Every shuns criticism, cards course record in TexasApril 19, 2012
Tim Price, Special to PGATOUR.COM
SAN ANTONIO -- Matt Every knows that he shouldn't be confused with Bubba Watson. But if Every becomes known as a player who, like his fellow Floridian, doesn't seek advice and constant coaching for his unique golf swing, that's great with him.
"That just helps me out a ton," Every said after his course-record 63 at the par-72 TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course on Thursday. "Because I'm not that kind of person. I'm kind of a whatever, however it comes, it comes, kind of person. I'm not a robot."
Every, whose game skidded when he heard criticism of his swing at the Sony Open in Hawaii early this season, let his more relaxed attitude -- and putting -- take him to the first-round lead of the Valero Texas Open. He had nine birdies and no bogeys in breezy conditions in the hills on the north edge of San Antonio. He missed five greens, but his 23 putts made up for that.
Every's 63 did more than eclipse the course-record 64 shot by Ryan Palmer and Scott Piercy the first year the event was conducted at the Greg Norman-designed TPC in 2010. It was highly unbecoming from a place regarded as one of the toughest layouts on the PGA TOUR. Among the 78 players who teed it up during the morning portion of the first round, only 18 other scores were under par.
Every, the 28-year-old University of Florida-ex who played his way onto the TOUR with an 18th-place on the Nationwide Tour money list last year, birdied his opening three holes. He broke into the lead when he turned at 5-under, fresh from running in a 17-foot birdie from just off the green at the par-5 18th.
No one would know he would be the first-round leader by looking at Every on the practice range on Wednesday. He hit 15 balls, then walked off and headed over to the putting green. He wasn't really irked, but he just felt like he wasn't getting anywhere by beating balls.
He said it was confirmation of his new approach to the game. He had an amicable parting with his swing instructor prior to the RBC Heritage last week and is winging it on his own.
"Lately, I've been trying to do as little as possible with everything involved in golf," Every said. "Like, if I'm hitting it bad on the range, I'll just quit hitting balls and go home. And it's been working."
"It has," he added. "It's almost like I'm playing better golf because instead of thinking about the swing, I'm thinking about the shot. How to execute the shot. I've been trying to go by that. And it's been working out."
Yes, better than the final round at Sony. He had a share of the 54-hole lead after 66-64-68 at Waialae. He went 4-over through six holes there on Sunday and needed three birdies the rest of the way to salvage a tie for sixth. He has made five of 10 cuts before coming to San Antonio and has a best finish of tie for third behind the marathon playoff of John Huh and Robert Allenby at Mayakoba.
But there was no escaping the camera in Hawaii, especially when Every's unorthodox footwork was caught on his tee shots. He heard about it first hand when he returned to his hotel room and watched the replay of the telecast.
He admitted it got to him, and he'd bicker in his mind with the viewpoints coming from the TV booth. It got to the point he wanted to tell the commentators to "shut up."
"It gets in your head," he said. "But I just don't care anymore if my feet come off the ground or if my toes come off the ground. It doesn't matter to me. That's the way I swing, that's the way I play golf.
"If it happens, it happens. I don't even know if it happens. I don't look at my swing on video. That's just the way it is. Sorry."
There was no apology needed Thursday. But it did get touchy on his 11th hole, the par-5 No. 2 with the tees set at 589 yards during the first round. He was between clubs, a pitching wedge and a gap wedge, from about 112 yards. He tried to massage a cut to the front pin location, but double-crossed through the ball, yanking it left about 45 feet.
That was hard to brush off. He dropped his club in disgust and started thinking about a two-putt par from almost 45 feet. Looking at a left-to-righter with about four feet worth of break, he sank it and just walked to the next tee.
Wife Danielle, seven months pregnant, is glad she ignored the suggestion from Matt that she should head back to the hotel for the back nine. This will be the last tournament she will travel to before delivery of their first, a son to be named Liam Steele Every.
Her knowledge of the game is limited. Surprise: that doesn't bother Every, to not hear another critical voice of his swing.
"She has no clue about golf," he said. "It's awesome."
And so was Thursday.