PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Brendon de Jonge came to Florida looking for some help, and he may have found it in Nick Price.
De Jonge, a native Zimbabwean who is staying at countryman Price’s house this week for the Honda Classic, asked the Hall of Fame member for some assistance with his putting. On Tuesday, Price, whose 50 worldwide professional victories include 18 on the PGA Tour, three of which were major championships, worked for more than an hour with de Jonge. They focused on head position, ball position and grip, trying to find the perfect combination.
“You’re not going to go from the outhouse to the penthouse in one stroke,” Price told de Jonge during the tutorial.
De Jonge, 33, a non-winner who is in his seventh season on Tour, has not recorded a top-10 finish on Tour since September, when he tied for ninth at the Deutsche Bank Championship. His 108th ranking in strokes gained-putting this season has been a major obstacle.
Price and de Jonge agree that if de Jonge could start seeing the ball falling into the hole, it would make a big difference for his psyche. That’s exactly what happened in his first round at PGA National’s Champion Course as he shot 4-under 66.
“I made about a 6- or 8-footer, which doesn’t sound like much,” de Jonge said of how he gained momentum early in the round. “But I hit a really nice putt on the third hole and then rolled in a 6‑footer on the fourth hole and then 8‑footer on the fifth hole, and yeah, just get that momentum going.”
Of all the information that Price provided, de Jonge said the key was to keep his head square. By doing that, everything fell into place Thursday.
Will the fix last for the rest of the tournament?
“I felt very comfortable overall,” de Jonge said of his putting stroke. “Just kind of getting up there and hitting it.”