Golf Tidbits: Pettersen is a model of consistency

10:31 AM, Apr 23, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If you are looking for a consistently good golfer, it's hard to overlook Suzann Pettersen.

The Norwegian claimed her 11th LPGA Tour title last Saturday and moved back to No. 5 in the world rankings thanks to the victory.

Pettersen has been so consistent over the years that the win only helped her move up one spot in the rankings.

There is a reason she barely moved. She has been ranked in the top 10 for 306 consecutive weeks. If she remains there until the middle of June, and there's no reason that she won't stay there, Pettersen will have been in the top 10 for six straight years.

If you do the math, it is pretty simple to understand why. Pettersen has averaged two wins and 10 top-10 finishes each year since 2007. On the other end of the spectrum, she averaged a single missed cut in those six years.

Pettersen's run in the top 10 started in 2007, when she reeled off her first five victories on the LPGA Tour. Since then, she also has tallied 15 runner-up finishes.

Seventeen of her 18 LPGA Tour or Ladies European Tour victories have come since 2007. In that time, the 2010 season was the only year in which she went winless.

Pettersen's lone major championship win was in 2007 at the LPGA Championship. In the last six years, she has five second-place finishes and a pair of third- place finishes as well.

For her career, Pettersen has started in 40 majors, including a current streak of 29 in a row, and has rung up 24 top-25 finishes.

The 32-year-old has been equally as consistent in her money list ranking, where she has been in the top 10 each year since 2007.

Pettersen has recently returned to an old habit that would infuriate most golfers. She is putting with her eyes closed.

After her win in Hawaii, she explained, "I have a lot better feel. I don't really try to steer the putt. I kind of visualize everything in my head. I visualize the line that I've read the ball and the speed. I've read it, and that's it. I'm just letting it happen."

She's so good, she doesn't even look when she putts. That's a little like Michael Jordan shooting free throws with his eyes closed.

Really though, if it isn't broke, why fix it? The last year she putted with her eyes closed? It was 2007, when she won five times.

Keep closing those eyes, Suzann. It's helps you play your best, and that's saying something.

PLAYOFFS GALORE

This past weekend was a golf fans paradise. There were three tours getting live coverage on various channels, and three of them gave viewers extra golf.

It started in Saturday, when Lizette Salas fired a 10-under 62 to catch Pettersen and force the weekend's first playoff. The pressure got to Salas on the first extra hole as she dumped her approach shot in the water.

Pettersen easily 2-putted for par and the win, but there were more playoffs to come.

The kicker came around lunchtime on Sunday. The European Tour had three players finish at 5-under par. Felipe Aguilar dropped out on the third extra hole, but the playoff was only one-third over.

Raphael Jacquelin and Maximilian Kieffer matched five straight pars, as they played the 18th over and over and ...

Finally, on the ninth extra hole, Jacquelin rolled in a birdie effort to claim his fourth European Tour victory.

If that didn't whet your appetite, the PGA Tour had two of the last three U.S. Open champions battling for the RBC Heritage title.

Charley Hoffman tumbled out of the lead with a final-round 77 to open the door for 2010 U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell and last year's U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson. McDowell 2-putted for par, to put the pressure on Simpson. The reigning U.S. Open champ had run his birdie effort six feet by the hole and he failed to convert that putt.

McDowell walked off with his second PGA Tour title.

If those three weren't enough, Angel Cabrera went home to play a PGA Tour Latinoamerica event on the course he grew up caddying on. He fired a 64 to force a playoff there, and birdied the first extra hole for the win.

There is plenty of golf on television every week. This past weekend, viewers happened to get more than they bargained for.

MINI-TIDBITS

* After 14 straight American winners to start the year on the PGA Tour, McDowell's win was the third in a row by an international player.

* Four players who finished in the top 10 at the Masters came back and played at the RBC Heritage. Of that group, only Marc Leishman followed up with another top-10 finish. He was one of nine players who tied for ninth place at Harbour Town Golf Links.

The Sports Network