Birthdate: January 23, 1988
Hometown: Rancho Santa Fe, CA
Turned Professional: 2009
2016 FedEx Cup Rank: 49th
PGA Tour Wins: 0
PGA Tour Awards: N/A
Distance: Jamie Lovemark is one of the longest players on the PGA Tour and has the ability to overpower a golf course. In 2016, he ranked 14th in strokes gained: off-the-tee and 11th in driving distance.
Short Game: An extremely strong aspect of Jamie Lovemark’s game that often gets lost is his short game. In 2016, Lovemark ranked 21st in strokes gained: around-the-green as well as 45th in the statistic during his 2014 campaign.
Areas for Improvement:
Wedges: Jamie Lovemark needs to take a page from Dustin Johnson’s book when he focused and improved his wedge game which became the catalyst to his breakout 2016 season. Last year, Lovemark ranked 173rd in strokes gained: approach to the green and given his power, many of these shots are hit with wedges. If Lovemark can make a leap in this area, he can make the leap into the upper-echelon of PGA Tour players.
A look at the swing
“There are a couple things that I really like in Jamie Lovemark’s swing. First is his dynamic and athletic setup which allows him up to use the ground throughout the swing and generate a lot of power. He also has a terrific pivot and great tempo throughout the swing.”
Named to Golf Digest’s 40 best instructors under 40
Jamie Lovemark’s path to the PGA Tour
Jamie Lovemark turned professional in 2009 as a “can’t miss” future star of the game after a decorated amateur career and collegiate career at the University of Southern California. Lovemark’s amateur accolades include a NCAA Individual Title, a Western Amateur Championship, a Walker Cup selection, two first team All-American selections, and the Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, and Haskins Awards. As an amateur, Lovemark proved his game was pro-ready when he lost to Chris Riley in a playoff on the Nationwide Tour (today’s Web.com Tour) in the summer of 2007, just weeks after winning the NCAA Individual Title as a Freshman.
Upon turning professional in 2009, Lovemark found himself in a playoff at just his fourth professional event, the PGA Tour’s 2009 Frys.com Open with Troy Matteson and Rickie Fowler, eventually falling to Matteson on the 2nd playoff hole.
In 2010, Lovemark was playing the then Nationwide Tour (today’s Web.com Tour) where he had a stellar season finishing first on the tour’s money list, earning full-status on the PGA Tour and winning Player of the Year honors. His season was highlighted by a win, three 2nd place finishes, two 3rd place finishes and four other top 10 finishes.
Lovemark hit the PGA Tour in 2011 as the favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors, but had his career put on hold by a major back injury. The 2011 season saw Lovemark compete in 9 pain-riddled events before he decided that the pain was too much. Lovemark was able to play in only nine Tour events missing the cut in five and withdrawing because of pain in two. After the 2011 Shell Houston Open, Lovemark decided the pain was too much and opted for rest and rehab. With the back pain not improving, in August 2011, Lovemark opted for microdiscectomy surgery on his back, the same procedure that Tiger Woods underwent in 2014.
The PGA Tour granted Lovemark a medical extension for the 2012 season, and Lovemark had 16 events to earn enough cash to keep his card. Unfortunately, the lengthy 3-month layoff had not been good to Lovemark’s game. His usual controlled fade turned into a wayward hook and the promising star made the cut in only 6 of his 16 starts, and back to the Web.com Tour Lovemark went.
In the second half of 2012 and the first half of 2013, Lovemark’s swing and the resulting hook plagued his ability to drive the golf ball and he continued to struggle. He was able to win the Web.com Tour’s Midwest Classic and finish 14th on the season-long money list earning his PGA Tour Card for the 2014 season.
Once again, Lovemark hit the PGA Tour with high expectations and once again, things didn’t go as planned. Lovemark missed the cut in nine of his 20 starts on the PGA Tour registering only one top 25 finish. The culprits for Jamie Lovemark’s poor play were his inability to find fairways (he finished 166th in driving accuracy) and his unreliable putter (ranked 170th in strokes gained: putting). His poor play prompted a change from long-time coach Sean Foley to Chris Como.
Web.com Tour 2015 Season
Since his change to Como, the former “can’t miss” prodigy is beginning to live up to his billing. Lovemark once again earned his PGA Tour card with a strong 2015 Web.com Tour season, he finished 12th on the regular season money list. Unlike 2013, Lovemark’s season was consistent and not simply buoyed by a win, the former USC standout registered eight top 10 finishes on the developmental tour. His most impressive finish came in the U.S. Open where Lovemark finished in a t18th.
PGA Tour 2015-2016
During the 2015-2016 PGA Tour season, it didn’t take long for Lovemark to make a name for himself. He registered a t13th and a t8th in the Fall Series before opening up 2016 with back to back top 10 finishes at the Sony and CareerBuilder, in which the latter he held the 54-hole lead. All in all, Lovemark finished his breakout season 49th in the FedEx Cup with $1.9 million in earnings.
With his injuries and swing troubles behind him, Lovemark will look to build on his successful 2015-2016 campaign in 2017. Still only 28, I expect Lovemark to enjoy a long career on the PGA Tour and look for him to find the winner’s circle in the 2016-2017 season.