PGA: Golf's Least Confident Putters

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2012

PGA: Golf's Least Confident Putters

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    Every golfer knows that in an important match, it's almost always going to come down to making a key putt or two.

    No matter how well you've been hitting the ball off the tee or how softly your approach shots have been landing on the green, you can't score well if you don't feel good when you are standing over your putts.

    Some golfers who have tons of talent and confidence in all other aspects of the game lose their belief in themselves when they are standing over a 10-foot putt that they need in a round of golf.

    On the pro tour, this is likely going to cost the best golfers the chance to win or contend in top tournaments.

    While it's possible to win occasionally when you don't have a strong belief in your putting ability, it makes an already difficult game that much harder to play when confidence is lacking.

    Here's a look at six of the least confident putters—among players who have had some level of success—on the PGA tour.

Sergio Garcia

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    Sergio Garcia is one of the highest profile golfers in the world.

    He has stretches where he is dominant in his ball striking and he can gain momentum with every shot.

    He has won $2.3 million on the PGA Tour this year, and he won the Wyndham Classic in August.

    However, on a year-in, year-out basis, Garcia lacks consistency when it comes to putting. He went through a long slump from 2008 through 2010 and then came out of it to a degree in 2011 when he went to the "claw" putting grip.

    His position on the European Ryder Cup team was not clinched until he won the Wyndham. He clinched that win with five birdies in the last eight holes.

    Garcia ranks 29th in putts per round this year. That's a solid showing, but Garcia's lack of consistency throughout his career as a putter has always been an issue for him.

Ricky Barnes

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    Ricky Barnes has the "it" factor.

    He's got that magnetic type of personality that would make him a PGA star if he had the game to match.

    Barnes has flashed his talent on occasion, but he has rarely played with the consistency that many expect him to have.

    He is an outstanding iron player, and he drives the ball well enough to be successful. However, when it comes to putting, he has not made the big shots.

    Barnes ranks 163rd in putts per round on the tour in 2012. That is a statistic that drains a golfer of potential earnings and confidence.

Robert Garrigus

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    Robert Garrigus is a player who has come into his own during the 2012 season.

    He won more than $2.5 million this year, and he was the low American on the board in the U.S. Open. He made five birdies on the back nine of the final round. That was significant for him.

    Garrigus had six top-10 finishes in 2012 and had an impressive 11 top-25 finishes.

    Those figures could be even better if Garrigus could improve his putting. He has worked on his short game and had some improvement, but he ranked 150th on the tour in putts per round.

Stewart Cink

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    Stewart Cink elevated his golf status dramatically during the 2009 season when he won the British Open.

    Not only was it his first victory in a major tournament, it was his sixth career victory on the PGA Tour.

    The problem for Cink is that he has not won since then.

    His putting stroke regularly causes problems. After the first round of the Masters this year, Cink was happy with his ball striking, and he was in position for an excellent round. However, his putting stroke eluded him when he had birdie opportunities, and he had to settle for a 1-under par 71.

    That's typical of Cink. He ranks 174th in birdies per round and 154th in putts per round this season.

Rocco Mediate

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    Rocco Mediate likes to portray himself as the underdog.

    That's the position he was in during the 2008 U.S. Open when he was engaged with Tiger Woods in a playoff for the championship. While Mediate did not win that major, he battled Woods and did not fold even though he knew that few had given him a chance to hang in with Woods.

    While that performance raised Mediate's profile, he still has issues on the golf course. Mediate has won just over $209,000 this year, and his putting has suffered.

    Mediate ranks 71st in putts per round on the tour. He's going to have to improve in this area if he is ever going to become a solid contender again.

Boo Weekley

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    During the 2007 and '08 golf seasons, Boo Weekley appeared to be one of the rising stars on the PGA tour.

    He won more than $5 million in prize money and won championships in each season. Weekley hasn't won a tournament since then, and he won less than $1.8 million in the next three seasons.

    Weekley has struggled to perform, and he has struggled badly with his putting. He ranks 185th per round, and he has also faltered in birdies per round.

    When you can't get it done in those two categories, you are not going to get the kind of results that are going to allow you to be successful on the tour.