Why strong starts are necessary 

January, 31, 2007
Reader Michael Farrington e-mailed me a few weeks ago to get my thoughts on PGA Tour rookie Michael Putnam. Having just seen him play a little bit at the Sony Open -- though really I watched him on the range more than on the course -- I already knew I liked what I saw, a big kid (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) with an easy, controlled swing that looks like it would stand up well under pressure. "I love Putnam's game," I told him. "That guy can flat play. He may win an event this year."

Turns out Farrington is a good friend and former roommate of Putnam, so I've been keeping a watchful eye on the Pepperdine product ever since. He's shown flashes of potential already this season, with a T-68 at the Sony (he was at even-par through three days before a final-round 75) and a T-16 at this past weekend's Buick Invitational (he got as high as fourth at one point on Sunday, but made three bogeys in his final seven holes).

Jason Sobel | email

ESPN Senior Writer