Stats that will sock you

By Big BreakNovember 27, 2012, 4:52 pm

Let me get it out of the way – mid-range socks are making a comeback. I figured I’d experiment with it a little bit on the latest episode and from my Twitter feed apparently you guys don’t agree. While I’ll never force a trend on anybody, my intuition tells me that mid-rangers are coming back in style. People like to express themselves, that’s a given. Socks are just another avenue to express. Be prepared or you’ll get socked.

I quickly want to get this out of the way too – every shot from the day was shown…and I mean EVERY shot. No edits, no cuts, everything was included. I wish they cut my first two drives. Or should I say, I wish I cut my first two drives.

I have a confession. After missing those first two drives I was more than nervous, I was downright scared! At that point we didn't know what our totals were counting for, but I knew the total of 202 yards was not going to get me anywhere good. Luckily on the last drive I found the clubface with a really good drive (for me) and pounded one out there 299. Pound for pound, that's really good.

When we arrived to the second part of the challenge and learned what the rules were, it became quite apparent that this segment was the most crucial. Everything could change so quickly with an inch being the difference. All of us loved the dynamic of the challenge and watching it on TV was more exhilarating than expected. At one point, Mark had a shot that would put him into first or last. If you ain't first you're last.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I or the rest of us hit good shots from the 140-yard location. Even when I watched previous seasons I always thought, “This shot is easy! Anybody can hit it inside 20 feet from 140 yards.  For some reason it seems so easy when you’re watching it on TV because the benchmarks that are given look very attainable. You see, during the course of a round, you never think about how close you NEED to hit it, you just think about hitting it close. If you happen to hit it just outside 20 feet from 140 yards, who cares because with a good putt you could still easily make birdie. It doesn't even feel that bad.

On the Big Break however, with the scoring rings and yardage poles, the line between a defined great shot and a bad shot is so exact. Nineteen feet is great, 21 feet is bad. But really, is 21 feet that bad?

I decided to look up some stats of PGA Tour players from 125-150 and what I found was quite enlightening. Just take a look below. Rory McIlroy, for example, averages almost 20 feet on the same shots that we were hitting. Essentially that means he hits half of his shots outside of 20 feet from that distance. So when we’re up there hitting them just outside of 20 feet that really isn't that bad. We should be able to hit it inside regularly, yes, but to do it every time simply isn't going to happen.

For the record, my shots so far on the show from 125-150 have been 21, 14, 5, 9, 18, 3, 23, 20, and 23’ (in that order). That average is 15.1’.

When I calculated my numbers I decided, hey, why not take a look at the rest of the players. As a group, from 125-150, so far we have averaged 19.7’ (48 attempts). Individually, here are all the player’s average proximities (# of attempts in parenthesis):

Mike – 12.3 (4)
Chan – 15.0 (4)
Brian – 15.0 (4)
James – 15.1 (9)
Anthony – 18.8 (6)
Mark – 19.3 (3)
Ray – 24.4 (7)
Isaac – 26.6 (5)
Rick – 27.8 (6)

Obviously this isn't a direct comparison to Rory McIlroy or other PGA Tour players because the scenarios are much different, but it does demonstrate that competitors on the Big Break aren't as terrible as many people think. If you read any of the commentary on Big Break’s Facebook page, you’ll see that many people think we’re terrible. Simply put – we’re not.

Before today I've never calculated my proximity to the hole from any distance. Researching the PGA Tour numbers made me realize that inside 20’ from 140 isn't that automatic. Had I known that prior I wouldn't have been so aggressive with my selections.

So in summary, my socks and our shots are better than you think ;-)

Till next time,

James Lepp

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Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

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Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

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Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: