Number Crunching 2012: Branden Grace
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: +292 (No. 360 to No. 68)
Why the rise? Maturity, putting and a new caddie.
Grace had his PGA European Tour card in 2010 and lost it. It was a harsh reality and a wake-up call for Grace.
Grace, 24, played well on the Challenge Tour in 2011, but needed Q-School to regain his European Tour card for 2012.
“I’ve actually been playing really well the last couple years,” Grace said. “I just never had a way to finish it. I’ve always had two good rounds and one bad or two good and two bad and just never really making a move.”
Grace made some changes at Q-School. He reverted to an old putting stroke and added Zach Rasego, the caddie who was on Louis Oosthuizen’s bag when the South African won the Open Championship in 2010.
Something clicked. With renewed confidence, Grace found the winning touch – four times. He won twice in January, at the Joburg Open and Volvo Golf Champions, and then won the Volvo China Open in April and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in October.
Grace says: “(With) putting, I think more in the past I was concentrating on something that looks good instead of feeling good, and I think that was my problem. And then in the last year I just said, ‘That’s it.’I got a new putter (Odyssey Black Series Tour Design No. 1 wide), and I’m just going to stand, try and feel comfy and just go with it, and I haven’t changed since.”
– Alex Miceli