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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering the PGA Championship

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: PGA 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 WGC - Bridgestone Invitational, and results from last year's PGA Championship.

The results grid was reduced for easier reading, starting with the U.S Open. 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
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
British Open Els -7 62.5 43 298.1 13 79.2 1 NA NA 0 16 9 0
Canadian Piercy -17 62.5 30 311.3 9 66.7 58 1.79 4 2 20 7 0
WGCBrdgstn K. Bradley -13 62.5 6 320.0 23 68.1 11 3.00 1 0 23 8 1
AVERAGE 64.7 26.9 289.9 35.5 72.0 17.0 1.47 14.1 0.6 19.2 6.2 0.4

Last Week's WGC - Bridgestone Invitational

The third-round-leader hex didn't rise up until the 18th hole - Jim Furyk was en-route to a wire-to-wire win when he double bogeyed the 18th and Keegan Bradley benefited.

Bradley closed with a bogey-free 6-under 64 with strong stats, ranking sixth in fairways hit, 23rd in driving distance, 11th in GIR, first in strokes gained-putting and second in total putting.

Last week's South course at Firestone CC has usually been demanding and tough when a player gets out of synch. Following that test comes the Ocean Curse at Kiawah, sometimes billed as the toughest course in the world. Relatively speaking, after the PGA Championship venue the Wyndham Championship will be a cake walk, because awaiting the opening shot of the FedEx playoffs is The Barclays, played this year at the Bethpage Black where another grueling course awaits.

This Week's PGA Championship

NOTE: The customary statistics grid showing final results of last year's top players from the upcoming event is not possible inasmuch as there has not been a PGA Tour stroke play tournament played at Kiawah Island.

On a 10-mile barrier island in 1991, Pete Dye built a remarkably difficult course on two and-a-half miles of land that has the largest number, 10, of ocean-side holes on a Northern Hemisphere course. It was built for host of the 1991 Ryder Cup, following with the 1997 and 2003 World Cup competitions and the 2007 Senior PGA Championship.

For this year's PGA Championship, par is 36-36-72, 7,676 yards, the longest in major championship history. The full 7,676 probably will not be used, though there is a considerable flexibility of tee locations.

The front nine is a loop with holes five, six, seven, eight and nine nearest to the Atlantic Ocean, while the back nine loop has holes 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 nearest to the ocean. Ever shifting wind from the ocean come in no prevailing direction with intensity changing continually. This course has sometimes been named the hardest course in the world and is known for attracting players domestic and international.

The PGA Rules committee has invoked a local rule that is within the Rules of Golf, specifically Rule 33-8b, which allows a local rule to "modify" a rule of golf if local abnormal conditions interfere with the proper playing of the game. Thus, there will be no bunkers, just sand, sandy turf, etc. Players can remove loose impediments, take practice swings and ground their club in the sand, sandy turf, etc. but can not take relief from a plugged lie in the sand. The "fried egg" must be played as usual.

At the 1991 Ryder Cup, Raymond Floyd said, "If you had to play this course with a scorecard, I don't see how you could finish."

Recently, defending PGA Champion Keegan Bradley said, "I heard it was really hard, and they were right - it's brutal."

Immediately after this year's British Open, Adam Scott played the course and said "The front nine is playable but the back nine is not." He continued, "Good scores will be made in good weather with modest wind - with rough weather it's going to be very difficult."

After completing 36 holes the field will be cut to the low-70 and ties. If there is a tie after 72 holes, the win will be determined by a three-hole aggregate playoff at 16, 17 and 18. If a tie still remains, the routing begins at 18, and if necessary on to 10, 17 and 18 repeated until the issue is resolved.

The winner will be a long hitter who avoids the salt marshes, sweet grass and sunken sandy waste areas that line the fairways and has the short game skills to master the elevated greens.