Stat attack!: Hyundai TOC statistical preview

By Golf Channel Digital, John AntoniniJanuary 1, 2014, 1:00 pm

After a six-week hiatus, the PGA Tour returns to action with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course, beginning Friday. Dustin Johnson overwhelmed the 30-man field a year ago, winning by four strokes in the tournament that was basically a two-day, 54-hole sprint, because heavy winds pummeled Maui on what would have been the first three days of play.

Read that sentence again and you’ll understand why Johnson was the perfect winner for the TOC in 2013. The key words are “54 holes” and “30-man field.” Of Johnson’s eight career wins, three have come in weather-shortened events and six came in tournaments that did not feature the Tour’s standard 132- to 156-player field. Bigger, smaller, shorter, it doesn’t matter. As long as it’s out of the ordinary. The only thing Johnson hasn’t won is a longer event, with none of his eight titles coming in a playoff.

Field size/tournament length of Dustin Johnson’s PGA Tour victories:

Event Field size Number of holes
2008 Turning Stone 132 72
2009 AT&T National Pro-Am 180 54
2010 AT&T National Pro-Am 180 72
2010 BMW Championship 70 72
2011 Barclays 125 54
2012 FedEx St. Jude Classic 156 72
2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions 30 54
2013 HSBC Champions 78 72

Thirty golfers are scheduled to participate in the 2014 Hyundai. That’s the same number as last year, as five eligible performers - Graeme McDowell, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Tiger Woods - have opted out. If no one else withdraws, the Hyundai will match the Tour Championship as the smallest field on the PGA Tour this year.

Perhaps surprisingly, one thing that doesn’t make Johnson a favorite this week is his length off the tee. It’s not that long hitters have a disadvantage on Kapalua’s wide fairways. It’s just that the length advantage is negated somewhat because the contours of the course usually add distance off the tee to everyone in the field - provided, of course, the wind isn’t blowing a gale into your face. True, Johnson led the tournament in distance of all drives in 2013 (he was second in official driving distance), but the winners from 2010-12 were all in the bottom half of the field in that statistic. (2012 champ Steve Stricker and 2010 champ Geoff Ogilvy were 17th in the field in distance, and 2011 champ Jonathan Byrd was 18th.)

Last year’s wind kept the distance of all drives down to 282.3 yards, but in 2012 the average was 296.5 yards. Both numbers were higher than the Tour average. In addition to long drives, the Plantation Course also often yields a higher percentage of fairways hit and greens in regulation. Johnson took advantage in only one of those categories. He was second in greens in regulation at Kapalua in 2013 and last in fairways hit, no doubt a result of the heavy wind. Johnson hit 48 greens, 88.89 percent, while the tournament average was 80.37 percent. In driving accuracy, Johnson hit 23 of 45 fairways. His 51.11 percent was lower than the tournament average of 67.48 percent.

The Plantation Course’s averages in 2012-13 compared to the PGA Tour:

2012

  Plantation Course at Kapalua PGA Tour
Avg. distance of all drives 296.5 yards 282.2 yards
Driving accuracy 64.44% 60.67%
Greens in regulation 81.64%  63.98%

2013

  Plantation Course at Kapalua PGA Tour
Avg. distance of all drives 282.3 yards 280.0 yards
Driving accuracy 67.48% 61.05%
Greens in regulation 80.37% 64.42%

Does Johnson have a chance to repeat in 2014? Sure. This event has had its share of back-to-back winners recently with Ogilvy winning in 2009 and 2010 and Stuart Appleby winning from 2004-06. So Johnson has the field size and the repeat factor going for him. And if the wind blows - remember he also won the 2011 Barclays in New Jersey when Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the East Coast - we like his chances even more.

In an effort to help fantasy golf players with their selections this week, here’s a primer on how the rest of the field has fared at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Click here for Power Rankings.

Woody Austin: The oldest player in the field first played the TOC in 1996 when it was held at LaCosta. He was 26th that year, and has finished 12th and T-18 in his two starts in Hawaii.

Sang-Moon Bae: The only Korean in the field, Bae is making his tournament debut.

Jonas Blixt: He was T-18 in his first start a year ago.

Scott Brown: Making his tournament debut. No player has won the Hyundai after qualifying for it by winning an event held opposite a top tournament since Steve Pate, who won in 1988 after taking the 1987 Southwest Golf Classic, which was held the same week as the Ryder Cup.

Jason Dufner: T-18 in his debut a year ago. The last reigning major champion to win the TOC was 2002 British Open champ Ernie Els, who won at Kapalua in 2003. With Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson opting out of this event, Dufner and Masters champ Adam Scott are the only players who can match Els this week.

Ken Duke: Making his tournament debut.

Harris English: Making his tournament debut.

Derek Ernst: Making his tournament debut.

Brian Gay: T-18 in 2009, 21st in 2011. He has never shot lower than 70, but all eight of his rounds have been under par.

Bill Haas: Making his fourth start. He has one top 10, an eighth-place finish in his debut in 2011.

Russell Henley: He’s the only player in the field who has won every PGA Tour event he has played in Hawaii, having won the 2013 Sony Open in his debut a year ago. But the Sony and the Hyundai are not compatible events: Waialae’s fairways were the second-toughest to hit in 2013, while Kapaula’s were 34th out of 43 courses. Waialae’s greens were the 29th-hardest to hit in 2013 while Kapalua’s were the easiest on Tour.

Billy Horschel: Making his tournament debut.

Dustin Johnson: With Mickelson and Woods not playing this week, Johnson is the only player in the field with a win in this event.

Zach Johnson: He’s won in Hawaii, taking the 2009 Sony Open, but as we mentioned in the Henley note, these two events can’t be more dissimilar. Interestingly, 2009 was the only time in six previous starts that he finished in the top 15 at Kapalua (T-6).

Chris Kirk: He had a pretty good debut two years ago, finishing T-7 in 2012 in his only appearance.

Matt Kuchar: He’s played four times and has three top 10s, with a best of third place in 2010. Fourteen of his previous 15 rounds at Kapalua have been at par or better. 

Martin Laird: The Scot looks like a fit for the winds of Kapalua. He was T-4 in 2010 and second a year ago. He has never shot higher than 70 in eight rounds entering 2014.

John Merrick: Making his tournament debut.

Ryan Moore: Played poorly in the wind a year ago (T-28), but he was T-6 in 2010.

D.A. Points: He was T-12 in 2012, his only appearance.

Patrick Reed: Making his tournament debut.

Adam Scott: The runner-up in 2007, Scott has three top 10s in five starts and 19 of his 20 rounds have been at par or better. The way he finished 2013, winning two of three Australasian Tour events, puts him of the short list of top contenders this week. 

Webb Simpson: T-3 in 2012 and T-11 in 2013. He has never shot a round over par at Kapalua.

Brandt Snedeker: Recovering from injuries suffered in a Segway accident in November, he was T-10 in 2008, third in 2013. 

Jordan Spieth: Making his tournament debut

Kevin Streelman: Making his tournament debut.

Michael Thompson: Making his tournament debut.

Jimmy Walker: Making his tournament debut.

Boo Weekley: He was T-23 in 2008 and T-15 in 2009.

Gary Woodland: He was 24th in 2012.

ONE FINAL NOTE: Austin is the only player in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions field to win a PGA Tour event after last year’s Masters who is not also eligible for the 2014 Masters. Austin won in Mississippi the week of the British Open and did not qualify for Augusta because the event did not award full FedEx Cup points.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

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

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm