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PGA Tour Stats Review: Phoenix Open

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.

After the tough Sunday and Monday conditions at the Farmers Insurance Open, players will be happy to get to the scoring fest that is the Phoenix Open, the Greatest Show on Grass featuring the loudest hole in golf, No. 16. Here's our stats thread.

A Note About Last Week

Brandt Snedeker's insane round of 69 on Sunday in the crazy, windy and atrocious conditions that dominated the Farmers Insurance Open's end was, in the words of Golf Channel and CBS' Sir Nick Faldo, "The round of the decade" ... and maybe more. It helped that he was 14 of 14 on putts inside of 10 feet. He credited his pop stroke for being good on poa annua greens, and it sure showed when the going got tough in that final round.

Last Year's Winning Stat

Brooks Koepka drives the ball a mile. We all know that. But in winning last year, we can't overlook greens in regulation, where he finished T4, helping him wind up fourth in strokes gained-tee to green on the week, gaining 9.537 shots on the field. The stat we'll look at this week is indeed strokes gained-tee to green. Gotta stay out of the desert at TPC Scottsdale.
Here are the leaders this year on the PGA Tour in that stat who are playing this week:

Gary Woodland - 2.576 strokes gained from tee to green per round
Bubba Watson - 1.944
Patrick Rodgers - 1.771
Kevin Na - 1.726
Jason Bohn - 1.581

Our picks this week are Woodland and Watson. Woodland contended for a while last week before the weather moved in, blowing up Sunday for an 82. He struggled on the weekend, but shot a nice 67 on the tough Torrey Pines South Course on Friday to move into weekend contention, a round where he gained 3.549 strokes tee to green on the field. Duplicate that this week and he should be in contention again.

Watson, meanwhile, has tied for second the last two years, ranking 26th in ball striking in 2014 and 2015. It's also a home game for Bubba, which helps too. This season he's sixth in the strokes gained-tee to green category, gaining 1.944 strokes per round on the field in that area.

The Field

The field includes Snedeker, Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson, who both missed the cut last week, Justin Thomas, Charley Hoffman, Kevin Kisner, K.J. Choi (who contend on the weekend at Torrey), Jason Dufner (who won at the CareerBuilder), Billy Horschel, Zach Johnson, Danny Lee and Hideki Matsuyama.

The Weather

It's going to be beautiful this week, with sunny skies, light winds and temperatures ranging from the high 60s to low 70s.

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