Date: September 11, 2012
Author: Luke Elvy / Golf Australia

Luke Elvy blog: the year’s report cards

The final 30 for the Tour Championship have been decided and while it s great to have Adam Scott and John Senden headed to East Lake, 2012 will be considered a disappointing season for Australia s best tour pros with the exception of Marc Leishman. Kudos to the young Victorian for his breakthrough victory as any PGA Tour win is worth celebrating. And to shoot 62 in the final round to get your first, well that s enough to make it a success. For the others it was largely frustrating, as most times they had opportunities to win or even just contend, they couldn’t get it done. As the FedEx Cup takes a week s break before reaching its crescendo, it s a good opportunity to look back at the 9 Aussies who made the playoffs and hand out report cards. Adam Scott (A-) Once again the gifted Queenslander gets our top Aussie honours. Had he closed out The Open Championship at Lytham, he would ve single-handedly made this year one of our best – that s how fine the margins are in professional golf. But the Claret Jug slipping through his fingers wasn t the only disappointment. Scott will rue wasting many opportunities as one poor round at WGC Cadillac, PLAYERS Championship, US Open, AT&T National & Open Championship cost him his 9th Tour title. While he’s put together five top 10 s, won $2.7m and moved up to 5th in the world, if he could get his broomstick to work again, he’s every chance of winning in his second Tour Championship next week. John Senden (A-) Is there anyone more consistent than Big Sendo? But while he’s a top 25 machine, he rarely gets in contention and even he’s frustrated by that and admits he needs to show more on-course mongrel. No more Mr Nice Guy! His goal this year was to add to his lone PGA title and he almost did that at the John Deere Classic the same event he won in 2006 however, too often he gets stuck in 3rd gear while the great players go to 4th and 5th when the tournaments on the line. Sure you can point to his short game stats as the reason why but I ve seen him put on short game clinics many times, he just needs to do it when it counts. Trust me he’s working overtime and that next win won t be too far away. Greg Chalmers (B) In the end Chalmers fell just 5 spots shy of his first Tour Championship and one of his best seasons in 10 years on Tour should be reason to celebrate, but what could have been? Filled with confidence after his successive wins in Australia, the lefty was well placed to have big finishes at the Waste Management Open, The Honda Classic and The Barclays but couldn’t close. Getting tight under pressure is something all golfers go through but at 39, he’s getting over not finishing off promising starts in the States. His final round stroke average was 71.84 (127th) but ironically he pulled out a 66 in the final round at BMW Championship when all had seemed lost. Sadly it was too little, too late. He does deserve a big tick for leading the driving stats at Bethpage Black, his work with Col Swatton is paying off and hopefully it yields more strong results in the Fall Series and perhaps that elusive win. If not, inside the world s top 50 at year s end would be a fantastic consolation prize. Marc Leishman (A) See above but further to that, if Leishman is to build a strong PGA Tour career which started off with Rookie of the Year honours in 2009, he needs to be more consistent. It’s the one thing, which is holding him back from being a star because he’s got many great attributes. Now that he has four full seasons under his belt and his maiden win, the next box he needs to tick is consistency. Not just consistently good but consistently great, he’s got the talent, its time the 29 year-old Victoria went to the next level. Greater belief in his ability will help him do that. Geoff Ogilvy (B-) I asked those who know Geoff best if head lost the desire to compete at the top level? With a beautiful family, homes in San Diego and Melbourne, 7 wins including a major and 3 WGC s plus over $25million in career earnings, I thought head gotten to the point where he might have thought what else do I need to achieve? Especially after qualifying for last years Presidents Cup in his backyard. But I was told: definitely not! In fact, his desire to get back to being a genuine contender is a strong as ever. The results just haven t matched the work he’s put in particularly around the practice green. The main issue was his putter. What was once a strength became a weakness but late in the FedEx Cup he started to overcome those issues and his confidence grew. 9th at the Open and 11th at the PGA proves he can win again particularly when the conditions are tough. Fingers crossed it happens sooner rather than later. Aaron Baddeley (C) I was surprised by Baddeley s season. I thought head build on a strong 2011 but unfortunately his momentum stalled and he struggled to get it back. He had a couple of outside opportunities to win at Riviera and Muirfield Village but his 4th at Pebble Beach was his best finish. It happens to good players so it s not cause for great concern. Greens-in-regulation is his big issue. Hitting 58.33% (182nd) of greens is not good enough for a world top 50 player, no matter how well he putts. The big positive for he and wife Richelle is they will add a baby boy to two daughters in early December and while it means we ll miss seeing him in Australia later this year, the new arrival might provide some inspiration to his 2013 campaign. Jason Day (C-) Injuries to his left hip and then his ankle affected the first half of his year then came the birth of his first child so you could excuse Day s disrupted season. Most disappointing were the events where we d thought he was our go to guy the Majors this year he was a flop. WD, MC, DNP & MC were his results in the big 4, a far cry from consecutive runner-ups in 2011. However, now that baby Dash has arrived and now settled into life so has Jason s motivation to work hard on getting back to being a world top 10 player. The Fall Series could yield serious results, even a win but if he doesn’t I won t be surprised if one comes early next year. Rod Pampling (C+) I saw a lot of Pamp s golf this year from the Florida Swing right through to the US Open and most times I saw a seasoned pro grinding to make the cut. On most occasions he got the job done including at Olympic Club, which shows guts but unfortunately he didn t make the most of his weekend work. He has the game and a career resume most would be proud of but I know he wants more, in his situation it might be a case of wanting it less because frustration grows but that s an only an educated guess. Robert Allenby (D-) Outside of losing that 8-hole playoff to Rookie John Huh at Mayakoba after holding a 2 shot lead on the 72nd hole, 2012 was a virtual write-off for one of our best players of the past 10 years. I ve said it plenty of times before and I ll say it again, his game will continue to suffer until he deals with his personal problems. His attitude is way off at the moment and golf is a game, which exposes even the slightest issue and he’s got more than you d wish on your worst enemy. What s worse for the Victorian, he’s now dropped out of the top 100 in the world which means he ll struggle to get stars in majors, WGC s & Invitational s and that ll make life even harder for him going forward. Maybe a break from the game might be the answer Medalists: The Olympics are just over and if I was to hand out medals for our best performing Aussies, Adam Scott (Gold), John Senden (Silver) and European Tour player Marcus Fraser (Bronze). Fraser has put up a solid year in Europe and while he hasn t won he’s been consistent to say the least and deserves plenty of recognition. Two 2nds, a 3rd, 4th & 6th has him 19th in the Race to Dubai standings. If he can snaffle a win or another podium result, he will likely share in the riches on offer for the Final 15, which divvy up the bonus cash in Europe s season long race. It would be a fitting way to end what could be his last year on the European Tour as he sets his sights on making the PGA Tour at Q-School in late November and I m not alone in hoping he achieves his goal, such is his popularity. Luke Elvy recently returned from the United States covering the PGA Tour. He will host the Australian PGA Championship coverage for ONE HD in December and writes exclusively for Golf Australia. His views do not necessarily represent those of Golf Australia. Follow him on Twitter – @elvisgolf