Winning the 36th Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard for his first PGA TOUR title wasn't the end of a long quest for Matt Every, native of Daytona Beach, Fla., who used to attend the tournament at Bay Hill Club & Lodge as a kid.
It was the beginning of a new one.
After rallying past Adam Scott and beating Keegan Bradley by a stroke on the Championship Course last March, Every decided it was time to upgrade his game. That might seem like strange timing, but Every knew he had room to get better, particularly driving the golf ball.
But changes take time to congeal, and Every has struggled since he began working with Sean Foley last fall. He has yet to post a top-25 finish this season and is coming off a missed cut at last week's Valspar Championship in nearby Tampa. But he refuses to hit any panic buttons. In fact, his attitude is rather refreshing.
"I kind of am enjoying the struggle," Every, 31, admitted. "It is a struggle, but I know that I'm the kind of person that I always figure it out and find a way to kind of persevere... So, I have been enjoying that process of making my swing a little more consistent and I know when it gets to where I want it, I'm going to be way more consistent - [a] consistently better player than I was before."
Every, who also won on the Web.com Tour in 2009 at the Web.com Tour Championship at Daniel Island, already was a good player. He posted 13-under 275 last year, including a final-round 70, to overtake Scott on the Championship Course. Scott, then the reigning Masters champion, had opened with a record- tying 62 and led after each of the first three rounds.
Every broke through in his 93rd start on the PGA TOUR and in his fifth appearance at Bay Hill.
Interestingly, Every, a University of Florida product, mentioned Scott's technically sound swing when discussing his own goals for improvement.
"I think when you see some of the elite players out here," Every said, "if you guys go on the range and watch guys hit balls there are guys that have won out here multiple times that you'll watch them hit balls and you'll be like, 'Wow, I don't see it, you know.' Then you watch a guy like Adam Scott hit balls, and his normal shots are big golf shots.
"I know a lot of that is genetics and the way you're built, but I want to get more towards where my game is big... like I want my good shots to be really good shots, and my bad shots to be what my good shots used to be."
Ranked 93rd in the latest Official World Golf Ranking, Every said last year's victory was special, for several reasons. Perhaps the most important is that winning Arnold Palmer's tournament was inspiration for naming his daughter after the King. Quinn Palmer Every was born Nov. 24 to Every and his wife, Danielle.
Of course, there were other perks, too, and he's enjoying the experience this week of defending his title here at Bay Hill Club.
"Winning the tournament, the immediate impact was I got in all the Majors and that was a good experience," he said. "Like this week my picture is on the tickets. That's never happened before."
He's hoping that once his new swing kicks in, it will happen a lot more.