Stat attack!: Hyundai TOC statistical preview

By Golf Channel Digital, John AntoniniJanuary 1, 2014, 1:00 pm

After a six-week hiatus, the PGA Tour returns to action with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course, beginning Friday. Dustin Johnson overwhelmed the 30-man field a year ago, winning by four strokes in the tournament that was basically a two-day, 54-hole sprint, because heavy winds pummeled Maui on what would have been the first three days of play.

Read that sentence again and you’ll understand why Johnson was the perfect winner for the TOC in 2013. The key words are “54 holes” and “30-man field.” Of Johnson’s eight career wins, three have come in weather-shortened events and six came in tournaments that did not feature the Tour’s standard 132- to 156-player field. Bigger, smaller, shorter, it doesn’t matter. As long as it’s out of the ordinary. The only thing Johnson hasn’t won is a longer event, with none of his eight titles coming in a playoff.

Field size/tournament length of Dustin Johnson’s PGA Tour victories:

Event Field size Number of holes
2008 Turning Stone 132 72
2009 AT&T National Pro-Am 180 54
2010 AT&T National Pro-Am 180 72
2010 BMW Championship 70 72
2011 Barclays 125 54
2012 FedEx St. Jude Classic 156 72
2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions 30 54
2013 HSBC Champions 78 72

Thirty golfers are scheduled to participate in the 2014 Hyundai. That’s the same number as last year, as five eligible performers - Graeme McDowell, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Tiger Woods - have opted out. If no one else withdraws, the Hyundai will match the Tour Championship as the smallest field on the PGA Tour this year.

Perhaps surprisingly, one thing that doesn’t make Johnson a favorite this week is his length off the tee. It’s not that long hitters have a disadvantage on Kapalua’s wide fairways. It’s just that the length advantage is negated somewhat because the contours of the course usually add distance off the tee to everyone in the field - provided, of course, the wind isn’t blowing a gale into your face. True, Johnson led the tournament in distance of all drives in 2013 (he was second in official driving distance), but the winners from 2010-12 were all in the bottom half of the field in that statistic. (2012 champ Steve Stricker and 2010 champ Geoff Ogilvy were 17th in the field in distance, and 2011 champ Jonathan Byrd was 18th.)

Last year’s wind kept the distance of all drives down to 282.3 yards, but in 2012 the average was 296.5 yards. Both numbers were higher than the Tour average. In addition to long drives, the Plantation Course also often yields a higher percentage of fairways hit and greens in regulation. Johnson took advantage in only one of those categories. He was second in greens in regulation at Kapalua in 2013 and last in fairways hit, no doubt a result of the heavy wind. Johnson hit 48 greens, 88.89 percent, while the tournament average was 80.37 percent. In driving accuracy, Johnson hit 23 of 45 fairways. His 51.11 percent was lower than the tournament average of 67.48 percent.

The Plantation Course’s averages in 2012-13 compared to the PGA Tour:


  Plantation Course at Kapalua PGA Tour
Avg. distance of all drives 296.5 yards 282.2 yards
Driving accuracy 64.44% 60.67%
Greens in regulation 81.64%  63.98%


  Plantation Course at Kapalua PGA Tour
Avg. distance of all drives 282.3 yards 280.0 yards
Driving accuracy 67.48% 61.05%
Greens in regulation 80.37% 64.42%

Does Johnson have a chance to repeat in 2014? Sure. This event has had its share of back-to-back winners recently with Ogilvy winning in 2009 and 2010 and Stuart Appleby winning from 2004-06. So Johnson has the field size and the repeat factor going for him. And if the wind blows - remember he also won the 2011 Barclays in New Jersey when Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the East Coast - we like his chances even more.

In an effort to help fantasy golf players with their selections this week, here’s a primer on how the rest of the field has fared at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Click here for Power Rankings.

Woody Austin: The oldest player in the field first played the TOC in 1996 when it was held at LaCosta. He was 26th that year, and has finished 12th and T-18 in his two starts in Hawaii.

Sang-Moon Bae: The only Korean in the field, Bae is making his tournament debut.

Jonas Blixt: He was T-18 in his first start a year ago.

Scott Brown: Making his tournament debut. No player has won the Hyundai after qualifying for it by winning an event held opposite a top tournament since Steve Pate, who won in 1988 after taking the 1987 Southwest Golf Classic, which was held the same week as the Ryder Cup.

Jason Dufner: T-18 in his debut a year ago. The last reigning major champion to win the TOC was 2002 British Open champ Ernie Els, who won at Kapalua in 2003. With Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson opting out of this event, Dufner and Masters champ Adam Scott are the only players who can match Els this week.

Ken Duke: Making his tournament debut.

Harris English: Making his tournament debut.

Derek Ernst: Making his tournament debut.

Brian Gay: T-18 in 2009, 21st in 2011. He has never shot lower than 70, but all eight of his rounds have been under par.

Bill Haas: Making his fourth start. He has one top 10, an eighth-place finish in his debut in 2011.

Russell Henley: He’s the only player in the field who has won every PGA Tour event he has played in Hawaii, having won the 2013 Sony Open in his debut a year ago. But the Sony and the Hyundai are not compatible events: Waialae’s fairways were the second-toughest to hit in 2013, while Kapaula’s were 34th out of 43 courses. Waialae’s greens were the 29th-hardest to hit in 2013 while Kapalua’s were the easiest on Tour.

Billy Horschel: Making his tournament debut.

Dustin Johnson: With Mickelson and Woods not playing this week, Johnson is the only player in the field with a win in this event.

Zach Johnson: He’s won in Hawaii, taking the 2009 Sony Open, but as we mentioned in the Henley note, these two events can’t be more dissimilar. Interestingly, 2009 was the only time in six previous starts that he finished in the top 15 at Kapalua (T-6).

Chris Kirk: He had a pretty good debut two years ago, finishing T-7 in 2012 in his only appearance.

Matt Kuchar: He’s played four times and has three top 10s, with a best of third place in 2010. Fourteen of his previous 15 rounds at Kapalua have been at par or better. 

Martin Laird: The Scot looks like a fit for the winds of Kapalua. He was T-4 in 2010 and second a year ago. He has never shot higher than 70 in eight rounds entering 2014.

John Merrick: Making his tournament debut.

Ryan Moore: Played poorly in the wind a year ago (T-28), but he was T-6 in 2010.

D.A. Points: He was T-12 in 2012, his only appearance.

Patrick Reed: Making his tournament debut.

Adam Scott: The runner-up in 2007, Scott has three top 10s in five starts and 19 of his 20 rounds have been at par or better. The way he finished 2013, winning two of three Australasian Tour events, puts him of the short list of top contenders this week. 

Webb Simpson: T-3 in 2012 and T-11 in 2013. He has never shot a round over par at Kapalua.

Brandt Snedeker: Recovering from injuries suffered in a Segway accident in November, he was T-10 in 2008, third in 2013. 

Jordan Spieth: Making his tournament debut

Kevin Streelman: Making his tournament debut.

Michael Thompson: Making his tournament debut.

Jimmy Walker: Making his tournament debut.

Boo Weekley: He was T-23 in 2008 and T-15 in 2009.

Gary Woodland: He was 24th in 2012.

ONE FINAL NOTE: Austin is the only player in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions field to win a PGA Tour event after last year’s Masters who is not also eligible for the 2014 Masters. Austin won in Mississippi the week of the British Open and did not qualify for Augusta because the event did not award full FedEx Cup points.

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With eye on Masters, Howell wins Match Play group

By Rex HoggardMarch 23, 2018, 8:15 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Charles Howell III appears to have solved his match play mystery, advancing out of pool play for the second consecutive year after failing to play the weekend his first eight trips to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

The timing couldn’t have been better.

At 65th in the Official World Golf Ranking, Howell needs to advance to Sunday’s final four to move into the top 50 in the world and earn an invitation to the Masters, which is always a primary goal for the Augusta, Ga., native.

“Knowing that I need a big week here to get through, obviously, it's massive in match play,” said Howell, who will face Kiradech Aphibarnrat in the first stage of knockout play on Saturday. “Kiradech is an awesome player. I feel like I'm the underdog, and nothing to lose, I like that.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Howell, who began the week as the 59th-seeded player, was unbeaten in pool play, defeating Phil Mickelson on Day 1 and securing his spot in the weekend with a 2-and-1 victory over Satoshi Kodaira on Friday.

Although Saturday’s matches may have a qualifying feel for Howell, who last played the Masters in 2012, he’s also in the field for next week’s Houston Open and could earn a spot at Augusta National with a victory there.

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McIlroy to rest, play Augusta after early exit at Match Play

By Rex HoggardMarch 23, 2018, 7:02 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – For the second consecutive year, Rory McIlroy failed to advance out of pool play at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but there was a silver lining for last week’s champion.

McIlroy, who lost on Friday, 5 and 3, to Brian Harman, said he didn’t have much time to recharge following his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and having the weekend off will give him a chance to prepare for what promises to be an intense build up to this year’s Masters.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

The Northern Irishman will travel to Augusta National on Wednesday for what he said will be a 54- to 72-hole, two-day practice session.

“Me and [caddie Harry Diamond] are going up, two members are hosting us, we're going to have a couple of social runs Wednesday and Thursday,” McIlroy said. “I’ll rest up a little bit, recharge the batteries, get into the gym. Sort of have a good week training and a good practice week. And just get myself ready for Augusta.”

McIlroy is listed among the favorites at the Masters, where he could complete the career Grand Slam if he were to win.

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Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 6:35 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.

(Note: Group winners are highlighted; * equals won in playoff)

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

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 5:44 pm

Here is how things played out on Day 3 of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, as 64 players take on Austin Country Club with hopes of advancing out of pool play. Click here for Day 2 match results:

Group 1: Dustin Johnson (1) vs. Kevin Kisner (32)

Group 1: Adam Hadwin (38) vs. Bernd Wiesberger (52)

Group 2: Justin Thomas (2) def. Francesco Molinari (21), 7 and 5: Looking like the man to beat, Thomas put Molinari in an early 3-down hole and kept applying pressure, putting him away with seven birdies in one of the most lopsided results of the week – and in a battle of two unbeatens. Thomas can become world No. 1 with a victory this week.

Group 2: Patton Kizzire (48) vs. Luke List (60)

Group winner: Justin Thomas

Group 3: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28) def. Jon Rahm, 4 and 3: Unbeaten through two days, Aphibarnrat put the hammer down on Rahm, last year’s finalist. Barnrat needed only three birdies to secure the group win, while Rahm dropped to 0-2-1 for the week.

Group 3: Chez Reavie (43) vs. Keegan Bradley (63), halved: With the group already decided as they played the closing stretch, Bradley coughed up a late lead for the third consecutive round, halving the match on 18 and finishing the week with a 0-1-2 record that could (and should) have been so much better.  

Group winner: Kiradech Aphibarnrat

Group 4: Jordan Spieth (4) vs. Patrick Reed (19)

Group 4: Haotong Li (34) vs. Charl Schwartzel (49)

Group 5: Hideki Matsuyama (5) vs. Patrick Cantlay (30)

Group 5: Cameron Smith (46) vs. Yusaku Miyazato (53)

Group 6: Brian Harman (18) def. Rory McIlroy (6), 5 and 3: Harman took advantage of McIlroy’s missed putts and uncharacteristic mistakes to build a 3-up advantage on the front nine, then cruised to a lopsided victory. At 2-0-1, Harman wins the group, while McIlroy can begin his prep for Augusta.

Group 6: Jhonattan Vegas (44) vs. Peter Uihlein (57) def. Jhonattan Vegas (44), 4 and 3: Even though Uihlein won the first two holes on his way to routing Vegas, it wasn’t enough for the former U.S. Amateur champion to advance. He finished the week 2-1.

Group winner: Brian Harman

Group 7: Sergio Garcia (7) def. Xander Schauffele (20), 3 and 1: Two down with seven to play in this battle of unbeatens, Garcia birdied the 12th and 13th holes to square the match, then pulled ahead with a pair of birdies on 15 and 16 and a conceded birdie on 17, after Schauffele tugged his tee shot into the hazard.

Group 7: Dylan Frittelli (41) def. Shubhankar Sharma (62), 1 up: In a match with nothing at stake but a little extra cash and some world-ranking points, Frittelli shot 4 under and held off Sharma throughout to earn his first point of the week.

Group winner: Sergio Garcia

Group 8: Jason Day (8) vs. Louis Oosthuizen (25)

Group 8: Jason Dufner (42) vs. James Hahn (56)

Group 9: Tommy Fleetwood (9) vs. Daniel Berger (26)

Group 9: Kevin Chappell (33) vs. Ian Poulter (58)

Group 10: Matthew Fitzpatrick (31) def. Paul Casey (10), 3 and 2: After looking unstoppable over the first two days of pool play, Casey never led against his fellow Englishman, going 3 down after five holes. It was Fitzpatrick’s first point of the week, and Casey lost on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff.

Group 10: Kyle Stanley (45) def. Russell Henley (51), 1 up: Stanley flipped an early 2-down deficit and rolled in a 10-footer birdie putt on the final hole to beat Henley and earn a full point to force the sudden-death playoff with Casey. On the second playoff hole, Stanley poured in a 5-footer for birdie to advance.

Group winner: Kyle Stanley

Group 11: Marc Leishman (11) vs. Branden Grace (23), halved: Already eliminated, Leishman kept Grace from reaching the pool-play playoff by never trailing in the match. Though the South African holed a 25-footer on 17 to extend it, both players halved the 18th hole with birdies, including a 6-footer from Leishman, to earn a half-point.

Group 11: Bubba Watson (35) vs. Julian Suri (64), halved: Needing just a half-point to advance, but two down with two to go, Bubba stuffed his tee shot on 17, then hit his driver pin-high on the home hole. After Suri couldn’t get up-and-down for birdie, Watson sank his 8-footer for the halve. It's the second consecutive year in which Watson has won his group.

Group winner: Bubba Watson

Group 12: Tyrrell Hatton (12) vs. Charley Hoffman (22)

Group 12: Brendan Steele (36) vs. Alexander Levy (55)

Group 13: Alex Noren (13) vs. Tony Finau (29)

Group 13: Thomas Pieters (39) vs. Kevin Na (61)

Group 14: Phil Mickelson (14) def. Rafa Cabrera Bello (17), 1 up: Mickelson needed help to advance, but he took care of Cabrera Bello, making birdie on the last two holes to edge the Spaniard. The group was already decided, however, with Howell closing out his match while the other group played the 18th hole.

Group 14: Charles Howell III (59) def. Satoshi Kodaira (40), 2 and 1: Needing just a halve to advance, Howell won the 14th and 16th holes with par to gain a 2-up advantage and complete a perfect week in pool play. It’s the second year in a row that Howell has won his group.

Group winner: Charles Howell III

Group 15: Gary Woodland (24) def. Pat Perez, 1 up: Though the group was already decided, Woodland surrendered a 2-up lead but made a birdie when it mattered most, on the final green, to secure his first full point of the week.

Group 15: Webb Simpson (37) vs. Si Woo Kim (50)

Group 16: Matt Kuchar (16) vs. Ross Fisher (27)

Group 16: Yuta Ikeda (47) vs. Zach Johnson (54)