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December 6 2011

10:27 PM

Byrd trying to maintain momentum

Jonathan Byrd is coming off a career year where he won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions -- which he called his "biggest victory on TOUR up to date" -- as well as eclipsed his previous best finishes in the FedExCup and on the money list.

That said, Byrd acknowledges that he probably had more confidence at this juncture last year than he does as he contemplates the new year. Winning a playoff with a walk-off ace in the final event of the 2010 season will do that for a guy.

Byrd "I think last year I really had a mindset of, hey, everything is good," Byrd said. "I finished the year well. Let's not change anything. Let's just try to keep it really simple and just kind of take it into next year. That was my mindset. I feel like I probably had a little bit more confidence than I do now, to be honest, 'cause the last tournament you played in you made putts under pressure, you did those things.
   
"For me, my last tournament (in 2011) was in China. It was a solid week. I finished in 23rd place. But ... I haven't won since the first tournament of the season. There's maybe a little bit more of a question mark in my head of kind of where my game is at at the moment.

“But I’m going to try to learn from last year."

So Byrd doesn't plan any big changes in the weeks leading up to his title defense at Kapalua Jan. 6-9. After all, he won once, bringing his career total to five, lost another in a playoff, finished 27th in the FedExCup and earned more than $2.9 million last year. But Byrd does want to improve on his short game and scrambling, as well as in par-3 performance where he ranked 149th on TOUR. 

"One of the best things I've done with my team and for my game is to meet with a group of four or five guys who are on my team, go through stats, talk to my caddie a lot, because he watched me play the most, try to learn from the season,” Byrd said. “Instead of working on 67 things you feel you need to work on, just look at the top three things you really need to work on to get better, spend most of your time doing that."

Byrd would also like to improve his play in the majors. He missed the cut in all four last year but will have another chance in golf's crown jewels in 2012 thanks to his finish in the FedExCup. Byrd plans to approach the majors "like any other week," but the Masters will be a different story -- his wife is scheduled to deliver their second child by a scheduled C-section on the Friday before he heads to Augusta National.

"That should be a good distraction," Byrd said.

The former Clemson standout said he's content with his 2011 campaign, although "I haven't had a season on TOUR yet where I didn't feel like I didn't leave something on the table," he acknowledged.

"I could win the first six tournaments I think and still feel like I left something on the table at the end of the year. I think that's just kind of human nature you want more, you want more, you always think you can do better."

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