Stat attack! Farmers Insurance Open statistical review

By John AntoniniJanuary 27, 2014, 2:30 pm

What an odd week at the Farmers Insurance Open. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson made the cut, but neither played on Sunday. Gary Woodland, the 54-hole leader made double bogey on the 17th hole in both weekend rounds and eventually finished three strokes back.

Precocious 20-year-old Jordan Spieth inexplicably followed a 63 on the North Course at Torrey Pines with a pair of 75s on the South Course on the weekend. And Scott Stallings, despite an opening-round 72, shot a 9-under 279 to beat a quintet of players by one stroke for his third PGA Tour victory.

It was the highest opening round by a winner this season, and the first time a player won despite opening at even par or worse since Justin Rose won the 2013 U.S. Open with a 1-over 71.

Highest opening rounds (to par) by PGA Tour winners since 2013

Kevin Streelman 2013 Tampa Bay Two-over 73
Justin Rose 2013 U.S. Open One-over 71
Scott Stallings 2014 Farmers Insurance Open Even-par 72
Graeme McDowell 2013 Heritage Even-par 71

Stallings, who birdied the last hole to take the lead, then waited out the final few groups, didn’t win at Torrey Pines in the conventional fashion.

Not one of the longest hitters in the field or the most accurate upon approach, Stallings took advantage of a deft putting touch, leading the field in strokes-gained putting by sinking 10 putts from more than 10 feet.

Only one other winner among the last six at the Farmers was also in the top 10 in strokes-gained putting. Stallings’ proximity to the hole on approach was the worst of the last six champions.

Statistical comparison of Farmers Insurance Open winners since 2009

Year Player Distance Prox. to hole Str. Gained/Putt. Putting from 10+ feet
2014 Scott Stallings 291.9 (24) 42 ft., 0 in. (63) 2.794 (1) 10/33; 30.30% (3)
2013 Tiger Woods 307.3 (2) 38 ft., 0 in. (T-49) 0.649 (28) 4/32; 12.50% (T43)
2012 Brandt Snedeker 284.8 (T-47) 36 ft., 10 in. (43) 1.473 (9) 9/38; 23.68% (5)
2011 Bubba Watson 316.1 (1) 25 ft., 10 in. (1) 0.247 (41) 6/31; 19.35% (T-22)
2010 Ben Crane 272.5 (T-51) 30 ft., 8 in. (6) 0.015 (45) 7/36; 19.44% (T-16)
2009 Nick Watney 268.8 (21) 35 ft., 7 in. (6) 0.253 (40) 2/30; 6.67% (64)

The 28-year-old Stallings continued the youth movement on the PGA Tour. He’s the sixth winner in his 20s this season.

Age of winners on the PGA Tour in 2013-14

Player Current age Birthday
Zach Johnson 37 Feb. 24, 1976
Jimmy Walker 35 Jan. 16, 1979
Ryan Moore 31 Dec. 5, 1982
Dustin Johnson 29 June 22, 1984
Webb Simpson 28 August 8, 1985
Chris Kirk 28 May 8, 1985
Scott Stallings 28 March 28, 1985
Harris English 24 July 23, 1989
Patrick Reed 23 Aug. 5, 1990

For most of the final round it appeared Woodland, not Stallings, would join the list of twenty-something winners. Playing in the final group, Woodland birdied No. 13 to get to 9 under, but a bogey on 14 and a double at 17 saw him fall to 6-under 282 for a T-10.

It was the worst finish by a 54-hole leader in 2013-14, and the biggest collapse by a player with sole possession of the 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event since Brendon de Jonge took a one-stroke lead into the final round of the 2012 AT&T National and shot 77 to finish T-11.

Worst finish by a 54-hole leader in a PGA Tour event in 2013-14

Gary Woodland T-10 Farmers Insurance Open
Dustin Johnson T-6 Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Robert Karlsson T-6 OHL Classic at Mayakoba

Spieth, too, had his chances, but he never got on track on the weekend when he returned to Torrey Pines South after his second-round 63. The 12-stroke difference between his 63 and his third-round 75 matches the largest differential between rounds two and three for any player on tour this season.

The most strokes gained between rounds two and three on the PGA Tour in 2013-14

12 Jordan Spieth Farmers Insurance Open 63-75
12 Marc Leishman CIMB Classic 65-77
12 D.J. Trahan Humana Challenge 68-80
11 Camilo Villegas Open 66-77

On Sunday Woods and Mickelson were nowhere to be found. Although both players made the cut, neither played Sunday.

Mickelson was the first to leave, withdrawing Friday night with a sore back after finishing his second round in a tie for 32nd at 2-under 142. He was one stroke better than Woods at the time.

Midway through Saturday, it was Woods who was feeling the pain. Starting his round on No. 10, Woods was 1 under through eight holes before making two double bogeys and five bogeys on the next seven holes. The 79 matched his third highest score in a PGA Tour event.

Tiger Woods highest rounds on the PGA Tour

Tournament Round Score
2002 British Open 3 81
1994 Nestle Invitational* 1 80
2014 Farmers Insurance Open 3 79
2013 Memorial Tournament 3 79
2010 Quail Hollow Championship 2 79
1996 TOUR Championship 2 78
1995 British Open* 4 78
1993 Honda Classic* 2 78
1999 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am 3 78
1993 Nissan Los Angeles Open* 2 78


One final note on Stallings. Before winning at Torrey, the three-time PGA Tour winner didn't have much luck on the West Coast Swing. Prior to the Farmers, he made just four cuts in 15 starts in what had normally been the season-opening stretch of tournaments. It is just another example of how Sunday’s turn of events wasn’t the norm.

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Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

“It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  

Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

“Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

“Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

“But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

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Tee times, TV schedule, stats for Wyndham Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 9:55 pm

It's the last tournament of the PGA Tour's regular season as the top 125 in the FedExCup points list advance to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for the Wyndham Championship. (Click here for tee times)

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream:

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream:

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Purse: $6 million

Course: Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards)

Defending champion: Henrik Stenson. Last year he defeated Ollie Schniederjans by one stroke to earn his sixth career PGA Tour win.

Notables in the field

Henrik Stenson at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Henrik Stenson

• Missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship

• Six top-10 finishes this year, including T-5 at the Masters and T-6 at the U.S. Open

Sergio Garcia

• Eight missed cuts in last 10 PGA Tour starts

• Currently 131 in FedExCup standings (33 points back of 125th)

Webb Simpson

• Five top-10 finishes in this event since 2010 (won in 2011)

• 56 under par in last five years in this event (best of any player in that span)

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Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

"I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

"What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."

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McDowell needs Wyndham result to maintain status

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:56 pm

For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.

The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.

McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran's best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

"I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me," McDowell told reporters earlier this month at the Barracuda Championship. "I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season."

By finishing Nos. 126-150 in points after this week, McDowell would retain conditional status that would likely ensure him at least 12-15 starts next season. He would also still have privileges as a past tournament champion.

But he's not the only winner from the 2015-16 season whose two-year exemption is on the verge of running out. Fabian Gomez (160th), Peter Malnati (164th) and Billy Hurley III (202nd) all need big results in Greensboro to keep their cards, while Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and Matt Every all earned three-year exemptions for victories in 2015 but currently sit Nos. 139, 140 and 184 in points, respectively.

Last year four players moved into the top 125 thanks to strong play at Wyndham, with the biggest jump coming from Rory Sabbatini, who went from No. 148 to No. 122 after tying for fourth place.