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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering the Farmers Open

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: Farmers Insurance Open

Each week we'll list the statistical breakdown of the upcoming PGA Tour event. Below are the results of last week's Humana Challenge and the top finishers from last year's Farmers Insurance Open. For last year's full-season results, go here.

2012 Events


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
TOC Stricker -23 66.7 11 268.3 15 81.9 13 1.68 13 28.5 1 1/26 3/1
Sony Open Wagner -13 41.1 56 276.4 68 70.8 10 1.67 6 28 16 2/17 8/0
Humana M. Wilson -24 74.1 18 279.3 69 80.6 3 1.57 7 26.8 8 2/24 4/0
AVERAGE 60.6 28.33 274.7 50.67 77.77 32 1.64 8.7 27.8 8.3


Humana Challenge


Mark Wilson's putter ruled the week even placing an explanation point on his win with a birdie at the 72nd hole. The daily lows, 63-61-61-63, caused havoc with some fantasy owners while a handful benefited.

Wilson's putts-per-GIR, 1.569, may hold up being the lowest number for a 2012 winner. Wilson rank of eighth indicates seven others went even lower. In 2011, the lowest putts-per-GIR was Steve Stricker's 1.547 at the John Deere Classic.

In 2011, Wilson won the Sony Open (-16) and followed up with a win at the raucous Phoenix Open (-18) three weeks later. Essentially, that was his season inasmuch as he didn't do much after those wins. Fantasy owners should make a note of Wilson's early season capabilities.

Farmers Insurance Open

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
2011 Farmers B. Watson -16 50.0 28 316.6 1 81.9 1 1.73 26 29.0 32 2/20 8/0
P. Mickelson -15 39.3 64 281.5 58 76.4 2 1.67 11 28.5 19 0/22 7/0
D. Johnson -13 51.8 18 304.6 5 75.0 4 1.65 7 27.8 10 0/23 8/1
Vegas -13 41.1 59 284.3 61 76.4 2 1.78 43 29.5 48 0/20 7/0
Points -12 46.4 45 291.8 22 72.2 9 1.67 11 28.0 15 0/22 6/2
AVERAGE 45.7 42.8 295.8 29.4 76.38 3.6 1.70 19.6 28.6 24.8


Watson also was first in Driving distance (331.4) and GIR (80.6) in his win at the 2011 Zurich Classic.

Watson dominated the field in GIR. The separation between winner 5.5 percentage points, is rare.

The tight range of both birdies and bogeys was settled by Watson's two eagles.

Vegas won the week earlier while Points went on to win the Pebble Beach Pro-Am three weeks later.

Two courses, North and South, are used for the first two days with the more difficult South course used for rounds three and four. In daily formats, careful player selection can be beneficial.

In 2011 round one, the easier North course score average was 70.062, South was 72.727. In round two, North's average score was 71.013, South was 72.885. Cumulative scores: North 70.987; South 72.806.

Last year, Phil Mickelson said the South course requires conservative play because aggressive play doesn't yield any better results than conservative play. Mickelson, who lives in San Diego, has played these courses many times at the competitive level.

Attributes needed here are GIR, total driving, scrambling, course history and selective player use in the first two rounds. Many top players were long hitters: Winner Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney, Hunter Mahan to name a few.