Carl Pettersson has won five times on the PGA TOUR with a long putter.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Webb Simpson first picked up a long putter when he was a freshman at Wake Forest. He found it in the pro shop at the Country Club of North Carolina and took to it instantly.
So Simpson has used the long putter for the last nine years. Carl Pettersson's been playing with his for 16.
With the USGA and R&A banning anchored strokes in 2016, though, the two former winners of the Wyndham Championship have been experimenting with short putters -- although Pettersson is the only one to use it in competition.
The Swede tried the short putter all four days at The Open Championship, as well as for a couple of rounds at the John Deere Classic and the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. The five-time PGA TOUR champ was pleased at how the testing went.
"But I'm back to my long and I just wanted to test it really for the ban coming up in a couple years," Pettersson said. "I'm more comfortable with long putters but my testing went well.
"... But since I've been using a long putter for 16 years I want to give it another couple years," he added with a chuckle.
Simpson, on the other hand, has yet to put the short putter in competition. But he has practiced with it a "little bit.
"I got a lot of time coming up that I won't be playing so I'll be working with it a little bit," the former U.S. Open champ said. "I've tried different putters and I like what I'm seeing. I just need some time to kind of grow into it and get used to it."
Simpson says he's already changed his irons, driver and 3-wood this year -- and he's about to switch irons again. So he's not afraid of change and he feels confident he'll be able to get comfortable with the shorter stick.
"Although the putting method is different, it doesn't change a whole lot," Simpson said. "I'm still reading the greens the same way, still trying to make putts the same way.
"I think more than anything, just getting used to what, you know media, the fans and the public say about it. Got so much attention there for awhile it's kind of nice that it's dying down and hopefully come '16 there will be no more issues."
Photo courtesy of RBC Heritage
It's a 45-year-old tradition at the RBC Heritage on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Earlier this week, South Carolina's only PGA TOUR event began with a blast, as defending champ Carl Pettersson drove a ball into the Calibogue Sound in unison with cannon fire.
Can you come up with a catchy headline and/or caption for this photo? Give it a shot in the comments section below. And as always, please keep it clean!
MARANA, Ariz. -- Shane Lowry found it difficult to come down from the high of knocking off top overall seed Rory McIlroy in Thursday's first round. Lots of phone calls, lots of text messages and finding it difficult to sleep.
But once Friday morning arrived, Lowry refocused, eventually knocking off Carl Pettersson 6 and 5 in the second round.
Lowry has now advanced farther than any previous 64th seed has in this tournament. The previous three times that the last seed knocked off the top seed were followed by second-round losses.
"To lose in the second round is not what I want coming here this week," the Irishman said. "I wanted to go on. I feel like I could potentially do very well in this tournament."
He certainly played very well Friday, a bogey-free 5 under through his 13 holes.
Pettersson, who earlier in the day finished the completion of his first-round win over Rickie Fowler, didn't play poorly but couldn't keep up. He parred his first eight holes and found himself 3 down at that point. He dropped the ninth hole with a bogey and suffered another bogey at the 12th. He never won a hole.
SCORECARD STATS: Lowry carded five birdies and no bogeys. Pettersson carded one birdie and two bogeys.
HOLES WON: Lowry won six holes. Pettersson did not win a hole.
NEXT OPPONENT: Lowry plays the Alexander Noren-Graeme McDowell winner in the third round of the Jones bracket.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Carl Pettersson and Rickie Fowler returned to play the 18th hole on Friday with the Swede leading 1 up. Fowler, who had birdied the 17th hole just before darkness set in Thursday to even give himself a chance, made another birdie at No. 18 to square the match and send it to sudden death.
That momentum was short-lived, though. Fowler followed with a bogey on the first extra hole and Pettersson was off to the second round for the second time in four appearances. Pettersson is playing in the Accenture Match Play Championship for the first time since 2007.
Pettersson, who shot 1 under, never trailed in the match. He won the first hole with a birdie, Fowler squared the match with a par at No. 3 and then Pettersson won Nos. 5, 7 and 10 with two pars and a bogey to take a 3-up advantage.
The two opponents only halved on hole on the back nine. Fowler won five -- four with birdies -- and Pettersson three to set the stage for extra holes. Fowler was 2 under through 18 holes.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Two of the 32 first-round matches of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship were halted by darkness on Thursday and will be finished on Friday morning at Dove Mountain.
Carl Pettersson is 1 up on Rickie Fowler through 17 holes. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Francesco Molinari are all square through 15 holes. Both matches will resume at 9:30 a.m. local time (11:30 a.m. ET).
The winner of the Pettersson-Fowler match will play Shane Lowry in the second round of the Jones bracket. Lowry knocked off top overall seed Rory McIlroy 1 up.
The Fernandez-Castano-Molinari winner will face Charles Howell III in the second round of the Player bracket. Howell upset Tiger Woods, the No. 2 overall seed, 2 and 1.
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Carl Pettersson had already won four times on TOUR but the 2012 season, when he added a fifth, was certainly his most consistent. If he can continue to build on that success -- where he had one win, two seconds and one third among his six top-10s -- he'll leave Jesper Parnevik behind as the winningest Swede on TOUR.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Pettersson fell short in his last-ditch bid to earn a Masters invitation, finishing second to Hunter Mahan at the Shell Houston Open. Two weeks later, though, the N.C. State product made sure he'd be at Augusta National in 2013 when he won the RBC Heritage by five strokes over Zach Johnson. Petterson birdied three of his first five holes that Sunday. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Carl is one of the harder workers on TOUR. He received a very tough ruling in the final round of the PGA Championship and still finished third. Pettersson is very good with the long putter, ranking 21st in strokes gained-putting. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: The Swede has been teasing us for years that a season like 2012 was possible, so that he finally consummated on the trend was incredibly fulfilling. As one of the most underrated short-game artists in the game, it stands to reason that he'll back it up in 2013 (assuming he wins at least once, which is an unfair demand). In his 10 years on the PGA TOUR, he's averaged 28.7 starts per with no fewer than 26 in any one season. He's also survived at least 20 cuts in eight of his last nine. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
SOCIAL MEDIA: Find him on Twitter
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||1st||RBC Heritage|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 20
Rounds played: 92
Top-10 finishes: 6
Money List rank: 13th
Driving distance: 35th
Driving accuracy: 148th
Greens in regulation: 128th
Strokes gained-putting: 21st
Scoring average: 19th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Carl Pettersson in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
For those in the top 5 of the FedExCup standings heading into this week’s TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, the formula is simple: Win, and you win the FedExCup, too. Everyone else, meanwhile, needs help.
With that in mind, here’s a look at five players who I think could come from outside the top 5 and win the FedExCup:
Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6): There are a couple of reasons to like Oosthuizen’s chances. First, he doesn’t need a lot of help to win the FedExCup by virtue of being No. 6 in the standings. With an extra week off he should also be fully recovered from a minor pectoral injury he played through at the BMW Championship. Oosthuizen plays big in big spots (see his 2010 British Open victory, this year’s Masters, the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational) and has been in a groove in the Playoffs with a couple of top-5 finishes, including a runner-up in Boston.
Dustin Johnson (No. 7): Three Playoffs tournaments, three finishes in the top 6. You could argue that no one outside of Rory McIlroy has been as consistent as Johnson in the postseason. If there’s a concern, it’s that Johnson has never fared particularly well at East Lake, failing to finish in the top 20 in three trips. I think this year will be different, though. Johnson’s length is of course a huge asset, but his iron play has been very good in his last three starts with Johnson ranking in the top 10 in greens hit.
Jason Dufner (No. 10): The Duf has cooled a bit since a midseason run that included two wins and two other top-5 finishes in five starts, but a return to Atlanta should spark the 35-year-old. Dufner has a history of playing well in the South -- one of his two victories this year came in New Orleans, and he lost a playoff at the 2011 PGA Championship at nearby Atlanta Athletic Club. He doesn’t have a great track record at East Lake, having tied for 13th last year and 19th in 2009 in his only two appearances, but he loves Bermudagrass, is one of the best drivers of the ball on TOUR and is one of its best ball-strikers. He’s also having the best putting year of his career.
Bubba Watson (No. 11): Another player who doesn’t have a great record in this event, Watson makes up for that by the fact that he’s having a career year. He won another pretty significant tournament in the state of Georgia in April and has five other top 10s, including a pair of runner-up finishes, to go with his Green Jacket. Watson has been good -- not great -- in the Playoffs so far with three finishes in the top 12. As far as Watson hits it -- he leads the TOUR in driving distance -- he’s also third in greens in regulation. If he can straighten out his putter, Watson should be a factor at East Lake.
Carl Pettersson (No. 17): The length at East Lake, which he is playing for the first time, shouldn’t affect Pettersson, who ranks in the top 40 on TOUR in driving distance. Like Dufner, he, too, is a guy who tends to play well this side of the Mason-Dixon Line (see: his win at Hilton Head and tie for third at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island). It’s also been a big year for those who wield a long putter. It’s certainly a longshot at 17th in the standings but as we saw with Bill Haas, who was 25th going into East Lake, it’s certainly a possibility.
The top 30 in FedExCup points are headed to East Lake for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Here’s a look at Carl Pettersson, one of the 30 players who will contend for the FedExCup title.
SCENARIOS TO WIN FEDEXCUP: For Pettersson to win
the FedExCup, he MUST win the TOUR Championship and have the
following scenarios fall into place:
> Rory McIlroy (No. 1) finishes in a 3-way tie for 10th or worse
> Tiger Woods (No. 2) finishes in a 3-way tie for 4th or worse
> Nick Watney (No. 3) finishes in a 3-way tie for 3rd or worse
> Phil Mickelson (No. 4) finishes 3rd or worse
> Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) finishes T-2 or worse
> *Tie for the FedExCup
Click here for scenarios of every player
SEASON IN REVIEW: The Swede, who became an American citizen in January, finished third or better four times in 2012 and had a total of six top-10s. He won the RBC Heritage two weeks after finishing second at the Shell Houston Open. He also tied for third at the PGA Championship, where he held at least a share of the lead after the first two rounds, and opened with a 62 the following week on the way to a tie for fourth at the Wyndham Championship. -- Helen Ross
PATH TO TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP: Here’s a look at
Pettersson’s results in the first three events of the 2012
Click here for Playoffs Tracker of every player.
|FEC ranking after event||
PREVIOUS FEDEXCUP FINISHES: Here is how Pettersson has finished in previous Playoffs appearances:
EAST LAKE HISTORY: Pettersson has reached the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola just twice, finishing 21st in 2008 and 16th in 2006. He finished at 7 over both times.
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Fred Albers, on-course
correspondent for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, provides a quick look at
How can you not like Carl and respect his game? He told me this year, "everyone sees a fat guy and automatically assume he's lazy. I'm a very hard worker when it comes to my golf game." His ball turns over beautifully on the greens coming off his long putter.
PLAYER PAGE: Click here for more on Carl Pettersson
Now it’s your turn. How do you think Pettersson will fare at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola?
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Carl Pettersson played early on Thursday, grabbed the lead at the Wyndham Championship with a 62 and then drove home to Raleigh. He'll do the same on Friday night, too.
But the 68 Pettersson shot in the second round didn't put the Swede in quite the same frame of mind as he was on Thursday when he came within a shot of tying the course record he posted in his 2008 victory.
"I'm going to drive back tonight home and get some rest and see if I can find my swing on the way back," Pettersson said.
He struggled early Friday, three-putting from 54 feet at the sixth hole and finding the creek that runs along the eighth fairway on the way to another bogey. Pettersson bounced back quickly, though, making a 25-footer for birdie at No. 9 and holing a chip from 40 feet at the next hole for another.
A 6-foot eagle putt at the 15th hole completed the scoring, moving Pettersson into a tie for third at 10 under, two strokes behind Jimmy Walker's lead.
"I struggled early on," Pettersson said. "Didn't have much today but I thought it was a good comeback shooting 4 under from nine onwards and 2-under par was okay today with the game that I had and hopefully I can hit the ball better on the weekend and have a chance."
Pettersson also was playing with his back-up driver after cracking his gamer on his 17th hole Thursday. His first drive on Friday found the rough but he went on to hit 10 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens in regulation.
"Overall, it was pretty good," Pettersson said. "There was some uncertainty for sure but, overall, I hit the driver pretty good. ... I'll keep it in the bag for the weekend."
Pettersson has a good track record at Sedgefield with that win and solo fourth last year in four appearances since the course. He also finished fifth in 2007 at Forest Oaks so the five-time PGA TOUR champ certainly has a comfort zone in Greensboro, where he went to high school, and the state where he now makes his home.
"I got to keep playing aggressive, put the ball in play and then try to make some birdies and have a low weekend," Pettersson said. "It's nice to be up there with a chance to win."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- When Carl Pettersson came in for his pre-tournament interview on Wednesday, he said he thought Sedgefield would play harder after the switch from Bent to Bermudagrass on the greens.
"Lot of these slopes in the greens with the speed of the greens are a major factor now," Pettersson had said that day. "So it's very difficult to two-putt from long range and little harder to get close on the second shots."
Not that Pettersson seemed to have a problem on a windless Thursday morning as he fired an 8-under 62 that was one shot off the course record he set during his 2008 victory. He didn't make a bogey and surged to the top of the leaderboard with a string of four straight birdies on the back nine.
"If you put the ball in the fairway you can still score,"
Pettersson said. "It's probably easier to make putts now because
the greens are pure.
"But if you're missing the fairways you're going to have a tougher time making par and I got fortunate today, I missed a few fairways but I had a decent lie in the rough and was able to get it on the green. ... If you're playing well you can definitely score around here, sure."
Pettersson got momentum early with birdies on two of his first three holes, rolling in putts of 6 and 17 feet. He turned in 31 and reeled off four straight pars before two-putting the par-5 fifth from 15 feet to start the birdie barrage. Putts of 7, 2 and 11 feet followed.
"I started off the round good with two birdies in the first
three holes and got me kind of straight back into the score mode
from last week," said Pettersson, who tied for third at the PGA. "I
wasn't sure, sometimes after a great week you sometimes feel a
little bit flat the next week but I think it helped getting off to
such a good start and I played solid.
"I hit it pretty good off the tee and hit my irons good and putted really well. It was a great day for me."
Pettersson, who went to high school in Greensboro but plans to commute from his Raleigh home the next three days, said Sedgefield suits his eye. He’s only had one round over par in his last five, four of which came at a major championship, so he knows he’s playing well.
"I think this game is very streaky," Pettersson said. "We get on
a good run you got to keep going and seems like when you're playing
well you never think you're going to play bad. When you're playing
bad you never think you're going to play well.
"For sure, I think it is a very streaky game. Once you get on a streak you got to take advantage of it and, you know, put the pedal down and go for it."