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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering the WGC Bridgestone

Ed Cushing

Ed Cushing

Cushing covers the PGA Tour for RotoWire, bringing a sabermetric approach to golf stats. Retired and living in the mountains of North Carolina, Cushing is in the running for the Most Interesting Man in Fantasy Sports. He's golfed the Doral Blue Monster, Harbour Town GC, Hilton Head and Augusta National, among many other tough courses. A classically trained pianist, Cushing still plays professionally. He roots for the University of Virginia because the Cavaliers may lose the game, but they ALWAYS win the party. He also made a fortune off the '72 Dolphins.

PGA Tour Stats entering this week's WGC Bridgestone Classic



NOTICE: The results grid was reduced for easier reading, starting with the U.S. Open. However, the AVERAGE statistics at the bottom of the grid will continue to reflect the data from completed 2011 tournaments. For results from earlier events, go here.


EVENT WINNER DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE GIR GIR PUTTS PUTTS EAGLE/ BOGEY/
%of56 RNK DIS DIS RNK %of72 RNK Per GIR RNK RND RNK BIRDIE DBL
U.S. Open R. McIlroy, -16 64.326 310.07 86.11 1.65 29.729 1/19 3/1
Travelers Champ. F. Jacobson, -20 85.7 9 274.6 46 72.2 34 1.67 11 26.5 3 0/21 1/0
AT&T National N. Watney -13 69.6 10 320.8 4 70.8 27 1.67 3 27.8 2 1/20 9/0
John Deere Classic S. Stricker -22 64.3 58 318.0 12 73.6 33 1.55 1 25 1 1/25 3/1
Viking Classic C. Kirk -22 64.3 43 292.0 12 79.2 12 1.63 10 27.3 12 1/24 4/0
British Open D. Clarke -5 41.0 311.7 70.829.7 2/14 11/1
Canadian Open S. O'Hair P1 -4 58.9 27 299.6 3 59.7 19 1.84 61 28.8 36 0/17 13/0
Canadian Open K. Blanks P2 -4 69.6 7 283.6 42 70.8 1 1.78 43 30 66 1/14 10/1
Greenbrier ClassicS. Stallings P1 62.5 54 323.5 5 79.2 2 1.72 19 30 53 0/19 9/0
B. Estes P2 75.0 12 298.1 53 65.3 48 1.64 2 27.3 7 0/18 8/0
B. Haas P2 69.6 28 314.6 22 69.4 24 1.78 38 27.8 9 0/15 5/0

NOTE: Only Stallings stats are included in Average stats below.

AVERAGE 64.826.1 298.4 22.4 72.7 15.2 1.67 14.7 27.9 16.2
2010 BrdgstnH. Mahan, -1261.830305.62169.091.67126.830/197/0


GREENBRIER CLASSIC

Another first-time winner. This one made a clutch birdie putt at the 72nd hole to earn a spot in a three-man playoff then made yet another clutch birdie putt at the first playoff hole for his first PGA Tour victory. Scott Stallings won this one as compared with some wins that came to pass when another player came into a disastrous stretch.

Last year's Greenbrier winner was 22-under; this year's winner was 10-under. The course improvements accomplished their objectives of tuning back the birdie-fest while keeping players challenged and entertaining to the fans. The powers-that-be didn't go overboard with trumped-up pin placements and overly long yardage.

The leaderboard was clogged, including after the third round when 10 players were within four shots of the leader. For a while, the subsequent fourth round appeared to take on the appearance that nobody wanted to win. Stallings, however, was the standout with six birdies on the back nine when it was claiming bogies from some of the leaders. Stallings had five bogies in the closing round yet claimed the win.

This week starts seven weeks of talented fields playing challenging courses. Even the Wyndham has a challenging course that will see players striving to make the 125-player field starting in the FedEx Cup playoffs. International players will stir the pot at this week's Bridgestone and at the PGA Championship where they are going after yet another Major win.

WGC BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL

Following Mahan's first class win last year, the next group will help you to understand what type of play, and player, was successful in 2010:

2. Ryan Palmer -10
T3. Retief Goosen, Bo Van Pelt -9
5. Sean O'Hair -8
T6. Jim Furyk, Jeff Overton -7
8. Peter Hanson -6
T9. Louis Oosthuizen, Padraig Harrington, Adam Scott, Steve Stricker -5

Mahan (71-67-69-64) finished 30 strokes over Tiger Woods (74-72-75-77). However, Woods has won seven times on the Firestone South Course, one more than Jack Nicklaus. The WGC series presents "significant" no-cut events with players from many countries. This sometimes results in seeing unfamiliar names well up on the leaderboard.

Experience counts here, and both long and short hitters can do well. One example in 2010, Retief Goosen and Jim Furyk closed with 65 and 64, respectively. Consistency is also rewarded as with Van Pelt's 67-68-69-67 - the only card with four rounds in the 60s.

The Firestone South Course, with narrow fairways lined with mature trees, requires strong stats in total driving, above average iron play (GIR), course management and, as usual, excellent putting. While this is not a birdie party, there have been low rounds:

2009: Harrington, 64; Kelly, Quiros, Woods (twice), Holmes, Westwood, 65

2010: B. Watson, Kingston, D. Johnson, 65; M.Yamoto, 62; Mahan, Furyk, 64.
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