Stat attack! Phoenix Open statistical review

By John AntoniniFebruary 3, 2014, 1:40 pm

It was a day of firsts Sunday the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Kevin Stadler won his first PGA Tour event in his 239th start. Which means that Kevin and his father, Craig, are set to become the first father-son duo to compete in the same Masters. Stadler was also the first player in 2013-14 to finish in the top 10 in the field in greens in regulation and fairways hit in the same week that he won – and he is very likely the first person to win despite getting his ball stuck on a cactus, on the 11th hole of the final round.

Father-son winners on the PGA Tour

Tom Morris, Sr. and Tom Morris, Jr.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. and Joe Kirkwood, Jr.
Willie Park, Sr. and Willie Park, Jr.
Clayton Heafner and Vance Heafner
Jakie Burke, Sr. and Jackie Burke, Jr.
Julius Boros and Guy Boros
Al Geiberger and Brent Geiberger
Jay Haas and Bill Haas
Craig Stadler and Kevin Stadler

Five members of that group – the Boroses, the Geibergers, the Haases, the Haefners and the Kirkwoods – are among the 11 father-son combos to play in the Masters, and the Stadlers would join them. The Kirkwoods came the closest to playing in the same year, with the elder Joe playing his final Masters in 1948 and junior playing for the first time in 1949.

Young Stadler’s victory was not so much unexpected – Bubba Watson’s short missed putt on 18 Sunday notwithstanding – as it was overdue. Only four golfers who had played in a PGA Tour event this season have played more without a victory than Stadler.

Most starts by an active PGA Tour player without a victory*

Brett Quigley 404
Briny Baird 368
Greg Chalmers 341
Brian Davis 285

*Brandt Jobe, who was 149th on the 2013 FedEx Cup standings, has not played yet in 2013-14. He has 331 events without a win.

Stadler was T-10 in fairways hit and greens in regulation at TPC Scottsdale. He was also fifth in approach-shot proximity to the hole and T-5 in scrambling. He has fared exceptionally well in all four of those categories this season.

Stadler’s stats last week and for the year

  Driving Accuracy Greens in regulation Proximity to hole (app) Scrambling
Event 67.86% (T-10) 77.78% (T-10) 32 feet, 7 inches (5) 75% (T-5)
Year 69.16% (17) 72.45% (T-36) 32 feet, 3 inches (T-15) 62.18% (41)

Stadler was the sixth consecutive Phoenix Open winner to finish in the top 10 in the field in greens in regulation.

Past WMPO winners rank in GIR 

Year Player GIR (rank)
2014 Kevin Stadler 56/72 (T-10)
2013 Phil Mickelson 63/72 (1)
2012 Kyle Stanley 57/72 (T-3)
2011 Mark Wilson 61/72 (1)
2010 Hunter Mahan 60/72 (1)
2009 Kenny Perry 53/72 (T-3)

This marks the second consecutive year that Stadler has shot four rounds in the 60s at TPC Scottsdale. His T-11 finish in 2013 was by far his best in this event prior to this year.

Year Finish Scores
2014 1 65-68-67-68=268
2013 T-11 68-68-69-63=268
2012 T-70 70-71-76-71=288
2011 MC 73-71=144
2010 T-70 66-73-77-68=284
2008 WD 69-67-76=212

The Masters isn’t the only tournament the victory gets Stadler into for the first time. The win moves him from 127th to 57th on the world ranking and secures his spot in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship for the first time. The top 64 players on the world ranking after this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am will advance, and if Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott all withdraw, as expected, the next four players will also qualify. Here’s who is on the bubble for the Match Play after the Phoenix Open.

World Rank Player Last Week
62 Mark Leishman MC, WMPO
63 Boo Weekley DNP
64 Richard Sterne T-54, Dubai
65 Scott Piercy T-15, WMPO
66 Kiradech Aphibarnrat T-67, WMPO
67 Brendon de Jonge T-53, WMPO
68 Brooks Koepka T-3, Dubai
69 Peter Uihlein MC, Dubai
70 Hyung-sung Kim DNP

Bubba Watson, meanwhile, lost despite holding the 54-hole lead for the sixth time in seven tries.

Watson with the 54-hole lead

Event Through 54 holes Sunday Result
2014 WMPO Led by two 71 Second
2013 Travelers Tied for lead 70 Fourth
2012 WGC-Cadillac Led by three 74 Second
2011 Deutsche Bank Led by one 74 T-16
2011 Zurich Tied for lead 69 Won playoff
2008 Arnold Palmer Tied for lead 72 T-8
2007 Shell Houston Led by three 72 T-2

Watson didn’t miss a putt from less than 5 feet at TPC Scottsdale, but was only seven of 12 from 5-7 feet, including his miss on the 72nd hole that would have forced a playoff with Stadler. Watson made 13 of 24 putts from 5-10 feet for the week, ranking 46th among players who made the cut. However, that is a slightly better percentage than Watson has for the season, his 47.22 percentage ranking 143rd on Tour. Stadler, who survived despite his own miss from that range on the last hole, made 10 of 14 putts from 5-10 feet and was 11th in the field for the week and 25th on Tour in 2013-14.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

Getty Images

Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

Getty Images

Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.