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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering The McGladrey Classic

Jeremy Schilling

Schilling covers golf for RotoWire, focusing on young and up-and-coming players. He was a finalist for the FSWA's Golf Writer of the Year award. He also contributes to PGA Magazine and hosts the popular podcast "Teeing It Up" on BlogTalkRadio.

The PGA Tour moves back to the United States this week for The McGladrey Classic from Sea Island, Ga. This is the next-to-last event of the fall season, so anyone looking to get a head start on 2014 - or looking to get into good position for the first Reshuffle which follows next week's play - must have a solid performance this week.

History Lesson

This event, hosted by Davis Love III and his brother Mark, is in its fourth year. Heath Slocum was the inaugural winner, Ben Crane won in 2011 and Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey won last year's event.

None of those players have really done much since their victories, so we can't strongly recommend any of them.

But while Slocum may not have another victory since, he does have momentum. He-regained his PGA Tour card through the Tour Finals last August and September, turning in finishes of MC-T8-T17-T17 over those four events. So far in his two PGA Tour starts this season he has a tie for 40th at the Open and a missed cut in Las Vegas.

Last year on the Tour he was first in driving accuracy at 75.48 percent.

Who is Playing

Most of the Sea Island-area crowd is playing, including Webb Simpson, Love, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Harris English, Jonathan Byrd and Lucas Glover.

Simpson is the top recommendation here, as he got his first win of the new season three weeks ago in Vegas and did it in commanding style, leading the field in birdies and strokes gained putting.

Johnson had a strong finish to 2013 and a solid Sunday in Vegas, shooting a final-round 67 and finishing the week third in driving accuracy at just over 71 percent.

And our final recommendation out of this pack is Kuchar, whose stellar 2013 included two wins, two second-place finishes, a seventh-place finish in scoring average (69.589) and a third-place ranking in sand saves.

This event has also featured an intriguing group of second-place finishers: Bill Haas (not playing this week), Simpson and Davis Toms (who is).

Toms is an interesting case, as the 46-year-old (he'll be 47 on Jan. 4) still pops on leaderboards from time to time. He finished seventh at the 2013 PGA Championship, and backed that up with a tie for 16th the next week at the Wyndham Championship. He already has a top-40 finish this season (Las Vegas), and was sixth on the PGA Tour last year in final round scoring average along with being ninth in proximity to the hole at 33 feet.

The Sunday Surgers (In Jetlag)

Three who played last week at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions event have made the long trip from Shanghai to Georgia: Brian Gay, Boo Weekley and Scott Piercy. For obvious reasons, we do not recommend these players.

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