Stat attack! Farmers Insurance Open statistical review

By John AntoniniJanuary 27, 2014, 2:30 pm

What an odd week at the Farmers Insurance Open. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson made the cut, but neither played on Sunday. Gary Woodland, the 54-hole leader made double bogey on the 17th hole in both weekend rounds and eventually finished three strokes back.

Precocious 20-year-old Jordan Spieth inexplicably followed a 63 on the North Course at Torrey Pines with a pair of 75s on the South Course on the weekend. And Scott Stallings, despite an opening-round 72, shot a 9-under 279 to beat a quintet of players by one stroke for his third PGA Tour victory.

It was the highest opening round by a winner this season, and the first time a player won despite opening at even par or worse since Justin Rose won the 2013 U.S. Open with a 1-over 71.

Highest opening rounds (to par) by PGA Tour winners since 2013

Kevin Streelman 2013 Tampa Bay Two-over 73
Justin Rose 2013 U.S. Open One-over 71
Scott Stallings 2014 Farmers Insurance Open Even-par 72
Graeme McDowell 2013 Heritage Even-par 71

Stallings, who birdied the last hole to take the lead, then waited out the final few groups, didn’t win at Torrey Pines in the conventional fashion.

Not one of the longest hitters in the field or the most accurate upon approach, Stallings took advantage of a deft putting touch, leading the field in strokes-gained putting by sinking 10 putts from more than 10 feet.

Only one other winner among the last six at the Farmers was also in the top 10 in strokes-gained putting. Stallings’ proximity to the hole on approach was the worst of the last six champions.

Statistical comparison of Farmers Insurance Open winners since 2009

Year Player Distance Prox. to hole Str. Gained/Putt. Putting from 10+ feet
2014 Scott Stallings 291.9 (24) 42 ft., 0 in. (63) 2.794 (1) 10/33; 30.30% (3)
2013 Tiger Woods 307.3 (2) 38 ft., 0 in. (T-49) 0.649 (28) 4/32; 12.50% (T43)
2012 Brandt Snedeker 284.8 (T-47) 36 ft., 10 in. (43) 1.473 (9) 9/38; 23.68% (5)
2011 Bubba Watson 316.1 (1) 25 ft., 10 in. (1) 0.247 (41) 6/31; 19.35% (T-22)
2010 Ben Crane 272.5 (T-51) 30 ft., 8 in. (6) 0.015 (45) 7/36; 19.44% (T-16)
2009 Nick Watney 268.8 (21) 35 ft., 7 in. (6) 0.253 (40) 2/30; 6.67% (64)

The 28-year-old Stallings continued the youth movement on the PGA Tour. He’s the sixth winner in his 20s this season.

Age of winners on the PGA Tour in 2013-14

Player Current age Birthday
Zach Johnson 37 Feb. 24, 1976
Jimmy Walker 35 Jan. 16, 1979
Ryan Moore 31 Dec. 5, 1982
Dustin Johnson 29 June 22, 1984
Webb Simpson 28 August 8, 1985
Chris Kirk 28 May 8, 1985
Scott Stallings 28 March 28, 1985
Harris English 24 July 23, 1989
Patrick Reed 23 Aug. 5, 1990

For most of the final round it appeared Woodland, not Stallings, would join the list of twenty-something winners. Playing in the final group, Woodland birdied No. 13 to get to 9 under, but a bogey on 14 and a double at 17 saw him fall to 6-under 282 for a T-10.

It was the worst finish by a 54-hole leader in 2013-14, and the biggest collapse by a player with sole possession of the 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event since Brendon de Jonge took a one-stroke lead into the final round of the 2012 AT&T National and shot 77 to finish T-11.

Worst finish by a 54-hole leader in a PGA Tour event in 2013-14

Gary Woodland T-10 Farmers Insurance Open
Dustin Johnson T-6 Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Robert Karlsson T-6 OHL Classic at Mayakoba

Spieth, too, had his chances, but he never got on track on the weekend when he returned to Torrey Pines South after his second-round 63. The 12-stroke difference between his 63 and his third-round 75 matches the largest differential between rounds two and three for any player on tour this season.

The most strokes gained between rounds two and three on the PGA Tour in 2013-14

12 Jordan Spieth Farmers Insurance Open 63-75
12 Marc Leishman CIMB Classic 65-77
12 D.J. Trahan Humana Challenge 68-80
11 Camilo Villegas Frys.com Open 66-77

On Sunday Woods and Mickelson were nowhere to be found. Although both players made the cut, neither played Sunday.

Mickelson was the first to leave, withdrawing Friday night with a sore back after finishing his second round in a tie for 32nd at 2-under 142. He was one stroke better than Woods at the time.

Midway through Saturday, it was Woods who was feeling the pain. Starting his round on No. 10, Woods was 1 under through eight holes before making two double bogeys and five bogeys on the next seven holes. The 79 matched his third highest score in a PGA Tour event.

Tiger Woods highest rounds on the PGA Tour

Tournament Round Score
2002 British Open 3 81
1994 Nestle Invitational* 1 80
2014 Farmers Insurance Open 3 79
2013 Memorial Tournament 3 79
2010 Quail Hollow Championship 2 79
1996 TOUR Championship 2 78
1995 British Open* 4 78
1993 Honda Classic* 2 78
1999 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am 3 78
1993 Nissan Los Angeles Open* 2 78

*Amateur

One final note on Stallings. Before winning at Torrey, the three-time PGA Tour winner didn't have much luck on the West Coast Swing. Prior to the Farmers, he made just four cuts in 15 starts in what had normally been the season-opening stretch of tournaments. It is just another example of how Sunday’s turn of events wasn’t the norm.

South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

The fourball results:

LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.

 

Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

Made Cut

The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

“The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

“Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


Missed Cut

Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET

Images and footage from Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson's round Friday at Trump National in Jupiter, Fla., alongside President Donald Trump:



Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''