Who climbed and who dropped in 2012? Through Dec. 31, Golfweek.com takes a look at players who made significant moves up or down in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index this year.
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Ranking/movement: -78 (No. 52 to No. 130)
Why the fall? After losing a playoff in San Diego and winning at Phoenix in consecutive weeks in January-February, Stanley did not place in the top 15 in 23 starts the rest of the year. He missed nine cuts in that stretch, including four in a row in May.
“When you’re missing cuts, the game becomes not a whole lot of fun and you start feeling burned out,” he said.
Stanley, who turned 25 in November, is one of the game’s best ballstrikers, ranking 16th and 26th, respectively, his first two PGA Tour seasons. Butthis year, his second on Tour, putting (189th) and chipping (173rd in scrambling) held him back and will be the focus of his offseason. He tried a belly putter for a few weeks in the fall before switching back – for good, he says.
He’s young and didn’t handle the trappings of success as well as he could have, his swing and mental coaches and manager say. They cited new things such as handling expectations, perceived added pressure and increased requests on his time. On top of that, Stanley moved from Hilton Head Island, S.C., to Scottsdale, Ariz., during the season. Hence, the noted range rat got away from the things that made him successful, said Morris Pickens, his sports pschologist on and off for years.
“He got a little complacent with his practice,” Pickens said. “When you haven’t won, you stay hungry all year. When you’ve finished 1-2, you don’t stay hungry all year.”
Stanley says: “It wasn’t too long after (winning Phoenix) that I wasn’t enjoying golf as much. I kind of had a burnout feeling because I was playing too much. I didn’t really have a recharge period, and I needed one.”