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Stat attack!: RBC Heritage preview

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AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 08: Bubba Watson celebrates in his green jacket with Charl Schwartzel during The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images for Golfweek)  - 

If there is such a thing as a Masters hangover, imagine our surprise when we awoke this morning to find out the PGA Tour season is half over. With the wrap-around season taking six events from the end of the Tour year and moving them to the beginning, the RBC Heritage will be the 23rd of 45 official events on the PGA Tour. With Bubba Watson’s Masters victory marking the end of the first half of the 2013-14 season, let’s look at some of the season’s statistical highlights 

Where are the Euros?

Americans have won 18 of the first 22 events of the season and Australians have won the other four. It’s the first time that no European player has won on the PGA Tour by the Masters since 2004, when it took until May for Sergio Garcia to win at the Byron Nelson Championship. In fact, among European players who were in the top 60 in the final regular season FedEx Cup standings in 2013, only Garcia has a better ranking in 2013-14. Garcia is one of three Euros with four top-10s on the PGA Tour in 2013-14. Among the notable European players without a top-10 on Tour this year are Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood.

First victory by a European player on the PGA Tour: 2004-2013

 Year Player Tournament No. of events
 2013 Martin Laird Valero Texas Open 15
 2012 Rory McIlroy Honda Classic 10
 2011 Luke Donald WGC Match Play 8
 2010 Ian Poulter WGC Match Play 7
 2009 Paul Casey Shell Houston Open 15
 2008 Daniel Chopra Mercedes Benz Champ. 1
 2007 Henrik Stenson WGC Match Play 8
 2006 Luke Donald Honda Classic            11
 2005 Padraig Harrington Honda Classic            11
 2004 Sergio Garcia Byron Nelson Champ. 20

FedEx Cup comparison for Europeans from 2013 to 2014

 Player  2013 final reg. season rank 2014 current rank
 Justin Rose 7 67
 Henrik Stenson 9 79
 Graeme McDowell 28 39
 Jonas Blixt 29 42
 Lee Westwood 35 78
 Martin Laird 44 130
 Rory McIlroy 49 38
 David Lynn 54 166
 Luke Donald 55 71
 Sergio Garcia 59 33

Most top 10s on Tour by Europeans in 2013-14

 Player Top-10 finishes
 Graeme McDowell 4
 Sergio Garcia 4
 Rory McIlroy 4
 Luke Donald 2
 Jamie Donaldson 2
 Russell Knox 2
 Robert Karlsson 2
 Justin Rose 2

Bubba’s bruising start

Bubba Watson is off to the best start of his career. With two wins and two seconds, Watson has earned more than $4.5 million this season, which is more than 38 percent of his potential earnings. If he can maintain that pace through the second half of the year he will join Tiger Woods (five times) and Rory McIlroy (2012) as the only players to collect more than 37 percent of their potential earnings after making 10 or more starts in a season since 2005. (By way of explanation, if a player won every time he played, he would collect 100 percent of his potential earnings.)

Percentage of potential earnings won on PGA Tour in 2013-14

 Pct. money won Player Earnings Potential earnings Starts
 38.17% Bubba Watson $4,533,006 $11,876,000 9
 36.98 Jason Day 2,010,360 5,436,000 4
 31.08 Dustin Johnson 3,346,150 10,766,000 8
 24.52 Jimmy Walker 4,225,071 17,228,000 14
 20.73 Patrick Reed 3,023,091 14,586,000 12
 17.46 Jordan Spieth 2,621,223 14,586,000 12

Weekend warriors

With Harris English missing the cut at the Masters, Chris Kirk has now made the most starts this season without a missed cut. Kirk’s T-20 at the Masters marked the 13th time in 2013 that’s he qualified for the weekend. He is tied for the Tour lead in most cuts made this season.

Most cuts made without a miss in 2013-14

 Player Cuts made Best finish
 Chris Kirk 13 Won McGladrey Classic
 Bill Haas 12 T-6 Humana, T-6 WGC-Cadillac
 Hunter Mahan 9 T-4 Waste Management Phoenix Open
 Jim Furyk 7 T-5 WGC Match Play

Most cuts made in 2013-14

 Player Cuts made Starts
 Chris Kirk 13 13
 Jimmy Walker 13 14
 Harris English 13 14
 Cameron Tringale 13 16

The stars aren’t shining

Although every one of the top 10 players on the Official World Golf Ranking at the end of 2013 are still in the top 15 after the Masters, only two of them have won since the calendar turned. Zach Johnson, who won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, is the only player from the group to win on the PGA Tour this season (and he’s actually fallen in the ranking from ninth to his current position of 12th). Sergio Garcia won the Commercialbank Qatar Masters on the European Tour. Tiger Woods had back surgery and Phil Mickelson has also battled injuries, but most of the others have contended this season. Could that mean there are more victories on the horizon for a group that includes three of 2013's major champions? Here’s what they’ve done on Tour since January.

How the top 10 players on the year-end world ranking have fared in 2014

 2013 rank Player Current rank 2014 Tour starts Cuts Best PGA Tour notable
 1 Tiger Woods 1 3 3 T-25 WGC Cadillac Back surgery has put the rest of 2014 in limbo
 2 Adam Scott 2 6 6 3 Arnold Palmer 145th on proximity to hole on approaches, 45th last year
 3 Henrik Stenson 3 6 5 T-5 Arnold Palmer

He’s 185th in strokes gained/putting out of 206 players ranked

 4 Justin Rose 11 6 5 T-8 Valspar Fairways hit (59.87) and GIR (65.15) percentages are career worsts
 5 Phil Mickelson 8 8 5 T-12 Houston Last time he was this far into a season without a top 10 was 1992 and 6 of those starts were as an amateur
 6 Rory McIlroy  10 5 5 T-2 Honda 3 top-10s and no finish worse than T-25 in 2014
 7 Matt Kuchar 6 9 8 2 Houston 3 straight top-10s, but Sunday scoring avg. in last 5 starts is 73.8
 8 Steve Stricker 15 4 4 T-24 Houston Has earned between 48 and 56K in each of his 4 starts
 9 Zach Johnson 12 9 8 1-Hyundai Missed cut at the Masters was his first of the year
 10 Sergio Garcia 7 5 4 3 Houston He hadn’t been outside the top 20 all year until his MC at Augusta

 Trending in the right direction

Six players (Jimmy Walker, Kevin Stadler, Chesson Hadley, Matt Every, Steven Bowditch and Matt Jones) won for the first time this season, but several other winless players are knocking on the door. Here’s a top-10 list of non-winners who have made more the cut more than 60 percent of the time in 10 or more starts this season and merit consideration at the RBC Heritage or at other future PGA Tour events.

 Player Starts Cuts Top 10s Playing Heritage?
 Brian Harman 14 10 3 Yes
 Ryo Ishikawa 14 9 3 Yes
 Russell Knox 13 11 2 Yes
 Graham Delaet 11 9 5 No
 Daniel Summerhays 16 11 2 No
 Chris Stroud  11 8 3 Yes
 Brian Stuard 14 10 3 Yes
 Cameron Tringale 16 13 1 Yes
 Jason Kokrak 13 9 2 Yes
 Brendon Todd 14 12 2 Yes