DUBLIN, Ohio – Sometimes we have to dig deeply into the analytics in order to peel back a layer and find some truth. Other times the most rudimentary statistic can tell an entire story.
For Beau Hossler, it’s not difficult to understand what has gone right for him this year and what hasn’t.
First things first: Hossler is a tremendous talent with a ton of potential. As a 17-year-old, he held sole possession of the U.S. Open lead during the second round; at the University of Texas, he was named college player of the year; and now in his first full season on the PGA Tour, he’s already posted some impressive results, including a runner-up finish at the Houston Open after losing in a playoff.
It seems obvious that he’ll be a can’t-miss stud in the professional ranks for a long time, but what’s been holding him back so far is just as obvious. He has been awful on the weekends of his tournaments.
Here are Hossler’s round-by-round scoring averages and ranks through 20 starts this season:
Round 1: 69.25 (11th)
Round 2: 69.95 (24th)
Round 3: 70.65 (84th)
Round 4: 72.18 (167th)
An opening-round 6-under 66 at the Memorial Tournament only helped to accentuate this narrative — for now, at least. It was his seventh opening round of 68 or better this season, meaning one-third of his starts have found him at or near the top of a leaderboard.
After his seven-birdie, one-bogey performance on Thursday, I asked him if he was aware of these splits — and if so, how he planned to improve upon them.
“I’ve had some really low scores, I’ve had some really high scores, and that’s kind of uncharacteristic for me,” Hossler explained. “But in fairness, I think the PGA Tour golf courses won’t allow you to play poor and score well. That’s why we’re out here. The reality is, I just need to be more consistent Round 1 through 4.”
What a great answer. He showed awareness and took responsibility for the issue, without admitting there’s any flaw in his preparation or mind-set on the weekends. Unlike his scoring average, his answer to the question improved as he continued.
“I feel really comfortable with where I’m at,” he said. “I played great on the weekend in Houston — pretty much flawless, really. I have tons of confidence from closing out tournaments from junior and amateur golf and college golf. It’s not a concern of mine. Obviously, I noticed a trend, but at the same time I think I’m on the right track and I’ve just got to stick with what I’m doing.”
Again, not sure how he could’ve handled this question any better. I followed by asking him if this was simply part of a learning curve on the PGA Tour. After all, he has steadily improved on Sundays over the past two months, posting a scoring average of 70.4 that is blemished by only a final-round 79 at the Valero Texas Open.
“I certainly feel a lot more comfortable on the courses that I’ve played for a second time this year,” he continued. “I played on some sponsor exemptions last year. And playing the golf course more and knowing the pins and knowing the conditions and the wind has certainly helped in those events. With that said, I can’t blame that entirely on that. But I think there’s something to be said for guys that come back 10 years in a row to a golf course and know pretty much what they’re getting into.”
Yes, there’s a definitive trend for Hossler this year, one that shows his game progressively declines with each successive round. The stats can tell us that story. What the stats can’t tell us is how he’s handling this trend and what he’s planning to improve upon moving forward. For this, we can only listen to him. He’s saying all the right things and is working to reverse that pattern.
It might not happen immediately, but that declining scoring average will be erased and forgotten with a little more experience on the highest level. It’s coming soon.