By Paul Myers:
The name Jonathan Byrd is one that may not be known to casual golf fans, despite the excellent performances that Byrd has authored on the PGA Tour over his 15 year career. With five total PGA Tour wins, the last coming in 2011, along with a PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award in 2002, Byrd has a resume that most professional golfers would love to claim.
When it comes to performance in the major championships, Jonathan Byrd has made his mark there as well. Over his career, Jonathan Byrd has placed within the top 25 at least once in each of the four majors, including a tie for eighth at the 2003 Masters Tournament. Byrd has also proven his ability to get the job done in the clutch, winning two of the three playoffs that he has participated in during his PGA Tour career. Most notable, he was able to win the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in 2010 with an eagle on the fourth playoff hole.
Getting It Done without Big Distance
It isn’t necessary to smash the ball off the tee in order to compete on the PGA Tour these days – and Jonathan Byrd is proof of that point. Now, make no mistake, he can still move the ball quite nicely off the tee, but he isn’t going to be confused with the longest hitters in the game. So far in 2015, Byrd is averaging 287.1 yards per drive, which ranks 115th on the PGA Tour. Most golfers would love to average well over 280 off the tee, but among the best players in the world, that number is in the middle of the pack. Despite that fact, Byrd still finds a way to navigate the long courses of the PGA Tour in order to post good scores.
Scrambling is an Important Skill
The ability to get the ball up and down from all sorts of difficult spots on the course is something that is commonly overlooked by the average golfer – but professionals know just how important it is to possess this trait. In 2015, Jonathan Byrd is ranked 38th on Tour in scrambling at 62.15%. This is a key stat because those scrambling saves are preventing bogeys from appearing on the scorecard. Also, Byrd is 40th in sand save percentages at 56.58%, another sign that he is doing a good job of saving shots around the greens whenever possible.
With 15 years of experience already behind him, it would be tempting to think that Jonathan Byrd is past his best days on Tour. However, Byrd has posted some promising finishes during the current PGA Tour season, including a tie for 21st at the CIMB Classic and a tie for 16th at the Puerto Rico Open. With the ability to get the ball up and down from all around the greens, Byrd is always a threat to post good scores and hang around near the lead. One big week is all it takes to move back up the money list, and Jonathan Byrd certainly has the experience and ability to make that happen.