Why No. 288 Will Never Catch No. 1

Todd Points
Robbie McClaran/SI

TODD POINTS

Age 37
Occupation Insurance Agent
Height 6'2"
Weight 200 lbs
Handicap Scratch
Low lifetime round 65 (In a tournament)
Average birdies per round 5
Average pars per round 9
Average bogeys per round 3
Average double-bogeys per round 1
Average fairways hit 55% over his last three tournaments
Average greens hit 76% over his last three tournaments
Average putts per round 331.5 over his last three tournaments "'That's probably why I didn't win."
Driving distance 300+ yards

Scratch
Boise, Idaho

EXERCISE REGIMEN Stretching, focusing on hamstrings to avoid back trouble. Stays active bird-hunting and skiing in winter. Plays basketball and some fast-pitch softball at the end of the summer.

ATHLETICISM Points played football in college, quit, then returned to school at Albertson College [in Idaho], where he walked on and played number one on the golf team as a junior and senior.

INSTRUCTION Points has no coach. "People have looked at my swing and I've been videotaped. For me it comes down to tempo."

PLAYING SINCE Age 5

PLAYING HABITS "Before tournament season starts, I try to play at least two money games a week. We get between five and 10 scratch or better players, amateurs and pros, and another 10 single-digit guys." [Points has won as much as $350 in a day.] "In tournament season I'll play once a week plus a tournament on the weekend."

SELF-ANALYSIS, PART I: MIDDLE-GAME BLUES "I don't hit my mid-irons 10 percent of the time on Idaho courses. I'll hit driver-wedge or a shorter iron shot. That's why I don't think a lot of Idaho amateurs do well when they play in bigger tourneys. I played the Pacific Coast Amateur at Bandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes two years ago, and talk about a wake-up call. That place crushed me."

LIFESTYLE Points drives a high-mileage 2001 Ford Expedition; wife Michelle, an attorney, has a 2007 Volkswagen Jetta. Their household income is between $100,000 and $150,000, and they are building a home west of Boise.

SELF-ANALYSIS, PART II "I went to the 2000 PGA Championship and watched the pros hit irons, and they were more consistent but I could hit a lot of those shots. Then I watched them chip and putt and I wouldn't bet $1 against the worst putter and chipper out there! They were so focused, so committed to their routine, and that's something I tried to incorporate into my own game. But it's not a career for me. If my schedule works out I'll win one or two tournaments in a summer. Golf doesn't really start for me until May, and over an eight-month schedule I'll play four rounds a week on average. I hit it really long and have trouble fading the ball. There are probably a million guys out there who are scratch. [According to the latest USGA figures, more than 306,000 men are scratch or lower.] There's no way to know how big the gap is unless you try to close it."

PRACTICE HABITS "There's a golf course one minute from my office, so every lunch I'll hit two shag bags of 125-, 100- and 60-yard shots. There are probably 50-70 balls per shag bag, so that's about 110 wedges, three to four days a week, for eight months. I'll work on my putting probably once a week."

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