Stats Dont Nearly Tell Lukes Story

By George WhiteDecember 12, 2005, 5:00 pm
Hes a living, breathing example of just how misleading statistics can be. If all you had to go by were a roomful of stats, you would miss just about all of what makes Luke Donald so successful.
 
Donald won Tiger Woods tournament Sunday. That highlighted a most intriguing year in which Donald was 185th in driving length on tour this year, was 75th in fairways hit, was 83rd in putting ' and still was 17th in earnings with $2,480,562. He finished the year with the second longest consecutive cuts streak of 15.
 
How does he do it? He finishes tied for second in the Buick Invitational outside San Diego; he finishes tied for second in The Players after leading for three rounds, was tied for third at the Masters, tied for sixth at the WCG-NEC. In Europe, the 28-year-old Englishman tied for fourth at the European Masters, tied for third at the Volvo Masters.
 
Luke Donald
Luke Donald's bunker game was part of the reason for his success.
So - again - Just how did he do it? Well, an important clue comes from the greens-hit category. In that important statistic, he was 22nd. And when he didnt hit the green but instead landed in a greenside bunker, he was No. 1 in average distance after he exploded out. He averaged being just over seven feet away from the cup in all his sand shots.
 
And, he was No. 4 in scoring average. So there must have been a little moxie in there, too. He was rarely out of a hole.
 
And, he finally won on Sunday against one of the years stronger fields. That was eye-opening, even if it were only an exhibition.
 
I think it's just a nice feeling to know that I came here and beat a very, very strong field, Donald said. Sixteen of the top 20 players in the world were here. There are a few guys outside the top 20, but it was a very, very strong field, and that's a lot of satisfaction, to know that you can come here, play one bad round, even the first round, and still win.
 
Donald is something of a Renaissance man. A native of Hempstead, England, he went to university at Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., a Chicago suburb. He remained in Chicago after college when just about every other collegiate golfer was moving to sunny climates - though he has just bought a second home in Jupiter, Fla. Donald is an avid painter and majored in art theory and practice at Northwestern. One of his paintings was sold at auction and fetched $1,640.
 
But on the golf course, he is a get-down-in-the-dirt type of player. He grinds and grinds until he gets close to the top. And on occasion, he goes all the way to the top.
 
The fact that he hasnt gotten there before last week was getting to be a sore point with him. I've had a lot of tournaments where I've had a chance to win, he said, but I haven't. That was really the only frustrating part, really, just not quite closing the deal when I had a chance to win.

But, you know, I think I'm learning from those, and hopefully next year, once you win a couple times, it makes it a lot easier.
 
Of course, it didnt make it any easier that he couldnt get over the hump this year. He rose all the way to No. 14 in the world by the time the last world rankings were published, but he still had this nagging little thing to overcome ' he hadnt won. Until last week, that is.

It did bother me, said Donald. I mean, one of my goals was to win this year. You know, I'll definitely take this one. I would have loved to have won a regular tour event, but winning this is just as good.
 
The one that bothered me the most probably was The Players Championship. I think it was that one that obviously it was a tough final day (he shot 40 on the front side Sunday) with the weather and everything, and a few shots that I hit well ended up costing me. But I still had a good lead playing the final round and didn't win.
 
But here he is, a winner at last. And dont think those statistics of his are an indication of how he has played this year. He has played quite well, actually, and if last week was an indication, hes going to play better next year.
 
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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.

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Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.


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“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010. 

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Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

“That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

So was Woods.

DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

“His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

“He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told PGATour.com afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.


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“The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

“Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told ESPN.com, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

“Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time.