Sports

Get ready for ‘Putnam & Putnam’ on the PGA Tour in 2015

It’s hard enough for a golfer from one county, state or country to earn playing privileges on the PGA Tour.

Two from the same household?

It is rare. And it will happen next season.

University Place golfer Michael Putnam’s fourth-place tie in last week’s RBC Canadian Open at Royal Montreal Blue Course all but locked up his 2015 PGA Tour card.

On the Web.com Tour, younger brother Andrew Putnam remains No. 2 on the money list, guaranteeing he, too, will be on golf’s highest professional tour next year.

The last time two brothers had full-time cards on the PGA Tour was when Tom and Curt Byrum averaged about 32 tournaments apiece from 1987-91.

Curt Byrum played a full PGA Tour schedule in 1994 and 1995 while his brother split time between the PGA and Web.com tours.

“It is history-making because it’s been almost 25 years,” Michael Putnam said via telephone Monday from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, waiting for his flight to Reno, Nevada, to play in the Barracuda Championship.

“I mean, for any brother to play at the highest level of a sport is rare. Few brothers have done it in other sports. It’s happened less in golf. It’s definitely cool to be a part of.”

Michael Putnam sits in good shape heading into the summer’s final regular-season events, then into the FedExCup playoffs, which begin with The Barclays from Aug. 21-24 at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey.

He is in 81st place in the FedExCup points, giving him a little bit of a cushion for the early playoff tournaments.

“It’s not really that hard to figure out since the first three (FedEx playoff) tournaments are worth five times the points,” Putnam said. “If I finish fourth in one of those first three tournaments, I am probably in the top 30 in the standings.

“I have very realistic goals. My No. 1 goal now is making a deep run and getting into the Tour Championship.”

Putnam admits his top preseason goal of winning a PGA Tour event certainly changed at the midway point, when he fought to keep his tour card.

Even though he has made 20 cuts in 26 PGA Tour starts, at the beginning of the summer, Putnam had not registered a top-10 finish that would have catapulted him into safe territory.

Much of it had to do with his putting, which he said had sunk to a new low at The Memorial Tournament in late May.

After his early morning round Saturday, Putnam headed right to the putting green to work on a few things.

That is when Troy Denton, the swing instructor for Puyallup’s Ryan Moore, walked by to see him fidgeting with a few practice routines.

“I was there with all sorts of gadgets,” Putnam said. “And he said, ‘I’ll give you a lesson while Ryan plays the front nine.’ ”

The pair had a two-hour lesson, which produced a few significant changes — and much better results in recent weeks.

“Well, I got a new putter,” Putnam said. “It is a counterbalanced putter to which I added 1 inch in length. My posture is a lot better — a lot cleaner and a lot taller.”

If Putnam does not get into next week’s PGA Championship, he will take that week off before returning for the Wyndham Championship on Aug. 14 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Then it’s off to four consecutive weeks of the FedExCup playoffs — if he makes it that far.

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