After bizarre putter mishap, 42-year-old pro records best-ever finish

David Skinns attempts to bend his putter shaft back into position during the first round of the Cognizant Classic.

David Skinns tries to bend his putter shaft back into position during the first round of the Cognizant Classic.

Golf Channel

It was a big week for 42-year-old Englishman David Skinns, despite the fact that he couldn’t secure his first PGA Tour victory after holding the 54-hole co-lead at the Cognizant Classic.

Skinns tied for 4th in just his 33rd career start, which blew away his previous-best Tour finish of T29, which he recorded first in 2014 and again in ’21.

Skinns admitted on Monday he didn’t handle the uncertainty of Sunday well. A 3 1/2-hour weather delay hit PGA National Resort before 26 players even had a chance to tee off. When play resumed, Skinns missed well left off the first tee, hit his approach into the greenside bunker and made bogey. He made another bogey on 3, and when play was called for the day — while Skinns and Shane Lowry were in the 6th fairway — Skinns was 11 under and four off the lead, as Austin Eckroat, the eventual winner, played his first seven holes in two under.

On Monday, Skinns was in a better place. He made three birdies on the back nine and just one bogey en route to a $344,250 payday.

“[Sunday] was a strange day, waiting around as much as we did,” Skinns said on Monday. “I thought I’d be pretty calm, but yesterday I was pretty apprehensive. I wasn’t feeling great. Came back today with a totally different outlook, and I’m pleased with the way I played today. There was a couple of iffy shots, but I put my best foot forward today I felt like, and I was more comfortable.”

This was Skinns’ first made cut of the season in five attempts, but he’s played better than that might suggest. He started the season with a missed cut at the Sony Open, but he missed each of the next three cuts by a single shot every time. Two of them he missed after bogeys on the last or second-to-last hole.

“It’s tough, especially in our category when you know you’re not playing the same tournaments as everyone else almost,” he said. “It’s hard to miss by one three weeks in a row. We do this for a living, so you’ve got to figure out a way of not getting too high, not getting too low.”

His big week at PGA National Resort also happened despite a strange putter mishap on Thursday.

While standing over his putt on the 14th green (Skinns’ fifth hole), Skinns stared down the shaft and realized something looked off. He was right. On the 14th-hole tee box Skinns’ caddie had tripped over a tee marker and somehow bent the putter shaft in the process. So Skinns walked off the 14th green and called for a rules official, who gave him the OK to try and bend the putter back to as close to its original state as possible.

Skinns then got to work, using his foot as leverage to bend the putter shaft back to his liking. He two-putted for par and later signed for a 65. He had the club fixed by a professional after his round, and that putter turned out to be a huge key to his success at the Cognizant. Skinns finished the week ranked second in Strokes Gained: putting, gaining more than seven strokes on the field.

“A lot of positives,” Skinns said Monday. “I’ll just try to put myself in contention again — because there’s nothing more fun than being in contention.”

Josh Berhow Editor

As’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at