Cam Davis finds redemption with Rocket Mortgage Classic victory

Golf is, of course, a lonely and difficult pursuit. Even those who are already PGA TOUR winners could use a little help sometimes.

Cam Davis admitted Sunday he hasn’t been in a good place mentally for about six months. Things progressed but he made no strides. Opportunities slipped through his hands, despite playing solid golf. Since a tie for 12th at the Masters, he said it had “all just left” him.

So, Davis began working with a hypnotherapist just recently because, he said, a change of direction was “definitely” needed.

“(I wanted) something that I was actually going to stick to because I'm definitely someone that will start doing something and if it doesn't feel like it's helping straight away, it's very easy to drop it," Davis said. "Sticking with the work that I'm doing […] has made a very big impact very quickly. I felt a lot better last week even though the score didn't show it, and to have it turn into this this week is hard to believe really because I was not in a good place two or three weeks ago.”

Davis dug himself out of a dark mental hole, he said, and he’s emerged in the game’s brightest place – a return to the PGA TOUR winner circle, again at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Davis opened his Sunday at Detroit Golf Club with a bogey before settling in with three birdies over his next six holes on the front side. He bogeyed the par-5 14th before two-putting for birdie on the penultimate hole of the championship. Davis, who won the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic in a playoff, made a gritty up-and-down from off the green on No. 18 to finish at 18 under.

And then all he could do was wait.

Akshay Bhatia, who hadn’t missed a putt inside six feet all week, pulled his par-saver on the 72nd hole just right. It was just his second bogey of the week. Bhatia fell one shot short of Davis and in a four-way tie for second.

“I wouldn't wish what happened to Akshay on anyone, but I've done a lot of grinding to kind of get myself out of a hole, and just all of a sudden to do that, it's pretty good,” Davis said on the 18th green, emotion heavy in his voice.

“When Akshay missed that putt, it's a combination of shock and feeling bad for him, but at the same time just realizing that the huge burden of trying to win again is off the shoulders.”

This marked Davis’ first top-10 finish of the season and his best result since the Masters. Davis is the first to admit he’s not had a complete campaign through 2024, sitting 159th in Strokes Gained: Total, a stat he finished 35th in last season, but things started to click this week. He was 28th in SG: Off the Tee and ninth in SG: Approach, stats that he was 132nd and 123rd, respectively, heading into this week, for the season.

“From where I was a couple of weeks ago to today, just completely different person. This is a little emotional actually,” Davis said.

Davis, who was part of Trevor Immelman’s International Team at the 2022 Presidents Cup said the win came too late for one of his big goals for this year – making the Olympics. But with another win under his belt, he’s closer to knocking down two of his other objectives for 2024.

“I've got two more big goals of finishing high on the FedExCup and also trying to get on that Presidents Cup team," Davis said. "Just to know that the good golf is in there and was able to come out this week, I want to just keep that rolling. I've still got plenty to play for this year.”

Davis said Detroit Golf Club has just fit his eye these last few years because of the old-school, Donald Ross visuals. He said he loves shaping the ball, the way the fairways are laid out, and the greens.

Add that all up and combine it with Davis finding himself in the best mental shape he’s been in weeks, and he put himself in position for a victory, again, on the PGA TOUR.

And even though it came thanks to a little luck at the end, he’s still going to enjoy it fully.

“It's a very tough situation for (Bhatia). And for someone to be the benefactor of that is a bit of a weird situation to be in," Davis said. "At the same time, just so much relief because it has been a long time since I've come out on top. I'm going to make sure I start enjoying it and really appreciating it. (This week was) a nice combination of timing and golf course for me because I'm just starting to feel like I was working myself into a place where I could start getting some sparks and magic back into the golf and part of that is shaping shots. So, it worked well for me, and the visuals out here make it even easier for that.”

Davis turns 30 in February and admits the next generation (Bhatia, at 22, is a perfect example) is coming up fast and furious. He thought his victory in Detroit in 2021 was going to be the start of something special. That wasn’t the case, but it’s not like anything in golf is guaranteed. Now, however, his new approach to the mental side of the game, using hypnotherapy, may just the thing he needs to have the run he’s always wanted on the PGA TOUR.

“It's been a frustrating position to be in, especially to see the game kind of trending in the wrong direction for a lot of that time, but to kind of pop out of the depths and do this again, it kind of puts a little spark back into things,” Davis said. “I want to be out here; I want to be winning tournaments.

“All these things that come with winning are so much fun because you know you've done something great. To do it again, yeah, it feels pretty special now.”

SOURCE: [pgatour.com]

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