Harry Higgs fighting for his job at Barracuda Championship
4 Min Read
Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin
TRUCKEE, Calif. – Harry Higgs has supporters everywhere he goes.
As he approached the 18th green of Saturday’s third round at the Barracuda Championship, the third-year PGA TOUR pro known by some as “Big Beautiful” was greeted with raucous applause and chants of “Harry Higgs! Harry Higgs!”
“He’s a national treasure, the way he approaches the game,” remarked a pair of fans at Tahoe Mountain Club (Old Greenwood).
Fans have taken to Higgs for his ever-present smile, affability and storytelling acumen, among other endearing qualities.
For a large part of this season, though, Higgs has struggled to be friends with himself. Normally a sound driver of the golf ball, Higgs ranks T167 in total driving this season, and he arrived at the Barracuda Championship at No. 146 on the FedExCup. In his previous 10 starts, his best finish is solo 69th at the Charles Schwab Challenge, and he notes attitude as a central culprit.
“My attitude has been horrible,” Higgs said of recent months. “I’ve been pissing and moaning about little things that go wrong, and then that builds and builds and builds. Been playing on the cut line way too much all year. I view myself as much, much better than that.”
Higgs’ game has seen an uptick this week in the Sierra Nevada. He has accrued 26 points through three rounds of competition in the Modified Stableford scoring format, and he stands T7 into the final round, 11 points behind Chez Reavie.
Higgs has credited improved driving for improved performance. Struggling with a left miss in recent months, he added more loft this week and adjusted the settings to facilitate a fade.
He has kept the ball in play and kept the big numbers at bay. He has yet to record a score worse than bogey this week – critical in a format that deducts 1 point for a bogey but deducts 3 points for a double bogey or worse. He was also bogey-free in Saturday’s third round, alongside three birdies and an eagle.
“It’s something I’ve always been really, really good at, but I haven’t done a really good job of it the last handful of months,” Higgs said of his play off the tee. “I want the ball to start left and want it to fall right. Too many times it was starting left and staying left. But I feel like I got it sorted out, so just continue to aim left and smash driver.
“I’m no expert in it, but every setting, make it fade, fade, fade, fade. I felt like I wasn’t swinging it the way that I wanted to, to make it curve from left to right, so I stopped trying to do it.”
Higgs had an idea of what might improve his on-course results, and it appears that he strategized correctly. In a format where ground can be covered quickly – 5 points for an eagle; 8 points for an albatross – he’ll have a chance at his first TOUR title Sunday.
The SMU alum is acutely aware of the stakes over the final four events of the regular season. If he finishes top-125 on the FedExCup standings, he’ll earn a spot in the Playoffs and be fully exempt for the 2022-23 season. If he finishes between Nos. 126-150, he’ll be assured of conditional TOUR status at minimum next season, with a chance to improve his position via the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. If he finishes outside the top-150, he will need to finish top-25 on the Korn Ferry Tour Finals Points List to regain PGA TOUR membership.
“I do not feel like I should be in this position that I’m in with four weeks left, fighting for my card,” Higgs said. “That’s where we are … Obviously there comes a time when talk is cheap, and you’re now going to have to show it, more so to myself.
“I feel like I'm way better than the position that I'm in, but that's also the beauty of the game. They give me tomorrow and three more cracks to improve and cement my place on this TOUR for next year, and hopefully get in the mix and win one of these so I can take a few weeks off and then it would be lovely to have access to this fantastic TOUR for two more years.
“I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Good attitude and aim left and hopefully it cuts and then we're good to go.”
His supporters will be along for the ride, hoping Higgs soon has a TOUR trophy to treasure.
Kevin Prise is an associate editor for PGATOUR.COM. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.