Stat attack!: HP Byron Nelson Championship preview

By John AntoniniMay 14, 2014, 2:12 am

At the HP Byron Nelson Championship at the TPC Four Seasons Course at Las Colinas, it’s not so much how many greens you hit, but how close you can hit your approaches. Failing to put the ball in the right position on the large, undulating putting surfaces can take birdie out of the equation. Knocking at pins is more important than just hitting greens, so there's more of an emphasis on proximity to the hole on approach shots than there would be on a course with smallish greens. If you can hit it close and still make the long putts, you’ll go a long way toward winning.

That’s the recipe Sang-Moon Bae used last year to win his first PGA Tour event. The Korean was T-9 in greens in regulation, T-13 in proximity to the hole and T-1 in putting from more than 10 feet.

Key stats by winners of the Byron Nelson Championship

 Year Player GIR (rank) Proximity to
hole (rank)
Putting from
10+ feet (rank)
 2013 Sang-Moon Bae 73.61% (T-9) 31' 1" (T-13) 12/43; 27.91% (T-1)
 2012 Jason Dufner 80.56 (1) 27' 0" (1) 8/46; 17.39 (T-24)
 2011 Keegan Bradley 65.28 (T-6) 37' 7" (T-32) 3/43; 6.98 (T-71)
 2010 Jason Day 59.72 (T-50) 37' 9" (53) 10/38; 26.32 (T-2)
 2009 Rory Sabbatini 68.06 (T-38) 30' 0" (T-11) 10/34; 29.41 (1)
 2008 Adam Scott 63.89 (T-9) 39' 8" (33) 10/40; 25.00 (5)
 2007 Scott Verplank 73.61 (T-5) 26' 10" (5) 6/29; 20.69 (17)
 2006 Brett Wetterich 75.00 (T-3) 29’ 0”(2) 5/36; 13.89 (T-44)

Bae’s percentages in the above stats were better than his season averages, going a long way toward explaining how a player who had just one top-25 finish all year could post four rounds in the 60s. In 2014, Bae hasn’t shown much seasonal improvement in the three statistics.

Bae’s statistical ranking at the Nelson, and on Tour in 2013

  GIR Proximity to hole Putting from 10+ feet
 Nelson 73.61% (T-9) 31' 1" (T-13) 27.91% (T-1)
 2013 season 63.72 (127) 35’ 3” (T-103) 18.70 (6)
2014 season 62.29 (T-166) 39’ 2” (T-177) 17.73 (16)


It was Bae’s first visit to the Byron Nelson Championship and he became the third player in four years (with Keegan Bradley in 2011 and Jason Day in 2010) to win in his first appearance at TPC Four Seasons. They are among the 11 players who claimed their first career wins at the Byron Nelson Championship. Six of them have done so since 2000.

Players who got their first win at the Byron Nelson Championship

 Year Player
 2013 Sang Moon Bae
 2011 Keegan Bradley
 2010 Jason Day
 2006 Brett Wetterich
 2005 Ted Purdy
 2001 Robert Damron

The greens at TPC Four Seasons might be larger than most, but they’re not necessarily easy to hit. The field averaged 65.45 percent in 2013, which was the highest percentage in the last six years. The fairways also ranked among the hardest to hit since 2008.

GIR and Fairways hit percentage at the Nelson: 2008-2013

 Year GIR Pct. Acuracy Pct.
 2013 65.45% (23) 55.53% (9)
 2012 62.40 (17) 52.47 (8)
 2011 56.22 (3) 52.74 (6)
 2010 62.01 (13) 48.94 (2)
 2009 65.06 (26) 55.05 (9)
 2008 53.68 (4) 54.95 (10)

Most of the top players on the Official World Golf Ranking are taking the week off, with only 14 of the top 50 players in the world making the trip from Ponte Vedra Beach. The best of this group has had success at Las Colinas. Fifth-ranked Matt Kuchar, eighth-ranked Jordan Spieth and 14th-ranked Dustin Johnson have never missed the cut at the Nelson.

Kuchar, Spieth and Johnson at the Byron Nelson Championship

 Player 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
 Matt Kuchar T-33 T-15 T-6        T-39 T-42 T-39
 Jordan Spieth T-68   T-32 T-16      
 Dustin Johnson     T-20 T-7 T-4 T-63  

But it isn’t the top-ranked players who have been winning on Tour in 2013-14, has it? Even Martin Kaymer, for all his world-class talent, was ranked just 61st in the world before winning last week’s Players. That’s a ranking that fits right in with who has been lifting trophies this season. Only three Tour winners were ranked in the top 20 in the world at the time of their victory, seven ranked between 21 and 50, and eight ranked between 51 and 100. Here’s a look at the nine players in this week’s field who rank between 51 and 100.

Players in the Nelson field ranked between 51-100 on the world ranking

 Rank Player Nelson starts Best finish
 71 Marc Leishman 6 T-3, 2012
 73 Boo Weekley 2 T-63, 2012
 77  Peter Hanson None  
 78 Charles Howell III 11 T-7, 2013
 83 Brendon de Jonge 3 T-51, 2007
 84 Brooks Koepka None  
 85  Ryo Ishikawa 1  
 86 Angel Cabrera 1 T-10, 2013
 95 Paul Casey None T-12, 2013

One final thought: Although Americans have dominated the PGA Tour in 2013-14, at least in the heavy lifting categories – trophies and paychecks – and players from only four countries have won this year, the Nelson’s roll of champions has a cosmopolitan feel. Since 2000, players from eight different countries have won the Nelson, with six Americans leading the way. There have been two Australian champs and one winner from Sweden, Japan, Fiji, Spain, South Africa and South Korea.

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Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 22, 2018, 7:20 pm

Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
(1) D. Johnson: 0-1-0 (2) J. Thomas: 1-0-0 (3) J. Rahm: 0-0-1 (4) J. Spieth: 2-0-0
(32) K. Kisner: 0-0-1 (21) F. Molinari: 1-0-0 (28) K. Aphibarnrat: 1-0-0 (19) P. Reed: 2-0-0
(38) A. Hadwin: 0-0-1
(48) P. Kizzire: 0-1-0 (43) C. Reavie: 0-1-0 (34) H. Li: 0-2-0
(52) B. Wiesberger: 1-0-0
(60) L. List: 0-1-0 (63) K. Bradley: 0-0-1 (49) C. Schwartzel: 0-2-0
Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
(5) H. Matsuyama: 1-0-0 (6) R. McIlroy: 0-1-0 (7) S. Garcia: 1-0-0 (8) J. Day: 1-0-0
(30) P. Cantlay: 0-1-0
(18) B. Harman: 0-0-1 (20) X. Schauffele: 1-0-0 (25) L. Oosthuizen: 1-0-0
(46) C. Smith: 1-0-0 (44) J. Vegas: 0-0-1 (41) D. Frittelli: 0-1-0 (42) J. Dufner: 0-1-0
(53) Y. Miyazato: 0-1-0 (51) P. Uihlein: 1-0-0 (62) S. Sharma: 0-1-0 (56) J. Hahn: 0-1-0
Group 9 Group 10 Group 11 Group 12
(9) T. Fleetwood: 1-1-0 (10) P. Casey: 1-0-0 (11) M. Leishman: 0-1-0 (12) T. Hatton: 1-0-0
(26) D. Berger: 0-2-0 (31) M. Fitzpatrick: 0-1-0 (23) B. Grace: 0-1-0 (22) C. Hoffman: 0-1-0
(33) K. Chappell: 1-1-0 (45) K. Stanley: 1-0-0 (35) B. Watson: 1-0-0 (36) B. Steele: 1-0-0
(58) I. Poulter: 2-0-0 (51) R. Henley: 0-1-0 (64) J. Suri: 1-0-0 (55) A. Levy: 0-1-0
Group 13 Group 14 Group 15 Group 16
(13) A. Noren: 2-0-0 (14) P. Mickelson: 0-1-0 (15) P. Perez: 0-0-1 (16) M. Kuchar: 0-0-1
(29) T. Finau: 2-0-0 (17) R. Cabrera Bello: 1-0-0 (24) G. Woodland: 0-0-1 (27) R. Fisher: 0-1-0
(39) T. Pieters: 0-2-0 (40) S. Kodaira: 0-1-0 (37) W. Simpson: 0-0-1 (47) Y. Ikeda: 1-0-0
(61) K. Na: 0-2-0 (59) C. Howell III: 1-0-0 (50) S.W. Kim: 0-0-1 (54) Z. Johnson: 0-0-1
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Watch: Bubba hits 366-yard tee shot ... with an iron

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 22, 2018, 6:47 pm

You know Bubba Watson is plenty long off the tee. And when you put a little wind to his back and let him hit downhill, the ball is bound to travel a great distance.

But, still, this is a 366-yard tee shot at the par-4 ninth hole at Austin C.C. ... with an iron. Yeah, it runs for a long time. But, again, 366 ... with an iron.

Watson won the hole with a par and made the turn, 2 up, in his Day 2 match against Marc Leishman at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

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Romo starts hot, stumbles to 77 in PGA Tour debut

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 5:14 pm

There was plenty of good, but also plenty of bad for Tony Romo in his PGA Tour debut.

Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 4-8.

The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:

But the back nine wasn't as kind for the 37-year-old, who dropped five shots in a four-hole stretch from Nos. 13-16. It added up to a 5-over 77 in the opening round, which left Romo ahead of only Guy Boros among the players who had finished in the morning wave.

"I hit two poor tee balls. Just didn't commit to it, and ultimately just got put in a tough spot where you're just trying to make par," Romo said. "I hit a lot of good shots, and they ended up a couple times in some poor spots. But you learn the golf course as you play it throughout the week."

Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Romo was even par through 12 holes before a three-putt bogey from the fringe on No. 13. A nasty lie in the rough led to a double bogey on the par-5 14th, and Romo had to hit provisional tee shots on both Nos. 15 and 16. While he ultimately found his original ball on both holes, he left with a pair of bogeys.

"I really hit some good shots, and I'm close," Romo said. "I had a chance to be under par pretty easily there for a while, and then two or three shots on the back nine cost me. But that's golf."

Romo will tee off at 1 p.m. ET Friday in the second round alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

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Horschel, Kisner & Perez join "Feherty," Monday, March 26 at 9 p.m. ET

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMarch 22, 2018, 5:10 pm

PREVIEW: Perez details rocky collegiate golf experience at Arizona State

Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner and Pat Perez – each winners of multiple events on the PGA TOUR – will join David Feherty on his self-titled, Emmy-nominated series Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance®, Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

“This might be the biggest group of benign social deviants I’ve ever had the privilege of speaking to,” said Feherty. “They’ve been responsible for nine career wins on TOUR collectively, but they’re each also capable of getting into some mischief.”

The episode – filmed in Naples, Fla. – will touch upon several topics, including:

  • Their respective upbringings and corresponding introductions to golf.
  • Reflections on their junior golf and collegiate playing days, and how it helped prepare them to compete as a professional.
  • Contemplating which mulligan(s) they’d take in their life if given the opportunity.

Future guests on Feherty this year include Paul Azinger, Stewart Cink, Boo Weekley and Paul Goydos, among others.

A two-time Emmy-nominated host (Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Host) Feherty has been described as “golf’s iconoclast,” by Rolling Stone, and “the last unscripted man on TV,” by Men’s Journal. His all-star lineup of golf-enthused and culturally relevant guests feature celebrities from across entertainment, sports and politics. To date, Feherty has sat down with four U.S. Presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump); sports legends Charles Barkley, Nick Saban, Stephen Curry and Bobby Knight; Hollywood icons Matthew McConaughey, Larry David and Samuel L. Jackson; World Golf of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson; and a host of current golf superstars including Paula Creamer, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Michelle Wie. Feherty is produced by Golf Channel’s original productions group, which also oversees production for Driver vs. Driver and Golf Films.