AVONDALE, La. – Sometimes, even PGA Tour winners have to remember how to close.
Increasingly frustrated with his Sunday woes – he was ranked next-to-last in final-round scoring average, with no rounds in the 60s since last September – Charley Hoffman pored over the statistics to find out why he was coming up short so often.
One area stood out: His abysmal putting on Sundays. He was ranked 178th.
“I was putting too much pressure on every putt,” he said.
It sure didn’t look that way Sunday at the Texas Open, where he made a series of clutch putts coming down the stretch – none bigger than his 9-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole to edge Patrick Reed by one. It was Hoffman’s third Tour title.
“It was definitely a relief to get that W,” he said, “because I’ll be the first person to tell you, being able to close the door when you’re 39, I think that opportunities are going to be limited. The reality is I’m getting older and the guys coming up are younger, and I’m not going to have as many opportunities as I’ve had in the past. When I get in that position I need to start closing more doors rather than letting them open.”
And now, another door might open later this fall. With his victory, Hoffman jumped to 12th in the latest Ryder Cup standings. He'll find a strong supporter in fellow San Diego resident Phil Mickelson, a frequent practice-round partner in the offseason.
“I don’t have that many more Ryder Cups I’m going to be able to play in,” Hoffman said. “The reality is, if I want to get on one, I’d better get on it now. …
“I’m not going to expect to be a captain’s pick. A rookie at 39 is not going to be a captain’s pick. So I’ve got to play my way onto that team, and I’ve got to play good golf and prove to everybody on that team that I can make play and help the team out.”