q: You won in Hartford last year. The tournament was in danger of failing to exist after this season, but recently found its way onto the schedule. What was your reaction when you heard this news?
A: I was flabbergasted at the whole scenario. You know, I couldn't believe it went from being a great tournament in the middle of the summer to maybe having a chance to be the end of the year to all of a sudden being back in the middle of the summer again. I'm ecstatic.
Q: Will the PGA Tour's top players buy into the FedEx Cup starting next year?
A: I think there's no choice right now. It's inked in. The biggest question mark is: Will this make them play more?
Q: What's your opinion on that?
A: I think yes.
Q: Would you rather have eight PGA Tour victories or one major title and no other wins?
A: I'd rather have eight PGA Tour victories.
Q: How come?
A: Because I know some guys that have only had one major, and one week a career does not make.
Q: You're known as a great putter. Would you rather be a relatively short hitter off the tee with a great short game or lead the tour in driving distance with an average short game?
A: Great putter. No question.
Q: That said, is distance now more important than accuracy on tour?
A: Without a doubt, it's 100 times more important.
Q: Should golf's governing bodies develop a scaled-back, uniform golf ball?
A: No. There's no way. The ball gets too much blame. There's a lot of other factors. Any gain you see in distance over the next few years is going to be athleticism more than technology.
Q: Which young players on tour have the most talent?
A: What do you call young?
Q: Under 30, so we take Tiger [Woods] out of the mix.
A: [Sergio] Garcia. [Adam] Scott. We're seeing some early signs from [Camilo] Villegas. You're talking about well-rounded players. And I don't know how old this kid from Sweden -- Henrik Stenson -- is, but he's pretty good, too.
Q: Should Michelle Wie receive sponsor's exemptions into PGA Tour events?
Q: Why not?
A: I think it was fine for her to get them at first, but now she needs to earn her spot in there. And you know what, there's no doubt that I think she's going to make a cut, but I still don't know what she's trying to prove. Win a few LPGA events, then come back.
Q: Do you think she'll ever become a full-time tour member?
A: I don't think so.
Q: Who are your favorite playing partners on tour?
A: That's a good question. Jeff Sluman. Freddie Couples. Jay Haas. Jason Gore. And Tiger.
Q: Everyone always asks for a dream foursome. Give me your nightmare foursome.
A: The nightmare foursomes are pro-am partners that don't play a lot, think they know more than you and are slow.
Q: What's your favorite course?
A: Pebble Beach.
Q: Where do you rank on the list of top Rhode Island athletes?
A: Well, there aren't that many. I saw a poll, Sports Illustrated put me in from New Jersey because I lived there for a month, which was stupid. I've probably had a longer professional career than any other athlete, but that doesn't mean anything. I can't jump 28 feet or throw a discus that far. But I'd probably put myself in the top 10.
Q: Above Billy Andrade?
A: Just because I'm older.
Q: Speaking of Rhode Island staples, ever polish off three Awful Awfuls?
A: Once in high school, then went right to the can.
Q: Let's play a little "Take Your Pick." Red Sox or Patriots?
A: Wow. Red Sox.
Q: Providence College or University of Rhode Island?
A: Providence College.
Q: Ernie DiGregorio or Billy Donovan?
A: Ernie D.
Q: Green jacket or Claret Jug?
A: Claret Jug.
Q: Tiger or Jack?
A: Jeez. I have to pick one, huh? Too tough to tell. They're both the best.
Q: Way to go out on a limb.
A: Yeah, I really went out on a limb there.
Jason Sobel is ESPN.com's golf editor. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn3.com