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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering The Barclays

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 Barclays

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 Wyndham Championship, and results from recent events at Bethpage Black, site of this year's Barclays and the first FedEx Cup playoff event.

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
Bridgestone K. Bradley -13 62.5 6 320.0 23 68.1 11 3.00 1 0 23 8 1
PGA Champ. McIlroy -13 66.1 42 311.5 1 66.7 13 NA NA 0 20 7 0
Wyndham Garcia -18 73.2 12 302.0 26 72.2 26 0.81 21 1 20 4 0
AVERAGE 65.0 26.9 291.0 34.2 71.9 17.1 1.45 14.4 0.6 19.3 6.2 0.4

Last Week's Wyndham championship

Since last year's playing of the Wyndham, the management of the Sedgefield Country Club made modest changes in bunkers, tees and other aspects of the course. But the most significant change was removing the bent grass from the greens and installing Champion Bermuda.

Several Tour players who visited the new greens have raved about the change, and this week's scores have validated the playability, which was expected. Another benefit is that the new greens now have grass that tolerates both heat and drought in the Carolina summer. Saturday's weather interruption isn't new to the Wyndham, having gone through heavy weather in the past that have been handled by a well-trained grounds team.

The tournament-within-a-tournament scramble for inclusion in this week's initial FedEx Cup playoff tournament put extra emphasis and stress on players that built in rounds three and four. Some players are only slightly below the 125 FedEx Cup points while others are shaky, just a few points above the 125th slot. One example came last year when Ernie Els, Padriag Harrington and William McGirt were successful in climbing up into the 125-or-higher group.

The Wyndham will continue to have the unique position attracting players who want to defend their positions and others who are shooting for a spot. Heath Slocum moved from 128th to 124th, the only one to come up from below the 125-line. Jhonattan Vegas missed the cut and fell back to 126 as a result of Slocum's advance.

In 2009, Slocum jumped from 124th to third when he won the first FedEx Cup playoff event at The Barclays, edging out all-stars Ernie Els (66), Padraig Harrington (67), Tiger Woods (67) and Steve Stricker (69).

These guys are good!

This Week's Barclays

EVENT WINNER DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE GIR GIR PUTTS EAGLE/ BOGEY/
%of56 RNK DIS DIS RNK %of72 RNK RND RNK BIRDIE DBL
2009 Bethpage Black Glover -4 71.4 13 291.1 8 72.2 4 29.0 11 0/16 8/2
#Mickelson -2 64.2 31 286.3 16 65.2 16 28.8 8 1/17 13/2
Duval -2 67.8 21 287.4 14 62.5 29 27.3 1 0/19 14/0/1
#Barnes -2 66.6 31 284.1 20 66.7 11 29.5 15 1/13 13/0
Fisher -1 66.6 31 288.6 10 76.4 1 31.7 52 1/11 12/0
#Woods E 67.8 21 290.4 9 66.7 11 30.0 26 0/14 10/2
S. Hansen E 68.5 26 288.6 10 68.0 8 29.5 15 0/15 13/1
#Mahan E 81.5 3 279.6 27 68.0 8 29.5 15 0/17 13/2
#Stenson +1 68.5 26 249.6 60 62.5 29 29.3 12 0/12 13/0
#McIlroy +2 67.8 21 293.6 7 65.3 16 30.0 26 0/12 12/1
Bettencourt +2 57.1 48 281.8 24 66.7 11 30.5 40 0/13 9/3
#Garcia +2 58.9 44 283.4 21 65.3 16 30.3 32 0/9 9/1
AVERAGE 67.225 26.3 283.7 18.8 67.1 13.3 29.6 21.1

# notes golfers in 2012 Barclays field.

We'll see the best fields of 2012 with the FedEx Cup playoffs starting with The Barclays played in the New York City area.

The demanding Bethpage Black course in Farmingdale, Long Island, is an A.W. Tillinghast gem known as one of the toughest tracks in both casual and championship play. Tiger Woods, 2-under, won the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black and Lucas Glover, 4-under, won the 2009 U.S. Open here.

Recently, a large group of PGA Tour players were polled as to their favorite U.S. Open courses: 13 percent voted for Bethpage Black (second to Pebble Beach at 26 percent) and 13 percent also voted Bethpage Black (second) as their least favorite (Oakmont, 15 percent). Truly, a love-hate relationship.

We don't expect the course will be set up in U.S. Open fashion, but it will be tough enough to see the winner in high single- or low double-digits under par. The recent PGA Championship Ocean Course mainly had wind and weather defending the course whereas Bethpage Black has 7,425 yards, tight fairways, tough rough, strategically sited bunkers and small greens as its challenge. The Atlantic Ocean is about 10 miles south of the course, but several holes can experience ocean wind.

Build your roster to favor golfers with distance, accuracy off the tee and approach shots, scrambling and the ever-present strong putting stats. There's no stat for patience, so seek a steady-eddie who doesn't get stirred up by small matters.

Check the 2009 top players' stats, especially driving distance and accuracy (hitting fairways). The top-12 players ranked better in driving distance as well as driving accuracy compared with the 31 winners we have posted each week so far.

You might remember that the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black had so many weather interruptions that the first tee time of the closing round was 9 a.m. MONDAY morning. Let's hope weather doesn't become a factor this year.

The surviving top-100 players advance to next week's Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC-Boston.
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