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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering the British 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: The Open Championship

Each week we'll list the statistical breakdown of the upcoming PGA Tour event. Below are the results of recent tournaments, including last week's John Deere Classic, and results from the British Open last played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

The results grid was reduced for easier reading, starting with the Masters. However, the AVERAGE statistics at the bottom of the grid reflect data from completed 2012 tournaments.

For results from earlier events, go here.

For last year's full-season results, go here.

2012 PGA Tour Events

EVENT WINNER DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE GIR GIR STK GN PUTTS EAGLES BIRDIE BOGEY DBL BOG
%of56 RNK DIS DIS RNK %of72 RNK /PUTT RNK
The Masters Watson -10 P1 66.0 48 290.4 4 73.6 4 1.67 37 0 19 0 0
Heritage Pettersson -14 66.1 39 279.1 31 69.4 1 1.24 10 0 22 6 1
Texas Curtis -9 73.2 2 289.1 74 68.1 1 2.06 3 0 17 4 2
Zurich Dufner -19 P1 64.3 31 291.0 35 72.2 25 1.53 6 1 21 4 0
Wells Fargo Fowler -14 P1 62.5 2 305.9 13 79.2 5 0.68 30 1 22 8 1
The Players Kuchar -13 62.5 37 280.6 47 73.6 3 2.09 2 0 22 9 0
Byron Nelson Dufner -11 75.0 2 316.6 9 80.6 1 -0.41 56 0 19 8 0
Crowne Plaza Z. Johnson -12 58.9 26 289.3 52 62.5 37 2.09 3 1 19 7 1
Memorial Woods -9 76.8 14 287.3 16 73.6 1 0.04 42 0 19 6 2
St. Jude D. Johnson -9 57.1 18 301.0 20 69.4 4 0.77 43 1 14 7 0
U.S. Open W. Simpson 55.4 13 278.9 53 58.3 16 NA NA 0 13 12 1
Travelers Leishman -14 76.8 15 301.5 12 70.8 28 0.05 48 1 21 7 1
AT&T Woods -8 53.6 46 298.6 34 66.7 17 1.46 9 1 11 5 0
Greenbrier Potter Jr. -16 P1 80.4 3 304.8 35 72.2 21 2.02 1 1 18 4 0
John Deere Z. Johnson -20 P1 73.2 31 293.3 48 75.0 26 2.14 2 0 24 4 0
Matteson -20 P2 58.9 76 305.1 12 79.2 9 2.33 1 1 25 5 1
AVERAGE 64.7 28.7 288.4 36.8 72.4 16.0 1.43 14.5 0.7 19.4 6.0 0.5

Last Week's John Deere Classic

While the number of birdies didn't set a record, 73 of 78 golfers shot under par for the week. Amateur Jordan Spieth, T59 at 6-under, topped 11 pros behind him.

Troy Matteson, who lost to Zach Johnson in a two-hole playoff, opened the birdie-fest with an opening round bogey-free 10-under 61 that helped him hold the lead for 54 holes. Matteson had his best putting week of the season, as his 2.327 Strokes Gained-Putting (SG-P) and 25 birdies both ranked first.

Johnson also did well with the putter with a SG-P of 2.158 that ranked second with his 24 birdies and just four bogeys.

Steve Stricker had problems on the back nine that ended his try for a fourth consecutive John Deere victory. Stricker has earned more than $2 million at John Deere, so the disappointment is somewhat eased.

This Week's British Open


EVENT GOLFER PLACE SCORE FIRST RND SECOND RND THIRD RND FOURTH RND TOTAL
2001 British Open David Duval 1 -10 69 73 65 67 274
Niklas Fasth 2 -7 69 69 72 67 277
Ernie Els T3 -6 70 69 69 70 278
Darren Clarke T3 -6 70 69 69 70 278
Miguel Angel Jimenez T3 -6 68 72 67 70 278
Billy Mayfair T3 -6 69 72 67 70 278
Ian Woosnam T3 -6 72 68 69 71 278
Bernhard Langer T3 -6 71 69 67 71 278
Jesper Parnevik T9 -5 69 68 71 71 279
Sergio Garcia T9 -5 70 72 67 70 279
Mikko Ilonen T9 -5 68 75 70 66 279
Kevin Sutherland T9 -5 75 69 68 67 279
OTHERS
Vijay Singh T13 -4
Retief Goosen T13 -4
Davis Love III T21 -3
Tiger Woods T25 -1
Justin Rose T30 +1
Phil Mickelson T30 +1
Padraig Harrington T37 +2
Steve Stricker T42 +3
Lee Westwood T47 '+4

Bernard Darwin called it, "a beast of a course, but a just beast."

Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Course, which last played host to the British Open in 2001, has narrow fairways and 206 bunkers, 90 percent of which are disconcertingly deep and none merely decorative. In 2001, the course was 6,905 yards playing at par 71. In this year's play, 181 yards have been added, totaling 7,086 yards playing to par 70.

There are very few blind shots, no tricks, no gimmicks, just the severest target lines into fair, comparatively flat but subtle greens, all protected either by deep, larger traps or by pot bunkers.

Being the British Open and a links course, you can depend on wind. The course is about one mile from the sea, and players will have wind in the face on many holes.

Golfers often will use "stinger" type tee shots with a two-iron or suitable hybrid to keep the ball on the fairway - and away from bunkers. Long drivers will have just a few places where they can truly go really long.

Attributes needed here are patience, driving accuracy, proximity to the hole from 150 yards and scrambling. Par will be a good score on many of the holes. The 156 golfers will be pared down to the top 70 and ties after 36 holes.

In 1979, Seve Ballesteros pulled off a shot that became his calling card when he hit his drive at the 16th dead right into a temporary car park. He took a free drop and got up (sand wedge) and down with a 15-foot birdie on his way to earning his first major championship, defeating Jack Nicklaus and Ben Crenshaw by three shots for the Open title. Ballesteros earned $31,500 along with the Claret Jug.

At the second tee of the final round of the 2001 Open, 1991 Masters winner Ian Woosnam's caddie revealed he had packed 15 clubs in the bag with the immortal words "you're going to go ballistic." Woosnam suffered a two-shot penalty. He tied for third, four shots behind winner David Duval. Nobody has forgotten this story too.

Somewhere in the television coverage these two events will be recalled.
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