Stat attack!: Barclays review

By John AntoniniAugust 25, 2014, 1:12 am

In one way, it’s fitting that Hunter Mahan won the Barclays. Entering this week, Mahan was the only player who had played in every one of the PGA Tour’s playoff tournaments since the start of the FedEx Cup series in 2007. He hadn’t fared extremely well in any of them, with the exception of a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship in 2011. You could say he was due. 

Hunter Mahan in the PGA Tour’s playoff events

 Tournament 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
 Barclays T-17 T-31 T-20 T-31 T-43 MC T-25 Won
 Deutsche Bank MC T-15 T-36 T-33 T-8 T-39 T-13  
 BMW Champ. T-30 T-8 T-38 T-37 T-42 70 T-4  
 Tour Champ. T-5 T-17 24 T-15 2 T-8 T-20  

At Ridgewood CC, Mahan shot a final-round 65 to beat Stuart Appleby, Jason Day and Cameron Tringale by two strokes. He led the field in greens in regulation and all-around rank, and during his 6-under final round, Mahan didn’t miss a putt from less than 15 feet.

He’s the sixth player to win in 2013-14 while leading the field in GIR, and he’s the seventh player since the U.S. Open to win while leading the field in all-around rank (a common occurrance because the all-around rank includes scoring average).

The Tour’s traditional statistics have taken a back seat in recent years to the glossier computer-friendly stats – golf doesn’t yet have a term akin to baseball’s sabermetrics – but Mahan showed that success in all the basic facets of the game is still worth the practice time.

At the Barclays, Mahan tallied 118 all-around points in the stat that combines a player’s rank in eight traditional categories, including driving distance and accuracy, greens in regulation, putting average, birdies per round, eagles, sand saves and scoring average.

Recent PGA Tour winners who also led the field in all-around rank

 Player Tournament
 Hunter Mahan Barclays
 Camilo Villegas Wyndham Championship
 Rory McIlroy PGA Championship
 Tim Clark RBC Canadian Open
 Brian Harman John Deere Classic
 Angel Cabrera Greenbrier Classic 
 Martin Kaymer U.S. Open

Mahan hit 58 greens in regulation at Ridgewood CC, three more than runner-up Bo Van Pelt. He’s the sixth GIR leader to win the tournament in 2013-14.

PGA Tour winners in 2013-14 who also led the field in GIR

 Player Tournament
 Hunter Mahan Barclays
 Rory McIlroy WGC-Bridgestone
 Brian Harman John Deere Classic
 Angel Cabrera Greenbrier Classic
 Matt Kuchar RBC Heritage
 Dustin Johnson  WGC-HSBC Champions

Mahan’s success in the all-around ranking goes beyond making birdies and leading the tournament in scoring average. It’s something he has done all year long.

He ranks among the top 50 players on Tour in 2013-14 in driving distance, accuracy, greens in regulation, scoring average and all-around rank. Only Kevin Chappell also ranks in the top 50 in all five stats and only Shawn Stefani ranks in the top 65 in the five categories.

Players in the top 60 in distance, accuracy, GIR, scoring and all-around rank

 Player Distance rank Accuracy rank GIR rank Scoring avg. rank All-around rank
 Hunter
 Mahan
46 42 28 42 35
 Kevin
 Chappell
45 40 32 48 10
 Shawn
 Stefani
29 47 63 47 38

Mahan is the only one of the three players to win this year, but all three have had solid seasons and remain alive in the chase for the FedEx Cup.

Stefani, a second-year player was T-30 at the Barclays and is 67th in the FedEx Cup standings in his second year on Tour.

Chappell is 61st in the Cup chase after also finishing T-30 at Ridgewood.

As for Mahan, the victory culminates a solid three-tournament run that saw him finish T-15 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and T-7 at the PGA Championship. He’s one of four players who finished in the top 10 at Valhalla and at Ridgewood.

How the top-10 finishers at the PGA Championship* fared at the Barclays

 Player PGA finish Barclays finish
 Rory McIlroy Won T-22
 Phil Mickelson T-2 78
 Rickie Fowler T-3 T-9
 Henrik Stenson T-3 T-38
 Jim Furyk T-5 8
 Ryan Palmer T-5 T-74
 Ernie Els T-7 T-5
 Hunter Mahan T-7 Won
 Jimmy Walker T-7 MC

*Only those who played both events are listed.

The victory moves Mahan atop the new FedEx Cup standings, and would seemingly give him a leg up on securing the Cup for the first time. However, only Vijay Singh in 2008 has won the Barclays and then gone on to win the FedEx Cup as well.

How the Barclays winner has fared in the FedEx Cup

 Year Player FedEx Cup finish
 2014 Hunter Mahan  
 2013 Adam Scott Third
 2012 Nick Watney Fourth
 2011 Dustin Johnson Fourth
 2010 Matt Kuchar Second
 2009 Heath Slocum Eighth
 2008 Vijay Singh Won
 2007 Steve Stricker Second

Mahan’s success led to another final-round disappointment for Jim Furyk, who lost for the eighth straight time after holding or sharing the 54-hole lead.

Jim Furyk with the 54-hole lead or co-lead since 2012

 Tournament Final-round score Finish
 2014 Barclays 70 8
 2014 Canadian Open 69 2
 2013 BMW Championship 71 3
 2013 PGA Championship 71 2
 2012 McGladrey  69 3
 2012 WGC-Bridgestone 69 2
 2012 U.S. Open 74 T-4
 2012 Transitions 69 Playoff loss

As with Sunday, he hasn’t always played poorly during the final round, his scoring average in those eight events is a very respectable 70.25. However the winner of the eight tournaments played to an average of 65.1, including Mahan’s 65 Sunday and Tim Clark’s 65 at the Canadian Open a month earlier.

Furyk has qualified for the Tour Championship six times in the seven years of the playoffs, and he should advance that far again in 2014, giving him three more chances to end his victory drought. Where did Furyk win last? The Tour Championship at East Lake in 2010.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee: