Number Crunching 2012: Zack Miller
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: -488 (No. 503 to No. 991)
Why the fall? Miller’s confidence hit rock bottom at the Mayakoba Classic in February, where he shot 81-92. It was no fluke either. He shot 75 or higher in 13 of his 32 PGA Tour rounds this season, making four of 12 cuts and two of 14 on the Web.com Tour.
Miller attributed his troubles to his tee shots. He ranked 191st in total driving on the PGA Tour. He said his inability to find fairways put pressure on the rest of his game, especially his putting. He ranked No. 187 in strokes gained putting.
Yet shooting 92 may have been the best thing to happen to him. That’s when he conceded he couldn’t fix his swing on his own and that it wasn’t reliable enough to compete on Tour. He began working with instructor Alex Murray, whose students include Rod Pampling and Gavin Coles. Murray showed Miller video of his swing from college at Stanford and how he had been regressing.
Miller spent a month in mid-August retooling his swing.
“I had never taken that much time off,” Miller said. “I played 30 events my rookie year. I never wanted to miss a tournament. It was unhealthy. Now I’m a believer in time off and being rested.”
Miller was encouraged by a T-11 finish at the Frys.com Open in October. He shot a third-round 66 paired with Ernie Els. Afterward, Els wrapped an arm around Miller’s shoulder and told him that he had the talent necessary for a lengthy career.
“That’s a bit different than hearing it from your pal or your mom,” Miller said.
Miller says: “Can you imagine playing in a PGA Tour event and not knowing how to break 78? I had no control over my golf game. I had completely lost it. I had zero idea where the golf ball was going.
“But instead of getting frustrated and mad and fighting it, I just got sad and depressed. Golf consumed my life. It affected me. I doubted my ability and started thinking about doing something else. Six months later, I’m a different player. The changes to my swing are starting to feel comfortable. It’s been a crazy year. It hasn’t been fun, but now it’s kind of fun again.”