D.A. Points had fallen off the PGA Tour for two years. Now his equipment sponsor had dropped him.
It should have been one of the most difficult moments of the Pekin native’s golfing life. Instead, it turned into Points’ big break. Getting out of that contract with Ping helped Points finally establish himself on the PGA Tour, a decade after graduating as a third-team All-American at Illinois.
Points ranks 53rd on the 2009 PGA Tour money list with $908,359, almost half of that earned with a third-place finish at the HP Byron Nelson Classic last month in Texas, when he shot 16-under par.
“I attribute my big finish in Dallas to putting well,” Points said in a phone interview. “I switched putters the week before. I’ve been putting real well ever since I made that switch.”
A generation ago, it was far more common to hear about pro golfers switching putters. Now, unless they try a belly putter, it’s rare to hear about a switch.
“That’s because most people are under contract with a certain brand of putter,” said Points, who will make his fifth straight appearance in the Rockford Pro-Am, held July 13 at Forest Hills Country Club. “I had been under contract with Ping for six or seven years, and used only a Ping putter.
“This year, with the way the economy is going, they didn’t renew my contract. I got a TaylorMade deal that didn’t include the putter, so I could use any putter I chose.”
Points returned to a SeeMore putter, famous for a red dot that helps golfers make sure they are lined up perfectly square to the target.
“I used a SeeMore putter a long time ago and really liked how I putted with it back then,” Points said. “I got away from it because Ping doesn’t have a SeeMore-style putter. On the putting green at San Antonio (for the Valero Texas Open), I picked one up and liked it. The more I used it, the more I liked it. I went on to have the best finish of my career the next week in Dallas.”