tampabay.com

Huston hopes to get more mileage out of his game

After rediscovering his putting and feel for the game, Huston promises a better finish after falling out of the top 150 on the money list, his worst showing of his career.

By BOB HARIG
Published May 24, 2007


CLEARWATER - John Huston figures he has some good golf left.

The longtime area resident who lives in Palm Harbor turns 46 on June 1 and is looking forward to a busy summer after a rather quiet winter and spring.

That's because he finished 159th on the PGA Tour money list, his worst showing since his first full year in 1988. Because he finished outside of the top 150, he can play only on a past champions pass. He has seven career victories and earned more than $14-million.

"I'm starting to play pretty good, " he said. "I struggled with the whole idea of wanting to putt conventional and once the tournament at Innisbrook (PODS Championship) was over, I could just see that wasn't going to happen anymore.

"I went strictly to the belly putter and I'm trying to get good with that. I don't think I'll ever putt as good as I once did. But I'm having moments now where I'll actually putt pretty well. I'm making more of the ones that I should make. That kind of energizes your game."

Huston has played just six tour events, earning $32, 480. He is 211th in FedEx Cup points.

"I started playing a lot, and that was one thing, " he said. "I'd be home and hit balls, hit balls, hit balls but never play. I kind of lost my feel for the game. But I'm playing better and have some time to turn it around."

COVERING SOME GROUND: Tom Auclair was at the PODS Championship. He went to all of the Florida events this year and last and the year before that. In fact, he attended every PGA Tour event dating to the 1998 Tournament of Champions - 433 in a row - until last week.

Auclair runs Insidetheropes.com, which provides daily reports from tour events, including interviews, stories and commentary. Just about every top player knows the man who typically camps out near the interview room then spends several hours updating his Web site.

What finally got him off the road was the graduation of his daughter Katelyn from Providence College. Auclair, 50, lives in Rhode Island and has been married for 28 years. He once flew from Hawaii to Rhode Island so he could be home for a day before heading back to California for the next tour stop.

He estimates traveling 100, 000 miles a year. Before last week, he had been home for parts of four days in 2007. He is expected in Forth Worth, Texas, today for the start of the Colonial.