Chris Riley played in the Tour Championship back-to-back years, and followed that in 2004 by making the Ryder Cup team. But he hasn’t been the same since, failing to keep his card for five straight years until he finished 90th on the money list in 2010.
He believes he is getting his game back to where it was, after a tie for ninth at the Sony Open and a missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. His concern, of all things, is his putting.
“I don’t putt like I used to,” Riley said. “I putt scared, like tentatively, instead of letting it go.”
Riley spent the offseason watching old videotape of himself putting, hopeful of finding a key. What he noticed was a lack of fear.
“I didn’t care. I just rolled it to the hole,” he said. “I think the older you get, it’s like, ‘Oh, this putt is big. I don’t want to blow it past the hole.’ Whereas before, I would putt like I did when I was a kid.”
Riley just turned 37, although he still talks like a kid.
“I’ve been out here 13 years. Can you believe that? Am I old? That’s a long time, right?” he said, not waiting for answers. “A couple of years I only played 17 times. But that’s like a full schedule for Tiger, right?”