This week, Golfweek.com will be looking at the players who made significant moves during the past year in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index.
Ranking/movement: 223 (-203)
Why the fall? Appleby, 38, is 15th in PGA Tour career earnings with almost $24 million. But he was 137th this year. He half-jokingly said his game is OK, but “unfortunately the pencil doesn’t work.” He was referring to scoring. But there’s more to it than that. Refusing to blame an equipment change (from Bridgestone to Callaway), Appleby said he got into poor habits mentally and with his swing.
“I got too critical, too picky,” said Appleby, who can fall back on a one-time top-25 career money exemption for 2010.
He says he improved his downswing and putting later in the season. And they needed it. He ranked low – no better than 142nd – in driving accuracy, greens in regulation, putting, total driving, scoring, total driving and all-around. That translates to only two top-25 finishes in 25 starts.
Appleby said his work with mental coach Gio Valiante taught him to not expect anything, that there are no “shoulds” in golf.
Appleby says: “I was getting so results oriented. I just need to relax and play the game and get into one shot at a time.”
– Jeff Rude
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Dorothy Delasin: Driver yips
Ranking/movement: 430 (-237)
Why the fall? Delasin had a better shot of finding Waldo than a fairway. Left. Right. The 2000 LPGA Rookie of the Year had no idea which way her ball was headed. She tried to incorporate swing changes but said her muscle memory wouldn’t cooperate. Two different swings resulted in 16 missed cuts and $0 in earnings. She scored 80 or over in 11 of her 32 rounds.
For all those miserable results, Delasin seemed amazingly positive at year’s end. She poked fun of herself at LPGA Q-School, where she lost eight balls on Day 1 en route to a 90.
“Maybe I should just aim for the water – then it won’t go in,” she told her brother, Arsenio Jr. Delasin hadn’t been to Q-School in 10 years. Looks as if she will be back.
Delasin, 29, insists that if she played in short-game tournaments, she’d win every week. But she tied for 150th in fairways hit (43.5 percent) and was T-148 in greens hit (50 percent). It’s hard to explain how a former U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior champion can lose her way so severely. Delasin points to instruction.
After four victories in her first four years on tour, Delasin, in an effort to gain consistency, changed swing coaches. Before that, her father, Arsenio, had been her only instructor.
Delasin says: “If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have done it. Maybe I should go back to (my father).”
– Beth Ann Baldry
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Parker McLachlin: Working on a new swing
Ranking/movement: 509 (-385)
Why the fall? He decided to use this year to make a major swing overhaul, because he already was exempt for the 2010 PGA Tour by virtue of his 2008 Reno-Tahoe Open victory.
“I knew there had to be a better way, a more efficient way to swing the golf club,” he said. “And so basically the day after (Reno in 2008) was when I started looking for someone who could build a golf swing for me that would help get me in the top 50 in the world.”
Despite the victory, his first on the PGA Tour, McLachlin was unhappy with how his swing held up in the final round. He started the day with a six-shot lead, but hit only four greens and shot 74.
McLachlin decided to start working with Sean Foley, who also teaches Sean O’Hair, Hunter Mahan and Trevor Immelman.
“To overhaul a golf swing and still have to go out and compete week in and week out, sometimes it makes you a little foolish,” he said at this year’s Reno-Tahoe event.
In 2009, McLachlin ranked outside the top 170 in driving accuracy (173rd) and greens in regulation (182nd). He fell 102 spots in the all-around ranking to No. 176, the same position he finished on the money list. After top 25s in two of his first three starts this season (though one was in the limited-field Mercedes-Benz Championship), McLachlin had only one in his final 22 starts. He missed 15 cuts.
McLachlin says: “It’s been a bit of a struggle this year. But this is the year that’s going to set me up for the next 10 years.”
– Sean Martin