Stat attack!: HP Byron Nelson Championship review

By John AntoniniMay 19, 2014, 2:29 am

Brendon Todd’s first career victory, a two-stroke win over Mike Weir Sunday at the HP Byron Nelson Championship certainly wasn’t accomplished in a conventional fashion. Todd became the eighth first-time winner on the PGA Tour this season – and the third in three events in the state of Texas – by hitting fairways and missing greens. He became the first player since Louis Oosthuizen in the 2010 British Open to win the same week he led the field in driving accuracy and he is one of two players in 2013-14 to win a tournament despite hitting fewer than 60 percent of the greens in regulation.

PGA Tour winners since 2008 who also led the field in driving accuracy

 Player Tournament
 Brendon Todd 2014 HP Byron Nelson Championship
 Louis Oosthuizen 2010 British Open
 Nathan Green 2009 Canadian Open
 Sergio Garcia 2008 Players
 Trevor Immelman 2008 Masters

Driving accuracy has become passe in the era of the big hitter, and is such a relatively unessential statistic that only two of the top-10 players on Tour in fairways hit are in the top 50 in the FedEx Cup standings (Zach Johnson and Jim Furyk). Todd is one of just six players in 2013-14 to lead an event in accuracy off the tee and still finish in the top five of a tournament.

Best finishes by the event leader in driving accuracy in 2013-14

 Player Tournament Finish
 Brendon Todd HP Byron Nelson Won
 Kevin Na Valspar Championship Second
 Zach Johnson Humana Challenge T-3
 Miguel A. Jimenez Masters T-4
 David Toms Puerto Rico Open T-4
 Henrik Stenson Arnold Palmer Inv. T-5

At the TPC Four Seasons Resort, Todd hit 40 fairways, including 12 each in the first and third rounds. He hit more fairways in round one than he did greens (12 to 10). Only one other player in the top five in the field in driving accuracy also finished in the top 10 at the Nelson.

Driving accuracy leaders at the HP Byron Nelson Championship

 Player Accuracy Finish
 Brendon Todd 71.43% (40 of 56) Won
 Charlie Wi 67.86 (38 of 56) T-29
 Brendon de Jonge 67.86 (38 of 56) T-29
 John Senden 67.86 (38 of 56) T-11
 Marc Leishman 66.07 (37 of 56) T-3
 Brian Harman 66.07 (37 of 56) T-29

As precise as Todd was off the tee, he didn’t transfer that success to his second shots. Todd hit a paltry 43 greens in regulation, including a woeful 17 on the front nine. He ranked T-55 in the field in GIR, the worst position for a winner on the PGA Tour this year and his 59.72 percentage of greens hit was the second worse for a winner this season.

Lowest GIR percentage for PGA Tour winners in 2013-14

  Player Tournament GIR percentage Tournament rank
 Patrick Reed WGC-Cadillac  58.33% T-28
 Brendon Todd HP Byron Nelson 59.72 T-55
 Steven Bowditch Valero Texas Open 61.11 T-15

Todd was able to recover from those missed greens with one of the better scrambling performances the folks at TPC Four Seasons Resort have seen in quite some time. He made par or better 25 of the 29 times he missed the green in regulation and his 86.21 scrambling percentage was the second-best mark at the Nelson in the last 10 years.

Best scrambling percentage at the HP Byron Nelson Championship: 2005-2014

 Player Year Scrambling Pct.
 Justin Bolli 2013 86.36% (19 of 22)
 Brendon Todd 2014 86.21 (25 of 29)
 Greg Chalmers 2009 84.21 (16 of 19)
 Nick Price 2005 84.00 (21 of 25)
 Johnson Wagner 2010 82.61 (19 of 23)

Todd played better on the back nine than the front nine. As mentioned earlier, he hit just 17 greens on the front but he improved to 26 on the back. It resulted in a six-stroke difference between his front-nine and back-nine scoring. After going out in four under for the week, Todd came home in 10 under, the best score on the back nine all week. Among players within five stroke of the lead only Boo Weekley was within five strokes of Todd’s total on the inward nine.

Back-nine/front-nine differential among the leaders at the Nelson

 Player Front nine Back nine Total 
 Brendon Todd -4 -10 -14
 Mike Weir  -8 -4 -12
 Charles Howell III -6 -4 -10
 Marc Leishman -7 -3 -10
 James Hahn -6 -3 -9
 Boo Weekley -3 -6 -9

Todd has played well on the back nine all year, ranking sixth on Tour in scoring in those holes.

Back-nine scoring leaders on Tour in 2013-14

 Rank Player Back-nine average
 1 Rory McIlroy 34.61
 2 Luke Donald 34.80
 3 Freddie Jacobson 34.87
 4 Sergio Garcia 34.92
 5 John Senden 34.93
 6 Brendon Todd 34.95

But unlike McIlroy or Donald, who rank 105th and 170th on Tour in front-nine scoring, respectively, Todd is having a fine time wherever he plays. He has an average of 35.08 on the front (ranked 30th), and his adjusted scoring average of 70.036 ranks 11th on Tour. It’s by far the best mark of his career.

Todd and runner-up Mike Weir led the field with 99 putts for the week. They became the fourth and fifth players to take fewer than 100 putts at the Nelson since the tournament moved to the TPC Four Seasons Resort course (originally TPC Las Colinas) in 1986.

Fewest putts at the Byron Nelson Championship

 Putts Player Year
 95 Mark O’Meara 1995
 97 Tim Herron 2008
 99 Brendon Todd 2014
 99 Mike Weir 2014
 99 David Graham 1988

For Weir, the second-place finish was his first since the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and his first top-10 finish since a solo sixth at the 2010 Bob Hope Classic, a streak of 88 starts. He is playing in 2013-14 on a one-time exemption for being in the top 50 on the all-time PGA Tour earnings list, but the runner-up finish should allow him to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs this fall for the first time since 2009. 

Mike Weir’s record since 2010

 Year Starts Cuts made Top 10s FedEx Cup rank Money rank
 2014 19 7 1 87 71
 2013 22 9 0 174 184
 2012 14 0 0 None None
 2011 15 2 0 259 240
 2010 19 11 1 128 151
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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.