On The Range Blog - March 14


On The Range Talent
Host: Gary Williams (Golf Channel)
Analyst: Billy Kratzert (4-time PGA TOUR winner)
Analyst: Wayne Player (Instructor & Founder of The Player Approach)

This Week’s Events
Transitions Championship
Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead) - St. Pete/Clearwater, FL
Defending Champion: Gary Woodland

Marquee Player
Jim Furyk
-2010 Transitions Champion
-2010 FedExCup Champion
-2003 U.S. Open winner
-16 career PGA TOUR wins
-Caddie: Mike 'Fluff' Cowan
-Swing Instructor: Mike Furyk

Course Survey
Innisbrook Resort - Copperhead (Par 71 – 7,340 yards)

-Got to have a solid short game: The past four winners have finished Top 7 in the field in both Strokes Gained – Putting and Scrambling.

-Distance not necessarily necessary: Despite notorious bomber Gary Woodland winning last year, distance isn’t a key to victory. 2010 winner Jim Furyk ranked 73rd in the field in driving distance. Innisbrook had the 4th shortest average driving distance of any course on the 2011 PGA TOUR and had the 2nd lowest percentage of players going for Par 5s in two the past two seasons.

-Any given Sunday: 3 of the past 4 winners came from behind in the Final Round to win the tournament. Jim Furyk in 2010 was the only 54-hole leader to hold on and win.

-Get ready for an exciting finish: 4 of the past 5 years the tournament has been decided by just one stroke. The largest margin of victory in the past 5 years was Sean O’Hair in 2008 who won by two leaving 6 players in a tie for 2nd.

Top 5: Players in their 40s
Some of the top players of the past two decades are in the field at the Transitions Championship. Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk and K.J. Choi are all past champions but where do they currently stack up against fellow 40-somethings? Here are the results of our On The Range Poll and our analyst rankings for Top 5 Players in their 40s (Share your thoughts or Top 5 in the comments section):

Gary Williams
1. Phil Mickelson ('Still a top 5 talent in the world and can win anywhere.')
2. Steve Stricker
3. K.J. Choi
4. Jim Furyk
5. Ernie Els

Billy Kratzert
1. Phil Mickelson ('Still winning and is always a favorite to win another Major.')
2. Steve Stricker
3. Ernie Els
4. Jim Furyk
5. Vijay Singh

Viewer Poll Results
1. Phil Mickelson
2. Steve Stricker
3. K.J. Choi
4. Miguel Angel Jimenez
5. Jim Furyk

Featured Groups
Transitions Championship
Coverage Begins Thursday at 2:30PM ET on Golf Channel

Thursday, 1:22PM ET (1st)
Gary Woodland, Webb Simpson, Scott Stallings

Thursday, 1:33PM ET (1st)
Luke Donald, Justin Rose, K.J. Choi

Friday, 1:22PM ET (1st)
Matt Kuchar, Jason Day, Ernie Els

Friday, 1:33PM ET (1st)
Sergio Garcia, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker