PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Lee Janzen on pace for best season
May 15, 2019
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- May 15, 2019
- Janzen has finished inside the top 10 in three straight starts. (Getty Images)
Lee Janzen knows he’s on a roll.
He’s aware that his T6 on Sunday at the Regions Tradition, the first major of 2019 on PGA TOUR Champions, was his third top 10 in a row and fifth in his past seven events.
He is quick to point out that his greens in regulation percentage is very good, and it is, in fact, the best of his Champions career by a John Daly mile.
But there is no magic bullet here. Janzen, 54, hasn’t made any tweaks to his swing. There have been no sweeping equipment changes. He has no secret mantra.
“I’m in the top 10 in greens hit and I don’t know that I ever have been,” Janzen said Tuesday. “I’m just hitting it better than I have been. I haven’t changed my philosophy at all. I’m just trying to do the stuff I’ve always been trying to do.”
Nothing statistically really explains Janzen’s hot start to 2019, which has pushed him to 12th in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, other than his GIR. Here is his greens hit percentage since his first full season on PGA TOUR Champions:
Year Percentage Rank 2015 66.67 39 2016 66.48 42 2017 70.77 33 2018 70.50 39 2019 73.02 6
Even Janzen knows it’s strange.
“I haven’t made any equipment changes, other than the (Callaway) Epic Flash driver,” Janzen said. “I’m not hitting as many fairways according to the statistics (he ranks 50th), but I feel like I’m driving really well with this driver. I’m usually somewhere in the low 20s in driving distance (he’s 22nd at 275.7 yards). The last couple of tournaments I hit really bad drives on the driving distance holes. I lost like 100 yards last week at Regions. I hit a tree on 13 and it went back 70 yards down the fairway. On the other hole I hooked it into the trees and lost about 40 yards.
“If I was hitting more fairways it would be easier to hit greens. I think I’m driving it plenty good enough.”
Usually there is a correlation to hitting fairways and ranking sixth in GIR, but not for Janzen. He doesn’t have a real explanation for the phenomenon
He did notice that he hadn’t hit a lot of greens in 2018. And it got under his skin just a little bit.
“I may have over the offseason looked at greens hit last year and thought, ‘I need to hit more greens,’” Janzen said. “But I didn’t map out a plan. I simply said, ‘I can hit more greens than that and probably should.’”
If only it were that simple. Every player on PGA TOUR Champions has good memories from which to draw. Most have won on the PGA TOUR multiple times. And when things start to fall in place, the confidence and the swing begin to work in concert again. Janzen won eight times on the PGA TOUR, including a pair of U.S. Opens and The PLAYERS Championship.
So here you have a player who’s not hitting it especially straight or putting it especially well (he ranks 32nd) who already has more top 10s than he did in all of 2018 (four). Go figure. If he gets a little hot with the putter – he said he likes how he rolled it in the final round at the Insperity Invitational and it mostly carried over to the Regions – he might pick up his second PGA TOUR Champions victory. His first came in 2015, and he has been seeking to add to the trophy case since.
Another statistical anomaly is his scoring by round. In nine individual events, Janzen has broken 70 in the first round only once. His scoring average on the opening 18 is 72.33. His second-round average is making up for that. It’s a sizzling 68.55.
“I know I’ve had at least four rounds of 6 under or better (in the second round),” Janzen said. “It’s probably a little bit of a reaction (to his first-round score). I didn’t play badly but got a bad score. I need to do something about it and then I did. In Naples (the Chubb Classic), through eight holes I was 3 over and I had missed only one shot. What do you do? Keep trudging along.
“No matter what my score is the idea is to hit the next shot as good as I can. Pick out the proper shot then play it. If I can’t execute it then I’ll go work on my swing. The mental part should be the easy part.”