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Data shows how much more difficult greens become as the day progresses

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For many a golf bettor, betting on the first round leader of any tournament revolves around the early starters.

Even a cursory look at this week’s Australian Open shows the morning wave averaging 1.73 shots better than the afternoon players, resulting in 18 early starters finishing in the top-10 by the end of the day, including current leader David Micheluzzi.

However, over on the South African Open, the roles are reversed, with current leader Thirston Lawrence taking up one of 15 places on the front page of leaderboard for the late starters, who shot around half-a-shot less than the morning groups.

Naturally, there are many factors – wind, temperature, dew, grass-types and, potentially, overall quality of the groupings, but these are variables that can change from day to day.

Step in Lou Stagner, data lead of Arccos Golf and all-round numbers guru.

Stagner does not deal in emotion or factors that cannot be measured. It’s facts, figures and that’s your lot!

He will tell you that from the fairway, 80-yards from the pin, professionals simply don’t get as close as many believe:

On Wednesday, the man who once built a Lego model of Augusta #12, tweeted a table showing the variance in putts made by PGA Tour members under morning and afternoon conditions.

Taking stats over 17 years, the table shows an advantage to the early starters, not by much, but enough to consider.

There are plenty of places to take the stats, with a few respondents asking for a table on grass types through the day – Bent v Bermuda v POA – and that will probably turn up on Stanger’s twitter feed soon.

Of course, on a Sunday, later starters have the pressure of trying to win a tournament, which is why we tend to see flashy rounds from those a few off the pace on Payday, but it is enough to consider when trying to get that illusive three-figure first (or second) round leader.

Either way, two-time major champion, and regular tweeter Justin Thomas, decided this was his chance to get in an early excuse when he’s off late in the day.

Make of what you will. Perhaps the stats will one day include how many of these are for par saves against birdie putts, or is that too much?

Either way, Stagner continues to bombard us with stats that delight and entertain, and that can be no bad thing. Unless you are a buddy of Lou’s…

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Andrew J

    Dec 5, 2022 at 10:12 am

    Slick greens, afternoon growth, you name it; all matters NOT to the P&SI-EGOS where more putts will get holed not matter what the conditions. On ebay.

  2. Dave r

    Dec 3, 2022 at 6:29 pm

    Yo( don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out

  3. CrashTestDummy

    Dec 3, 2022 at 11:11 am

    That is just another thing that makes it harder for final groups on the weekend to stay at the top. Also, now I have an excuse that my handicap should be a few strokes lower because I always play afternoon golf. Lol.

  4. C

    Dec 2, 2022 at 11:20 pm

    Quit slicking the greens to run like concrete at 13 or 14, and quit letting them wear metal spikes on those hard greens. The metal spikes gouge the smooth hard surfaces way more than would if the greens weren’t like that in the first place. Quit bifurcation FFS

  5. Well Duh

    Dec 2, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    Thanks Captain Obvious

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19th Hole

Report: PGA Tour winner latest player to sign with LIV Golf

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Another PGA Tour winner is headed to LIV Golf.

According to The Telegraph, Colombian Sebastian Munoz has agreed to a deal with the rival circuit. Munoz adds to the growing list of Spanish speaking players on LIV including Joaquin Niemann, Sergio Garcia, Abraham Ancer, Mito Pereira and Eugenio Chacarra.

Munoz has previously won the Sanderson Farms Championship and has six additional top-5 finishes on the PGA Tour.

At the time of his signing, the 30-year-old was ranked 90th in the Official World Golf Rankings. Munoz is set to make his LIV Golf debut at Mayakoba on February 24-26.

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Bubba Watson says that he will beg Jay Monahan to play in this PGA Tour event

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Bubba Watson, who joined LIV Golf last year, is still hoping he can play in a PGA Tour event.

The two-time major champion plans to “beg” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan to allow Watson and his son to play in next year’s PNC Championship, which is an event that consists of a father/son or father/daughter tandem with one professional on each team.

“My son, like I said, he doesn’t play golf, but now his whole goal was – I’ll put this out there, his whole goal was to play in the PNC, which is the parent-junior, and now I’m not allowed to play in it. As soon as I see Jay Monahan – if Jay Monahan is watching this, I’ll see you at Augusta and I’ll try to beg you to let us play the PNC again.”

Watson and the other LIV golfers who were previously exempt or top-50 in the world will still get a chance to compete in this year Masters Tournament, to which Bubba is grateful.

“I was very thankful that we get to go back to the Masters. Then LIV announced their schedule, so I won’t be able to go to the women’s tournament or the Drive, Chip & Putt with the kids because we’ll be in Orlando. But it’s one year, I’m going to definitely be in the ears of people at LIV and try to see if I can get back there because I want to support what the Masters means to the game of golf, what the membership of Augusta means to the game of golf, and I would love to be there for the Women’s Amateur and the kids on Sunday.”

The 44-year-old (along with all LIV players) is currently suspended from the PGA Tour but will make his first start since the PGA Championship in May of 2022 at this week’s Saudi International at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club after missing time with a torn meniscus.

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19th Hole

Patrick Reed issues statement following rules controversy in Dubai

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On his way to finishing runner-up at last week’s Dubai Desert Classic, Patrick Reed found himself caught up in two incidents of note.

The first, widely nicknamed ‘Tee Gate’ saw a pre-event spat between Reed and the world number one and tournament favourite Rory McIlroy, resulting in the former Masters winner lobbing a LIV-branded tee in his opponent’s direction. Little were they aware that it would take a birdie at each of the final two holes for McIlroy to overcome the most talked-about player in golf.

The second newsworthy episode involved Reed losing his ball up a tree on the 17th fairway, an escapade that resulted in a social media frenzy asking whether the ball found was, in fact, the correct ball and how several marshals identified it.

The DP World Tour’s statement at the time cleared Reed, stating that, “Using binoculars [the DP World Tour Chief Referee] joined the player in the area and asked him to identify his distinctive ball markings,” and “was satisfied that a ball with those markings was lodged in the tree.”

Video footage and players’ comments subsequently pointed to the ball flying into a different tee, but in Reed’s defence, he was likely to have been advised to the exact tree to look into, rather than guess himself.

He signed for a bogey five on the hole, a score that could have been one shot worse if having to reload on the tee box.

Reed himself sees the event much like most did the tee-peg incident – as something and nothing – and posted a statement to that effect on Twitter today:

With that all over, this week Reed returns to the Asian Tour for the Saudi International, where he meets up with much of his LIV counterparts in an event dominated by two-time champion Dustin Johnson.

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