Henry looks to extend impressive streak
PGA TOUR veteran has finished inside top 125 on money list every year since 2001
August 13, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- J.J. Henry is in the field this week at the Wyndham Championship and is need of a fine finish. (Robert LaBerge/Getty Images)
Sports is full of record streaks -- Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, UCLA’s seven straight NCAA men’s basketball titles, Cal Ripken’s 2,632 consecutive games played are a few that immediately come to mind -- and you could spend all day debating which is the most impressive.
Golf has plenty of its own, too.
In 1945, Byron Nelson won 11 straight tournaments between March and August.
For more than 14 straight years, Tiger Woods finished the season in the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking. During that period he also recorded 52 straight rounds at par or better between 2000 and 2001.
Mark Calcavecchia made nine birdies in a row at Glen Abbey in the second round of the 2009 RBC Canadian Open. He didn’t win, tying for eighth that week. Kevin Streelman did win when he made seven consecutive birdies to close out this year’s Travelers Championship.
This week at Sedgefield Country Club, another streak will be on the line, one with less attention but not unimpressive.
Since 2001, J.J. Henry has finished inside the top 125 on the money list (or FedExCup points list) every year. This season, he enters the Wyndham Championship, the final event before the FedExCup Playoffs, 139th in money (130 in FedExCup standings) and is in danger of missing the Playoffs for the first time. He needs to finish T22 or better this week to get into the Playoffs.
He is one of just eight players on the PGA TOUR to finish in the top 125 on the money list every year since 2001 -- K.J. Choi, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy and Rory Sabbatini are the others.
“It’s been a very strange year for me,” Henry said. “Yeah, it’s been frustrating.”
Mostly because Henry got off to a fast start in the first year of the wrap-around schedule, finishing in the top 25 in three of four starts last fall.
But that also gave the two-time winner on TOUR a false sense of security.
Henry took a couple of months off heading into 2014 and with two sons age 10 and 6 his priorities off the course changed. He wanted to watch his boys play basketball and wasn’t too worried about his position since he was still in the top 60 in FedExCup points at the end of January.
He also knew he tended to play well in the summer.
Then he proceeded to miss seven of eight cuts and get disqualified from another start. He was still in the top 125 when he arrived at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, but outside of it after tying for 70th.
Still, he wasn’t concerned, telling himself he’d figure it out.
But the summer success never came. Despite being one of the best ball-strikers on TOUR -- Henry ranks fifth in greens in regulation -- he wasn’t getting results.
“I feel good about my game; health-wise my body felt good,” he said. “I just wasn’t getting the ball in the hole.”
And even when he was, he wasn’t doing it soon enough. Henry has made nine of his last 10 cuts, but only one of those was a finish in the top 25.
Sporadic putting has had a lot to do with it. Henry is 143rd in strokes gained-putting and a few extra putts over the course of four days can be the difference from a top 10 and finishing 35th.
The good news for the 39-year-old is that he was in a similar position in 2008 and shot a final-round 62 to tie for fourth at the Wyndham Championship. He’s hoping he can draw on that experience this week.
“At some point (the streak) is going to end,” he said. “I try not to look at it, though.
“But it could be a blessing in disguise. It has made me hungry. I still feel like I could make a good run in the Playoffs. I know those courses and just need a shot. Who knows what could happen?”
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