Notebook: Look at stat sheet gives Van Pelt clue as to what to work on

bo van pelt
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Bo Van Pelt is hitting the ball just fine, but he was surprised at what his stats showed in terms of putting.
Associated Press

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Monday, December 19, 2011 | 11:58 a.m.

Just like every year, Bo Van Pelt is looking for areas where he can improve. This year, it was fairly easy to figure out once he looked at some of his statistics.

Van Pelt was No. 172 out of 186 players in avoiding three-putts. He had 65 three-putts in the 92 rounds he played on the PGA Tour.

"My three-putt avoidance is horrible," Van Pelt said. "For how well I played the last two years, it's kind of shocking."

It's even more surprising considering that Van Pelt has risen to No. 27 in the world, which makes him a lock for the majors and at least the first few World Golf Championships.

"When I can avoid it ... in Malaysia, I didn't have one three-putt in four days and I won," Van Pelt said of his victory in the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic this fall. "So obviously, I was able to identify an area I need to improve."

Van Pelt knew he was wasting shots. Still, it was stunning to see the raw numbers.

"When you sit down and look at it, that's pretty pathetic," he said. "To me, it's a practice thing. I end up putting the long putts good, but then I'll three-putt from 20 feet. It's a speed thing. It's an area where I know I can save shots."

YOU LOOK FAMILIAR: Dustin Johnson has hired a new caddie -- his old one.

Johnson has rehired Bobby Brown, who was on his bag for four of his five PGA Tour wins. Brown also was at his side when Johnson shot 82 in the final round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, and when Johnson was given a two-shot penalty in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits for not realizing he was in a bunker.

Johnson fired Brown in the spring and hired Joe LaCava, who then left Johnson in October to work for Tiger Woods.

Johnson, who is recovering from minor knee surgery, says he's expecting a big season next year. Brown says he and Johnson have remained friends and he's happy for another chance.

MARKER MOTIVATION: Tiger Woods has always used a quarter to mark his golf ball on the green, with the coin placed heads up. But it's not just any quarter.

During a video Q&A a few weeks ago with his fans on Facebook and Twitter, Woods revealed that he uses a 1958 quarter to mark his ball. The significance of that year?

"Because I've shot 59, and I've never shot 58," Woods replied. "Each and every day, I use it as an opportunity for me to shoot 58."

The one round of 59 that Woods has mentioned previously came at Isleworth a week before he won the 1997 Masters by 12 shots for his first green jacket.

By the way, Woods said he also has a 1957 quarter at home "in waiting."

DIVOTS: The LPGA Tour has selected Vicki Goetze-Ackerman as player president. Goetze-Ackerman played 18 seasons on the LPGA, and while she never won, she received the William and Mousie Powell Award in 2006, given to a player whose behavior and deeds best exemplifies the spirit, ideals and values of the tour. She also was president of the LPGA player executive committee in 2007. ... AT&T chairman Randall Stephenson has been appointed to the PGA Tour policy board effective in January. ... Of the top 30 players on the PGA Tour money list, Charles Howell III was the only player with at least 30 starts. He finished at No. 25.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Jason Day (No. 8) and Matt Kuchar (No. 10) are the only players among the top 10 in the world ranking who failed to win a tournament this year.

FINAL WORD: "The only reason I'm top points scorer is because I've played all the Solheim Cups, and I'm the only one that's done that. So if I hadn't got the most points, then it would be embarrassing." -- Laura Davies