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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering the Arnold Palmer Invitational

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: Arnold Palmer Invitational

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 Tampa Bay Championship, and a look ahead to this week's event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

2012 full-season results
2011 full-season results

2013 PGA Tour Events

EVENT WINNER DRIVE DRIVE GIR PUTTS PUTTS EAGLE/ BOGEY/
%of56 RNK DIS RNK %of72 RNK PER GIR RNK PER RND RNK BIRDIE DBL
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 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
NorTrust Merrick -11 53.6 27 298.6 20 63.9 23 1.67 8 27.5 10 2/17 10/0
Honda M.Thompson -9 71.4 9 279.7 53 66.6 5 1.71 8 27.8 10 1/18 11/0
Cadillac Woods -19 53.6 30 296.5 21 69.4 7 1.52 1 25 2 0/27 8/0
Tampa Streelman -10 69.2 11 270.8 48 68.1 11 1.67 4 27.8 6
TOUR AVG 63.5 20.1 288.0 32.4 75.1 10.7 1.63 7.4 27.6 12.3 0.8/19.1 5.2/0.2


This Week's Arnold Palmer Invitational

This tournament presents a strong field year after year as many players are prepping for the upcoming Masters, which begins April 11 this year. The Bay Hill course is a testy par-72, 7,419 yards covered with challenging holes no matter where they are, or how long or short they may be. A low score is tough to be had, especially in rounds three and four.

Past Arnold Palmer champions teeing it up this year are Martin Laird, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Rod Pampling, Chad Campbell and Phil Mickelson. In the Official World Golf Rankings, 34 of the top 50 players are in the field.

Tiger Woods has won seven times here (gasp) - 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2009 and 2012. In all of his starts here he hasn't ever finished runner-up.

The Bay Hill course has regularly been in the 50 PGA Tour Toughest Courses. In 2012, Bay Hill ranked 12th, while nearby challenging Innisbrook, site of last week's Tampa Bay Championship, ranked 30th.

Comparing those two difficult courses within 75 miles and seven days, is interesting. Innisbrook is par 71 with five par-3s, Bay Hill is par 72 with four par-5s and four par 3s.

AVG SCOREEAGLE BIRDIEBOGEYDOUBLETRIPLEBIRDIES/EAGLESTOTAL BOGEYS
BAY HILL (72)73.1291,1711,235165351,2291,670
INNISBROOK (71)70.7181,4231,045113201,4591,331


Last Five Winneers and Runners-Up

2012 - Tiger Woods, 13-under 275; Graham McDowell, 280
2011 - Martin Laird, 8-under 280; Steve Marino, 281
2010 - Ernie Els, 11-under 277, Edoardo Molinari, Kevin Na, 279
2009 - Tiger Woods, 13-under 275; Sean O'Hair, 276
2008 - Tiger Woods, 18-under 270; Bart Bryant, 271

2012 Low Rounds (Course record: 62, Andy Bean, 1981, Greg Norman, 1984; tournament record: 264, Payne Stewart, 1987)

Round 1: 6-under 66, Charlie Wi, Jason Dufner
Round 2: 9-under 63, Graham McDowell
Round 3: 5-under 67, Greg Owen, Josh Teater, Seung-yuh Noh, Ernie Els
Round 4: 4-under 68, Brian Harman, J.B. Holmes
Cut Line: 3-over 147

Players with experience do well. Wide fairways invite going for distance off the tee, but what the course demands is good second shots just about everywhere. Putting success comes after excellent GIR and proximity to hole. Gathering birdies and avoiding bogeys, or worse, is vital (see above for eagles and birdies vs. bogeys, double and triple bogeys). Afternoon winds are known to crop up.
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