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April 20 2011

3:52 PM

Putter still holding Weekley back

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Boo Weekley is first in Total Driving on TOUR in 2011.

It's a refrain heard many times by many people on TOUR: "If only they could putt." But for all the good-ballstriker bad-putter labels out there, none of them have Boo Weekley's stats when it comes to ball-striking. On paper, he's still the best out there, two years after seeing his career threatened by a shoulder injury.

Weekley, without a top-10 since a tie for ninth at The Greenbrier Classic last August, heads to this week's The Heritage leading the TOUR in Total Driving, the combination of Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy. Here's the kicker: He's 16th in distance and 21st in accuracy, putting him well ahead of second-place John Merrick, who is 35th in distance and 23rd in accuracy. Not surprisingly, Weekley is fifth in Greens in Regulation Percentage.

But his putting, as usual, is holding him back, and he's tried everything he can to fix it. He's gone to different putter with a different length, but it hasn't helped much. Weekley has never ranked in the top 100 for putting, and this year, he's missed a large number of his putts inside five feet (8.55 percent). That puts him last on TOUR.

Where is all this leading? Weekley's only two PGA TOUR wins have both come at Harbour Town, which arguably emphasizes ball-striking more than any course on TOUR. Its tiny greens don't leave a lot of 60-footers, so the effects of three-putting are minimized.

That doesn't mean the short game is deemphasized; far from it. Because of the small greens, the wedge game is vital, and that is why great scramblers like Luke Donald and Jim Furyk usually do well here. When Weekley won here in 2007, he did so after chipping in twice from off the green on the back nine in the final round.

If Weekley can get the putter going this week (or any week), watch out.

Here is how Weekley has matched up on TOUR in several categories in 2011:

Total Driving Greens in Regulation Putting Average Putts per round Putting: 3-5 feet
      1st             5th         174th         192nd        195th
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