Appleby “frees it up” to best finish of season
Stuart Appleby sent out the following message on his Twitter on the Sunday before the 2010 Verizon Heritage tournament in Harbor Town:
“Time, age, quality, coaching, competition, direction….many more. All of those but still to know how then play like a kid…swing away….Your direction, what you want.Paint the picture of how you want your game to be.To putt with confidence you need to be ok with missing putts…that’s the most important thing. All good putters don’t get wrapped up in missing only excited at the chance to make the next putt“.
Appleby stayed true to those words all week as he “played like a kid” all the way to a t-8 finish at Harbor Town Golf Links, his best of the season so far.
Shooting rounds of 69, 67, 73 and 67, Appleby finished at 8 under par, 5 shots outside the playoff between Jim Furyk and Brian Davis, which Furyk went on to win. The 67′s he shot in the 2nd and 4th rounds were his best scores of the season, one in which he has continued his struggles from last year.
Prior to this week, Appleby’s best finish of the 2010 PGA Tour season was T30 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. This coming on the back of his worst season on the PGA Tour where he lost his playing privileges finishing outside the top 125 on the money list. For a man who is ranked 16th in career earnings on the PGA Tour, this was uncharted territory. In fact, he is using his one-time exemption for being ranked in the top 25 in career earnings to play on Tour this year.
For the likable Aussie’s fans around the world, it has been a frustrating experience watching a player with such beautiful technique struggle this way. However even the best players in the world can sometimes get too caught up in being technically perfect and lose sight of the most important thing in golf: get the ball in the hole in the least amount of shots.
Judging from Appleby’s tweets before this week, he understood the need to go back to having fun playing the game, like he did as a kid. His coach Steve Bann spoke earlier in the week about their preparation for the Verizon Heritage:
“Harbor Town is a course where even if you’re in the fairway, you often have trees in your way and it just forces you to be creative with your shot making. Add to that the fact that these are some of the smallest greens you’ll see on Tour all year, and you’ve got a course where you need all the shots….Stuart and I have been working on our 9 ball drill a lot in practice, i.e draws, fades and straight shots at low, medium and high trajectory. It really brings out your creative side and makes you visualize shots…he’s had lots of fun with that“.
The numbers tell the story: Appleby ranked T8 in Greens in Regulation and T19 in Putts per Greens In Regulation. That translates into lots of birdies and par saves, exactly what you need to do well at Harbor Town.
Appleby’s legion of fans will be hoping this is just the spark he needed to kick off a run of strong play to get back to being a regular contender on the weekends.
Thanks to Pure Golf Blog for this article.