Number crunching: Luke List's finest season built momentum

Number crunching: Luke List's finest season built momentum

PGA Tour

Number crunching: Luke List's finest season built momentum

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(This is the 10th in a 10-part series examining some of the notable movers up and down in the 2016 Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings.)

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RANKING/MOVEMENT: +337 (No. 420 to 83)

Why the rise? Luke List possessed all the tools a star would need when he stepped out as a professional in 2007. Always a powerful player (he ranked seventh on Tour in driving distance last season, at 306.9 yards), List was an All-America standout at Vanderbilt and finished runner-up to Ryan Moore at the 2004 U.S. Amateur at Winged Foot. But as his top-level peers grew, excelled and tasted early success on the PGA Tour, List hovered mostly in the minors, taking time to find his way.

Finally, he seems to have arrived. List, now 31, made it to the FedEx Cup playoffs last fall, and kept his PGA Tour card by finishing 122nd in the FedEx standings. It was his finest season, and he’s off to a hot start in 2016-17 (five starts, a runner-up showing at Sanderson Farms, three others finishes of T-15 or better).

List works with California instructor Jamie Mulligan, a laid-back Californian who skateboarded to the practice tee at the 2008 U.S. Open and prefers a simpler approach. When he started working with List three years ago, he told List the two needed to start from the ground up. As in, the teacher really didn’t like List’s shoes. Change ‘em.

“He loves to joke with people,” List said. “He’s helped me with everything, with golf, on the course, off the course. He’s been a big key in me believing in myself, knowing that we’ve got this plan, and it’s not just for being a flash in the pan, but it’s for a long career.”

Thus, when List points to his biggest gains in 2015-16, he talks about things that are more cerebral than just getting his swing on a better plane. He got married and is very happy these days with his support system (wife, trainer, coach, etc.). He knows he doesn’t need to beat himself up if he’s not scoring. Stay patient. It will come.

Yes, that patience thing he has down pretty well.

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He said it

“For me, it took a little longer than some guys, but there is no rhyme or reason to that sometimes. Golf is a game you can play into your 60s if you’re healthy. I’m 31. I feel I have a lot of good years in front of me.”

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