Jeff Maggert's unfortunate 5-putt and how he recovered
March 13, 2019
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- March 13, 2019
- Jeff Maggert five-putted on 18 in Round 1 and still finished one shot out of playoff. (Getty Images)
Jeff Maggert says he tried to make every putt he took on the 18th hole during the first round of the PGA TOUR Champions Hoag Classic in Newport Beach, California.
All five of them.
It was painful to watch. Maggert came to the 18th sitting at 2 over, and he was looking at a 5-footer for a birdie.
Jeff Maggert recorded this 5-putt during Round 1.— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) March 11, 2019
He battled back in Rounds 2 and 3 with scores of 63 and 65.
Maggert finished the tournament one back of joining a playoff (T3).
Golf is hard. pic.twitter.com/C2quIbqUhd
Maggert has finished among the top 10 in putting average twice in his PGA TOUR Champions career. His worst rank for a full season is 27th.
The first putt had a break of about 6 inches to the right, and Maggert barely missed it right. But it cut across the hole and ran by about 3½ feet.
He then missed to the right of the cup three more times. He crushed his third putt; he might have been farther away for his fourth putt than he was for his first.
“I have four-putted on a number of occasions in 30 years of playing golf,” Maggert said Tuesday. “I think when you think of a five-putt is when a guy starts slapping it around with one hand and doesn’t care. I wasn’t giving up. I was actually trying to make all five of them.
“Luckily it was on the last hole so I didn’t have to play any more holes after that.”
The video has been seen on various social media platforms more than half a million times. It’s enough to give any golfer nightmares, even though the elapsed time from first taking the putter back until holing out is about 45 seconds.
But the end of the story hasn’t garnered as much attention. Maggert got a tip from Golf Channel analyst and former PGA TOUR player Billy Ray Brown on Saturday morning that sparked a dramatic turnaround. He fired the low round of the tournament on Saturday, an 8-under 63, and followed with a 65, tying for the low round on Sunday.
Maggert vaulted from 66th after Friday’s final-hole debacle all the way into a tie for third, one shot out of a playoff with eventual champion Kirk Triplett and Woody Austin. It was his best finish since a solo second at last year’s Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, a span of 16 events.
Yes, it’s true if Maggert had managed to three-putt the 18th on Friday he wins the Hoag and not Triplett. But this isn’t “The Umbrella Academy” and there will be no time-jumping. Without the events of Friday, Maggert says, Brown never offers him the tip on Saturday morning and who knows what becomes of his weekend?
Maggert, 55, said Brown approached him gingerly and asked if he could offer some advice regarding his putting.
“Sometimes just the littlest of things in golf can change your mentality,” Maggert said. “I think a lot of it was that. It was a small mechanical correction and I made a few 3- and 4-footers and the confidence got higher. I also made an eagle from t he fairway and another eagle on a par 5. It all snowballed on Saturday.”
Spill it. What did Brown say?
“He said, ‘I think you have too much forward press in your setup and your taking the loft off the putter,’” Maggert said. when you’re on bumpy poa annua greens you need a little loft to get it up and rolling instead of bumping it into the ground. He said to set my hands up more neutral. It made sense because I felt it, but hearing it from someone else really hit home.”
Maggert took 30 putts on the 14 greens he hit in regulation on Friday. On Saturday he trimmed that number to 22. Only three players came within three shots of Maggert’s 63; one was Triplett, who shot a 65. The 63 matched Maggert’s career low on PGA TOUR Champions.
With two weeks off now before the schedule resumes, Maggert can relax and practice with some confidence instead of stewing over his five-putt, a bad weekend and a poor finish. Next up is the Rapiscan Systems Classic at Fallen Oak in Biloxi, Mississippi, which just so happens to be the site of Maggert’s first Champions Tour victory, in 2014.
“Absolutely the goal is to get another win out here,” said Maggert, who followed up his 2014 victory with four wins in 2015, including two majors. He hasn’t won since. “I’m looking forward to going to Mississippi and continuing to play with confidence.”