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.

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward the back-right hole location, about 25 feet away, closer than both Fleetwood and Johnson.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in four months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014. 

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."