By Seth Kerr
GolfWRX Staff Writer
With the World Golf Championship-Accenture Match Play Championship marking the official end to the West Coast swing; let’s take a look back at some of the more important stats and what we learned so far.
Americans have won all nine PGA Tour events, with Kyle Stanley and John Huh being the only first-time winners. Huh is the only rookie to win on Tour, finishing off Robert Allenby in a marathon eight-hole playoff at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Despite Stanley’s disappointing loss at the Farmers Insurance Open, he is still the current Race for the FedExCup point leader over Johnson Wagner and Phil Mickelson thanks to his impressive win at the Waste Management Open.
Phil Mickelson had an up-and-down West Coast Swing, struggling early in the year before dominating Tiger Woods by 11 strokes in the final round to win at Pebble Beach. Tiger made the switch to the Nike Method 001 putter and it hasn’t worked so far, missing a number of makeable putts at Pebble Beach and the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in his loss to Nick Watney.
Mickelson followed up his victory at Pebble Beach with a disappointing finish at the Northern Trust Open. He had the lead for three rounds but could not finish off the tournament, losing to Bill Haas in a playoff.
Stanley is the only player in the top-25 of driving distance to win on Tour this year. He is average 303.3 yards off the tee, well behind No. 1 Bubba Watson and his pink PING G20 driver (Watson is averaging 312.7 yards). Gavin Coles has the lowest driving average on tour at just 267.1 yards.
Gary Woodland used his Titleist 910 D3 driver for the longest drive of the year at an outrageous 450 yards on No. 18 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. The top-39 drives of the year were all 400 yards or more and all were from the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Using the new Cleveland Classic driver, Jason Kokrak had the longest drive from a tournament other than the Tournament of Champions at 399 yards at the Sony Open.
Paul Goydos leads the Tour in driving accuracy, hitting 73.76 percent of fairways. Hunter Mahan is the highest ranked winner in driving accuracy at No. 4, with an average of 71.26 percent of fairways hit.
Webb Simpson used Titleist 680 irons to hit 75.93 percent of greens in regulation to lead Bubba Watson and his PING S59 irons by just over 1 percent. It is a shocking stat for Watson, who is also the leader in driving distance.
You would expect the leader in driving distance and second in greens in regulation to be in contention each week to win. But Watson is just 21st in FedExCup points with only one top-10 finish. For Watson, it shows just how badly he has putted this year.
Watson and his PING Anser putter rank 170th in total putts with an average of 30.60 putts per round. That is a whopping 3.22 more putts per round than Greg Chalmers, who leads the tour in putts per round at 27.38. Chalmers is one of few players on Tour to use a Bobby Grace putter.
Brian Gay, who now wears TaylorMade gear but still uses Mizuno irons, gets up and down 74.68 percent of the time, making par or better an outstanding 59 out of 79 times. Scott Brown is worst on tour in scrambling only getting up and down a paltry 38.71 percent of the time.
Titleist gamer, Bobby Gates, leads the Tour in eagles with eight, while fellow Titleist pro, Ben Crane, who is not known for prodigious length, is second with seven eagles this year.
Perhaps the most well-known American Titleist player, Steve Stricker, leads the tour in scoring average at 68.13, but has only played eight rounds after taking five weeks off following the Sony Open.
In a sign of how well Stricker has played this year, he leads the Tour in seven total performance stats.
Stricker leads the tour in:
1) Birdie Average 5.13 per round
2) Sand Save Percentage 73.33 percent
3) Par-5 birdie or better 75 percent
4) Scoring Average 68.13
5) Scoring Average before cut 66.50
6) Consecutive Cuts 45
7) Back Nine Scoring Average 33.13
So what do all these stats tell us entering the Florida swing? Probably not a whole lot. None of the 2011 players who won on the West Coast won again before the Masters. In fact, Bubba Watson and Luke Donald were the only multiple winners who won on the West Coast last year.
Tiger Woods and Gary Woodland are just two players happy to hear that. While Woods has had a few good rounds, he has yet to show he can put together four solid rounds. Woodland has looked lost for most of the year, though he and his new coach, Butch Harmon, promise he will be ready for Augusta. And for pros that is what it’s all about. They would all trade there rankings in every stat for one major, because while no one remembers who finished No. 1 in scoring, putting, or birdies, everyone remembers who won major championships.
Below are a list of the winners and the clubs they played.
Hyundai Tournament of Champions — Steve Stricker
Driver: Titleist 909 D3 (8.5°)
Fairway wood: Titleist 906F2 (13°)
Hybrid: Titleist 909H (19°)
Irons: Titleist 710 AP2 (3-PW)
Wedges Titleist Vokey (54°, 60°)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot #2
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Sony Open — Johnson Wagner
Driver: TaylorMade R11S (8°)
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Burner SuperFast 2.0 (13.5°)
Hybrid: Adams Idea Pro a 12 (18°)
Irons: Titleist CB 712 (3-9)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey (48°, 54°, 60°)
Putter: Scotty Cameron proto
Ball: Pro V1x
Humana Challenge — Mark Wilson
Driver: PING I20 (8.5°)
Fairway Wood: Cleveland HiBore XLS (13°)
Hybrid: Ping i15(17°, 20°)
Irons: Ping i20
Wedges: Ping Tour (52°, 60°)
Putter: Ping Karsten Anser
Ball: Pro V1x
Farmers Insurance Open — Brandt Snedeker
Driver: TaylorMade Burner SuperFast (10.5°)
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Superfast (15°)
Hybrid: Adams Idea a12 Proto (20°)
Irons: Bridgestone J40 Cavity Back (4-PW)
Wedges: Bridgestone J40 (52°, 56°), Titleist Vokey (60°)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG Rossie
Ball: Bridgestone Tour B330
Waste Management Phoenix Open — Kyle Stanley
Driver: Titleist 910D3 (8.5°)
Fairway Wood: Titleist 910Fd (13.5°)
Hybrid: Titleist 503i (19°)
Irons: Titleist 712MB (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey (52°, 56°, 60°)
Putter: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Timeless (GSS) Proto
Ball: Pro V1x
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am — Phil Mickelson
Driver: Callaway RAZR Fit (9.5°)
Fairway Wood: Callaway Big Bertha Diablo (15°)
Hybrid: Callaway X Proto (19°)
Irons: Callaway X-Forged (4), RAZR X Forged Muscleback (5-PW)
Wedges: Callaway X Series JAWS (52°, 60°, 64°)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG Blade Prototype
Ball: Callaway Hex Black Tour
Northern Trust Open — Bill Haas
Driver: Titleist 910D2 (8.5°)
Fairway Wood: Titleist 910F (13.5°)
Irons: Titleist 712 CB (2), 710 CB (3-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey (54°, 60°)
Putter: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Studio Select Kombi
Ball: Pro V1x
Mayakoba Golf Classic — John Huh
Driver: Ping G10 (7.5°)
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Burner (13°)
Hybrid: Titleist 910H (17°)
Irons: Ping S57 (3-PW)
Wedges: Ping Tour (52°, 58°)
Putter: Ping Scottsdale Wolverine
Ball: Pro V1
World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship — Hunter Mahan
Driver: PING G20 (9.5°)
Fairway Wood: PING G20 (15°)
Hybrid: PING i15 (17°)
Irons: PING S56 (3-PW)
Wedges: PING Anser Forged (56°, 60°)
Putter: PING Nome
Ball: Pro V1x