Number Crunching 2013: Luke Guthrie
Over the final two weeks of 2013, we will be breaking down players that rose and fell over the past 12 months. Check out the entire series here.
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Ranking/movement: -108 (No. 54 to No. 162)
Why the fall? If you want to give him an “A” for effort and competitive intentions, so be it. But if he’s being honest, the one-time standout at Illinois will tell you that he’d love a mulligan on his early schedule.
Roaring out of the gate in his first six opportunities, Guthrie had two missed cuts, but four finishes inside the top 30 to toss fuel on his desire to qualify for the Masters. When he finished third at the Honda, his focus was squarely on Augusta, Ga., brushing away that voice in his head.
“I probably should have taken time off,” Guthrie concedes. “But I was chasing that Augusta bid.”
Honda was the first of five consecutive weeks, and though he fared well in Puerto Rico (T-18), Guthrie missed the cut at the Tampa Bay tournament, then in Houston and feels that doubts crept in.
Having failed in his bid to qualify for the Masters, Guthrie never really turned things around. He thinks the heavy early-season schedule hurt. His eighth-place finish in New Orleans was his second and last top 10, but what followed were eight missed cuts in his final 14 tournaments, including seven of the last eight.
As Guthrie pored over the stats, he noted that he had plenty of areas on which to focus his concerns. Guthrie ranked 93rd in driving accuracy, 132nd in greens in regulation, 136th in strokes-gained putting, 75th in scrambling.
But given that the “offseason” was more like a blink of an eye and a few deep breaths, Guthrie told himself not to become overwhelmed, that he needed just to zero in on a purpose.
“I’m really focused on my driving,” he said. “I don’t kill the ball, but I hit it far enough. I hung around 100 in both driving distance and driving accuracy, so I figure I need to get really good at one of them.”
Guthrie says: “I’m focused on my delivery numbers, getting more consistent at the game day-in, day-out. I need to put the ball in the fairway and give myself a chance, because I see myself as someone with a real good short game.”