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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering The Honda Classic

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 Honda Classic

Each week we'll list the statistical breakdown of the upcoming PGA Tour event. Below are the results of recent tournaments, not including last week's Match Play event, and a look ahead to this week's event, The Honda Classic.

2012 full-season results
2011 full-season results

2013 PGA Tour Events

EVENT WINNER DRIVE DRIVE GIR PUTTS PUTTS EAGLE/ BOGEY/
%of56 RANK DIS RANK %of72 RANK PER GIR RANK PER RND RANK BIRDIE DBL BOGEY
TOC D. Johnson -16 57.8 28 278.3 2 82.0 14 1.63 2 28.4 2 2/17 4/1
Sony Henley -24 55.4 8 293.1 51 83.3 2 1.62 4 27.7 17 0/26 2/0
Humana Gay -25, P1 81.5 2 279.7 75 83.3 4 1.65 38 27.8 35 0/27 2/0
Farmers Woods -14 57.1 17 307.2 2 69.4 34 1.66 1 28.5 11 2/21 7/2
Phoenix Mickelson -18 57.1 55 298.8 11 87.3 1 1.57 2 27.6 15 1/29 1/1
AT&T Snedeker -19 78.2 14 277.4 41 77.8 6 1.64 6 28.0 15 NA NA
No. Trust Merrick -11 53.6 27 298.6 20 63.9 23 1.67 8 27.5 10 2/17 10/0
TOUR AVG 63.0 21.6 290.4 28.9 78.1 12.0 1.63 8.7 27.9 15.0 1.0/15.4 2.7/0.3


This Week's Honda Classic

The Honda starts the Florida swing that presents demanding courses, strong fields and winning scores being low in relation to par.

Five-year averages, 2008 to 2012, of winners' scores at each event:

Honda Classic (par 70): 9.8 under
WGC Cadillac (72): 17.2
Tampa Bay (71): 10.6 under
Arnold Palmer (72): 12.6 under

The Honda had several names and courses until PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens took over in 2007. Jack Nicklaus has reworked and improved the course, making it a fair challenge that tests a broad range of talents. Needs: Total driving (distance and accuracy), GIR (both from fairways and rough), scrambling, par-4 success and careful putting. Wind problems are probable.

Last year's winner, Rory McIlroy, who was runner up at the WGC Match Play in 2012, said "the course isn't about making tons of birdies ... it's about keeping big numbers off the card."

The signature holes of PGA National are the par-3 15th, Par-4 16th and par-3 17th, dubbed "the bear trap." These three are the most difficult holes, producing bogeys and double bogeys or more. Having three collar-tightening among the four closing holes is a test for the nerves of a leader trying to close out a win after four tough days.

Not only becoming the youngest player to win here, McIlroy's win put him into the No. 1 slot in the Official World Golf Rankings moving ahead of Luke Donald.

2012 Low Rounds

Round 1: 6-under 64, Davis Love III
Round 2: 9-under 61, Brian Harman (course record)
Round 3: 4-under 66, Rory McIlroy
Round 4: 8-under 62, Tiger Woods

Last Five Winners and Runners-Up

2012 - Rory McIlroy, 12-under 268; Tiger Woods, Tom Gillis, 270
2011 - Rory Sabbatini, 9-under 271; Y.E. Yang, 272
2010 - Camilo Villegas, 13-under 267; Anthony Kim, 272
2009 - Y.E. Yang*, 9-under 271; John Rollins, 272
2008 - Ernie Els, 6-under, 274, Luke Donald, 275

*Yang went on to win the 2009 PGA Championship over Tiger Woods.

There have been five consecutive International winners after Mark Wilson's win in 2007. Eighteen players at this year's WGC Match Play Championship are in the field of the Honda. All above players are in the 2013 field except Love III, Kim, Rollins and Donald.
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