Taylor begins to find his way back to Tour
PHOTOS: Honda Classic (Wednesday)
Images from the practice round at the Honda Classic, to be played at PGA National's Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Vaughn Taylor has had his share of ups and downs since a 2004 debut on the PGA Tour.
Up: Two victories, a 2006 Ryder Cup berth and seven consecutive years inside the top 100 on the money list.
Down: Beginning in 2011, no top 10s in 54 starts.
Taylor, who has made less than $1 million in the past two seasons combined, hasn't cracked the top 10 since a T-5 at The Barclays in August 2010.
Taylor's recent struggles led him to Central America last week, where he tied for ninth in the Web.com Tour's season-opening Panama Claro Championship. He returned to the States and shot 5-under 66 Monday at Mayacoo Lakes Country Club to qualify for a spot in the Honda Classic for a second consecutive year.
“It's coming around,” Taylor said as he was preparing for the Honda Classic on Wednesday. “I've just gone back to a lot of stuff that used to work. It feels good. I feel comfortable with things, and I got my old putter back, went back to my old swing coach, and just trying to get back to what worked before.”
The old putter is an aged, center shafted SeeMore, and the old coach was Jack Lumpkin.
Taylor, a two-time Tour winner from Augusta, Ga., who turns 37 on March 9, didn’t like how he was hitting the ball and about three years ago switched to instructor Mark McCann.
The change worked for a while, but eventually the consistency that Taylor exhibited disappeared, and so did his PGA Tour card.
For the past two years, he has returned to Qualifying School. He won a card for the 2011 season but lost it and failed to advance out of Q-School last year.
“I thought it would come back immediately,” said Taylor, talking about the return to his old putter. “But I committed to it and just said I'm going to stick with it. Best I ever putted was with the SeeMore, so I just decided no matter how it was going, I was going to stick with it and just keep playing away.”
Taylor’s play in Panama represented his best result since connecting with Lumpkin in September during the McGladrey Classic in St. Simons Island, Ga. The 66 that Taylor posted Monday reinforces the feeling that his work with Lumpkin is starting to take hold.
“I'm looking to have a good week,” Taylor said. “I think my game is in good shape, so I think that's the most important. So I just need to get out there and go through my routine and the process and hopefully play well.”