With rising expectations to deliver results, University Place’s Michael Putnam gave a 2014 PGA Tour season outlook that one would expect from a man who just conquered another tour.
Hint: The bar is set pretty high.
“I expect to be in the winner’s circle this year. And I expect to contend in most tournaments,” Putnam said. “My goal isn’t simply to keep my PGA Tour card. My goal is to reach the Tour Championship at the end of the (FedEx Cup playoffs), and to do that I have to contend in events.”
This is Putnam’s third trip to the big rodeo after stints on the PGA Tour in 2007 and 2011.
The Life Christian Academy graduate was in the middle of a good stretch of golf in 2011, when he broke his wrist hitting golf balls on a driving range in North Carolina and was sidelined for the rest of the season.
When he returned in 2012, he barely missed retaining his PGA Tour card on a major medical exemption, and just fell short of getting it by playing the Web.com Tour.
Needless to say, 2013 was a critical season — and Putnam cashed in big. He won the Mexico Championship and Mid-Atlantic Championship in back-to-back weeks and ended up the Web.com Tour’s regular-season money leader ($515,184) and player of the year.
“Considering what happened with my wrist, I could not have asked for a better way to prove myself over the last year-and-a-half,” Putnam said. “I am more confident than I ever have been heading onto the PGA Tour.”
He also has taken on a couple of business ventures in the past six months. He created a teaching tool called Stixtips, which are simple swing thoughts for every level of golfer in a pocket-size booklet. They are available at local Puetz and Pro Golf Discount stores.
Putnam also has become a minority owner in a Lakewood-based business called PlayKleen Sports Towels.
“I tend to like a fresh towel for every round to wipe my face, and Joel (Putnam, his brother and caddie) used to go buy towels at Walmart. But they don’t hold water or clean clubs correctly,” Putnam said. “(PlayKleen towels) do, and I will have a new towel every single round this season.”
Hometown/residence: University Place.
Schools: Life Christian Academy/Pepperdine.
2013 season: Made 19 of 23 cuts, posted nine top-10 finishes and totaled $515,184 on the Web.com Tour. Won the Mexico Championship (13-under 275) in May, and Mid-Atlantic Championship (7-under 273) in June.
Best finish in 2013 at a major: None.
World ranking heading into 2014: 169th.
Caddie: Joel Putnam.
Swing instructor: Patrick Kelley.
Agent: Ralph Cross.
In the bag: Cleveland Classic 310 Tour XL driver, Cleveland Launcher FL 3-wood, Adams Golf Idea Pro a12 hybrid (18 degrees), Cleveland 588 CB irons, Cleveland 588 RTX wedges (52, 56, 60 degrees), Odyssey Versa No. 7 putter, Srixon Z-star XV Red golf balls.
Endorsements: Cleveland Golf/Srixon, Residence Inn by Marriott, Bobby Jones Clothing.
Five to thrive in: Waste Management Phoenix Open, Jan. 30-Feb. 2, TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Ariz.; The Players Championship, May 8-11, TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; the Memorial Tournament, May 29-June 1, Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio; U.S. Open, June 12-15, Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst, N.C.; Tour Championship, Sept. 11-14, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Ga.