Former Gator in midst of horrendous slump . . .
It's been a rough two years for former Gator Matt Every, ever since he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in back-to-back seasons (2014, 2015) and gained three years of exemptions on the PGA Tour. But not much has gone right thereafter, and 2016 was a virtual disaster - 17 events entered, 1 top 25, 10 missed cuts, two withdrawns, and skimpy earnings of $158,453.
Hard to fathom while considering he entered the 2016-2017 wraparound season with career earnings of $7,964,566, including one year of collecting more than $2.5 million.
The drought has continued since October, and coming into his favorite venue at Bay Hill this week Matt's ledger reads: 11 events entered, 10 missed cuts, one withdrawn, and zero dollars earned.
Yesterday, he took a major step toward turning it around, at least temporarily, by posting a 1-over-par 73 at Arnie's course, and winding up day 1 in a tie for 46th. The projected cut line after 18 holes was 2 over. So far this season, he doesn't have one week under par, with his best a 69-72-141, 1 over, at the Sony Open.
Could this be the day he breaks out of the slump? His round yesterday consisted of a back nine where he made two bogeys and one birdie, then nine straight pars on the front. It's somewhat encouraging.
Emiliano Grillo and Matthew Fitzpatrick took the first-round lead with 5-under 67s, one better than Paul Casey and Charley Hoffman. Billy Horschel is at even-par 72, but Camilo Villegas (73) is in danger of missing the cut and Brooks Koepka (78) will have to shoot a career round to remain for the weekend.
Rory McIlroy (74), Henrik Stenson (75) and Zach Johnson (75) are also going to have to step it up to make it for the final 36 holes.