This article is part of our PGA Tour Stats Review series.
Well, someone else will win a PGA Tour event this week as Justin Thomas is not in the field for the CareerBuilder Challenge in Palm Springs. Who will that be? Here's our stats preview for this week.
First, though, the first of two stats from this week's notes column from the Associated Press' Doug Ferguson: "Justin Thomas hit 34 drives that went at least 330 yards during his two weeks in Hawaii - 20 on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, 14 at Waialae Country Club." When you do that, the game suddenly becomes a whole lot easier.
The second thing of note from that column was this: all three courses this week – yes that includes the harder PGA West Stadium Course – ended up in the top 10 for the easiest courses of the season list for 2015-16. Translation: even though Alcatraz (No. 17 at PGA West) exists, great ready to make a lot of birdies. The leaders in birdie average (minimum 10 rounds) this PGA Tour season in the field this week are:
Anirban Lahiri - 5.36 birdies per round
John Rahm - 5.25
Scott Piercy - 5.08
Emiliano Grillo - 5.06
Stewart Cink - 5.00
My recommendation here is Piercy, who played consistently well in 2016, finished the fall right with a T3 at Safeway and T4 at Mayakoba and opened his 2017 at the Sony Open last week with a T57 finish where he finished T27 in birdies. A consistent player who can