Posts Tagged ‘PGA Tour’
The article below is an one I wrote two years ago expressing my concerns about the golf course at TPC Sawgrass and how worthy it is of hosting a “major championship“. My sentiments have not changed….
When was the last time the top 10 players in a major were a combined 55 under par after one round? When in a major have 57 players shot under par on any day? The PGA Tour is trying to buy their way into a major championship by touting The Players as the “5th Major“.
Not many people are aware that the PGA Tour does not operate or run a single major championship. The Masters is run by Augusta National, The US Open by the USGA, the British Open by the Royal and Ancient and the PGA by the PGA of America. With the Players Championship the PGA Tour is making a vain (in my opinion of course) attempt to get into the mix. From the monstrous clubhouse, to the monstrous purse, to the monstrous public relations spin they put on the event – they are eagerly attempting to join a closed club.
My primary reason for voting out the Players is the golf course! Sure the holes we see all look frightening, with tremendous risk and reward, but what about the rest of the course. Ever notice how much the Tour focuses on the closing holes? Please don’t get me wrong – you must be a ball striker to do well here, but this is simply Harbourtown where rough has replaced trees. Distance does not make a great course , but give the best in the world ten opportunities from inside 140 yards and look out. There are 10 short, legit birdie opportunities on the course (holes 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17). Holes where every player in the field, from the longest to the shortest, should be thinking birdie or par at worst.
I have taken the rounds of two players, the longest and the shortest, namely Bubba and Fred Funk and broken them down for your perusal. Let’s start with Fred Funk who played earlier this morning. When it comes to driving distance Fred Funk is currently 62nd on the Champions Tour with an average drive of 265.9yds. That would leave him at 183 out of 185 on the PGA Tour ahead of only Faxon and Pavin. His driving distance was 260 today and he scored a +1 /73. The following numbers indicate the yardage he had into each of the 10 selected holes in regulation:(They include all four par fives and a par three)
1-156yds, 2-82yds, 4-115yds, 6-115yds, 9-87yds, 10-146yds, 11-101yds, 12-81yds, 16-4yds, 17-137yds for an average of 102.4 yards.
The shortest player in the field averaged just over 100 yds into 10 holes on a major championship course?
Now let’s check in with Bubba Watson who played nicely and shot -5 /67. He is currently the longest hitter on the PGA Tour at 313.8 yards per poke. Today he averaged 318 yards off the tee. His yardages into each of the ten selected holes were:
1-90yds, 2-53yds, 4-91 yds, 6-104 yds, 9-76 yds, 10-139 yds, 11-29 yds, 12-92 yds, 16-3 yds, 17-137 yds for an average distance in of 81.4 yards. I wonder how many drivers Bubba used on these holes?
The facts indicate that every player in the field is faced with 10 holes on a supposed “major championship” course where the longest shot they are required to hit is approximately 140 yards. And this is with a rainy night before the tournament got under way. What major course has a four hole stretch (9-12) where no approach shot of over 125 yards is required?
In 2008 the greens had just been reshaped and surfaced and as a result were rock hard. The wind blew between 15 and 25mph each day starting at 10 am. In other words conditions were as tough and challenging as they could get and yet, the playoff number was -5. Can you imagine conditions being brutal at Winged Foot or Carnoustie and -5 playing off…?
Grow all the rough you want, make the greens rock hard and roll at 13 on the stimp, but my belief is this – if they have soft conditions and windless days the winning score will be lower than -15. You heard it here first – this is no major, just an over-sized, over-hyped attempt by Tim Finchem to create a PGA Tour major. Sorry Tim, I vote NO!
That being said it should be a fun-filled event with a fantastic field – enjoy!
At the end of each year, with the help of ShotLink, the PGA Tour puts out a stat sheet that gives an in-depth review of various statistical categories. There are always some very interesting numbers – some of which I thought I’d share with you today…
- The PGA Tour average driving distance for all measured shots was 290.9 yards.
- The longest driver was JB Holmes at 318.4 yards while the shortest hitter was Brian Gay at 269.8 yards – that’s almost 50 yards per tee shot!
- There were 21 golfers that averaged over 300 yards per tee shot. In 2000 John Daly was the first and only player to average over 300 yards.
- Rory McIlroy hit 51 out of 56 tee shots over 300 yards in the WGC-Bridgestone event.
- The longest drive of the year went to Dustin Johnson at 463 yards – it did involve a cart path!
- Joe Durant was the straightest driver hitting 75.65% of his fairways while Anthony Kim was the least accurate hitting only 46.99% of the fairways.
- No player led the field in driving accuracy en route to victory, while Bubba Watson led the field in driving distance for both of his victories.
- Seventy golfers had rounds where they hit every fairway – a feat Joe Durant achieved four times!
- John Merrick had a streak of 36 fairways in a row!
- Darren Clarke only hit 41% of the fairways in winning the Open Championship.
- Boo Weekley led the tour in greens in regulations (GIR) with 71.68% – that’s just over 12.5 greens per round. Keep in mind the average golfer hits 4 greens per round.
- Robert Garrigus and Graeme McDowell both hit 92% of the greens at Kapalua – the easiest course on tour to hit greens.
- 15 players manged to hit all 18 greens in a round and no golfer accomplished this feat more than once.
- Webb Simpson had a streak of 32 greens in a row!
- The hardest green to hit on tour was the 6th Hole at PGA National (29.98%). The hole is actually a par five for the members and is truly frightening.
- The course with the most hole outs from off the green was Harbourtown GL at 101. Primarily because the greens are literally miniscule and very easy to miss.
Around the Green
- Brian Gay led the sand saves category with a 63.40 % up and down rate.
- Greg Chalmers led the scrambling category with a 65.17% up and in rate.
Note: I do have a problem with the PGA Tour scrambling stat in that they measure scrambling for any shot to the green that is one stroke higher than regulation. This means that tee balls hit OB should be up and downed from the tee to convert and that pitches and chips played to a par five in three are not counted…not too much sense in that. (Thanks to Pete Sanders from ShotbyShot.com for pointing this out to me)
- Five players led the field in scrambling in the same week that they won.
- Jason Dufner was 23 out of 24 for scrambling in the Waste Management event.
- Brian Gay and Paul Stankowski each had 17 consecutive sand saves!
- Luke Donald led the tour in the best stat on tour in my opinion – Strokes Gained-Putting with +.844. That means he gained an average of .844 strokes on the most “average” putter for every round he played and has led the tour in this category the last three years. Boo Weekley, for all his hitting prowess, was last on -1.102 and Luke gained almost two strokes per round on Boo – just with the putter!
- Luke Donald had 1 three putt for every 80 holes of golf he played.
- On average Tour winners out performed the field by +1.426 strokes per round with the putter. That’s only +5.7 better than the field average in a four round event…
- 6 out of 38 winners in 2011 led the field in strokes gained-putting and 25 of 38 winners ranked in the top ten.
- Charlie Wi gained +12.68 strokes on the field in the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
- Hunter Mahan only managed to make 219 feet of putts in the 4th round of the Deutsche Bank Championship.
- Three players managed to have 15 one putts in a round!
- Luke Donald had 483 consecutive holes without a three putt and Kevin Na made 676 out of 676 from inside three feet!
- Luke Donald led the adjusted (?) scoring average at 68.86 while Webb Simpson led the actual scoring averages at 69.16.
- Webb Simpson had 60 rounds of scoring in the 60′s and 13 out of 98 rounds that were bogey-free.
- Four players had 11 birdies in a round and three players made 27 birdies in a four round event.
- 4% of all rounds on tour were completely bogey-free.
- Luke Donald had 17 consecutive sub-par rounds (I have those all the time!) and Briny Baird had 12 consecutive rounds in the 60′s.
The PGA Tour currently keeps a total of 416 various stats on each player for every round they play and with the help of some very smart people each stat category is getting deeper and better as they move forward. Ever read the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis? Well golf is finally starting to apply sabermetrics to the massive amount of data they collect every year – and they’re better off for it.
You cannot improve upon something if you cannot measure it! I believe that statement to be true and I know that quality stats are vital in helping any serious golfer improve. That is why I have aligned with noted statistician Peter Sanders and his fantastic site ShotbyShot.com. With this site you have the ability to truly assess your strengths and weaknesses. You even have the ability to judge your putting against scratch handicap golfers in a strokes gained type format – the only other way to get something similar is to become a Tour player!
To all my students: If you are serious, and I believe you all are, please contact me about a fantastic opportunity for us to participate at ShotbyShot.com. After all, if you want to improve something we have got to measure it….
As in the picture at the top of the page the weight should be anywhere from a 50/50 split to favoring the front foot slightly
Your head should be centered between the heels
There should be very little spine tilt away from the target and as a result the shoulders will be fairly level
Setting up for shots off a high tee:
As in the picture below the feet are fairly far apart and there should actually be a little more weight on the back foot than the front foot
The ball is positioned inside the left heel and teed high
The spine should be tilting away from the target a little as you prepare to “swing uphill”
The best teacher you have available to you to help with this is a mirror. You are now aware as to what it should look like, but you don’t quite have the feel yet. Get in front of a mirror, set up so that it looks correct (your feel might have something else to say about it!) and take that with you to practice or play.
I recently ran an interesting promotion where I offered golfers an opportunity to gain 10 yards if they participated in a twenty minute TrackMan session. The cost was $50 and if they didn’t gain the yardage their session was free. This meant I had to be on my game and I had to make simple and effective upgrades to get paid…it’s not often a golfer can take a lesson and only have to pay for the lesson if they see immediate results!
My reason for running the promotion was primarily to create interest and excitement in the new TrackMan unit and to give the Berkeley Hall membership a peek at what this technology can do for them.
I had eighteen golfers, eleven men and seven ladies sign up and I encouraged each of the participants to focus on the driver. In case a participant wanted to work with an iron I had them each bring their driver and a seven iron along.
When hitting the driver I try to get my students to have an attack angle of somewhere from 1 – 5 degrees up along with a club path of somewhere from 1 – 5 degrees from in to out. I prefer that most golfers hit out and up on the ball creating a high launch, low spin trajectory with the driver. We all could benefit from a few extra yards, no?
Here is a compilation of points of interest from the day:
- The average swing speed for the men with the driver was 83.9mph. The top speed achieved was 96.1mph while the slowest was 70.1mph. Keep in mind that this event was promoted as a “distance” event and as a result the golfers who came out tended not be the longest of hitters.
- The average speed for the ladies with the driver was 65.6mph with the top speed being 73.4mph and the slowest being 60.3mph.
- Before any changes were made 11 out of the 18 golfers hit down on the ball at an average of 1.6 degrees with the driver. After the changes had been made the same 11 golfers averaged 0.6 degrees up on the ball. Not bad…
- Before any changes were made 7 golfers (a surprisingly low number in my opinion!) hit from out to in at an average of 3.3 degrees with the big stick. This means that their club path was travelling 3.3 degrees left (for a right hander) of the target at impact. After adjusting, the same 7 golfers averaged 0.8 degrees from in to out – a very positive change.
- Prior to any changes 4 golfers hit too much (in my opinion) from in to out at an average of 6.6 degrees. After the changes they averaged 2.2 degrees in to out – a far more respectable number.
- Not every golfer gained yardage, although the majority did. A few golfers actually lost some clubhead speed while they were working on the changes which were primarily in the address position. It was interesting to note how some golfers adapted and changed easily while others had a tough time.
- The golfers with slower swing speeds tended to be more efficient, something I had already noted from the PGA Tour stat on Total Driving Efficiency and as a result it was quite difficult to get them make the “required” yardage gains. They were quite close to optimal already…
- Similarly, I found the ladies to generally be more efficient in transferring the energy they created to the ball than the men. I’ve also noticed that LPGA golfers also tend to be more efficient than their PGA Tour counterparts, particularly with the driver. The mantra seems to be “the more energy you create, the more likely you are to waste it!” It does not have to be that way though.
- Every golfer who attended the event improved in an important area regarding how they deliver the club to the back of the ball. Quite a few golfers did not gain 10 yards, but they all left feeling like they had the knowledge and feel they needed in order to realize longer tee shots.
- One lady had a fantastic golf swing with very efficient numbers, but, primarily due to her petite size, she was unable to generate much clubhead speed. She had an older, heavy driver with a 70 gram shaft and so I spent most of our time talking to her about what equipment (lighter = faster) suited her best and what exercises (Momentus woosh) she could do to increase her speed with the driver. I’ll be interested to see how she does with the new club.
- Almost all the participants commented that while the “numbers overload” from TrackMan was overwhelming at first, once we had isolated a particular problem (attack angle, club path, spin axis etc.) it seemed very simple. They were able to key in on one area and get a feel for how much change was required in order to reach their goal – all without much in the way of complicated, positional swing changes.
- The twenty minute time format worked well for the students and for me. They did not get overloaded with information and I had be concise and clear (for a change!) in what they needed to upgrade.
So, back to the question, “Can you get better in twenty minutes?” I would have to say an emphatic yes. With the right feedback mechanism, which TrackMan certainly is, and a simple approach, you can make fairly substantial changes in a short period of time. The important thing moving forward is that you practice the changes in order to gain a measure of comfort and confidence in them – and as we know, that takes more than twenty minutes.
Thanks for reading.
CHILDREN’S MIRACLE NETWORK HOSPITALS ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH JIM FURYK
2010 PGA Tour Player of the Year Launches New Miracle Birdies Program to Raise Funds for Children’s Hospitals
SALT LAKE CITY (April 13, 2011)—Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® a charity that raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals across North America, announced today a new partnership with 2010 PGA Tour Player of the Year and FedEx Cup champion Jim Furyk. Furyk has named Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as his charity of choice for the next two years.
To kick off the partnership, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Jim Furyk are launching Miracle Birdies, a new fundraising program in which individuals, groups and sponsors can make a monetary pledge for each time Furyk makes a birdie during his tournament play in 2011. Each individual’s entire donation will be donated to their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Individuals can participate by signing up at www.MiraclesBirdies.com.
”I am honored to be partnering with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in the important cause of raising money for children’s hospitals,” said Furyk. “Through our ongoing support of one such hospital—Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Florida—my wife and I have witnessed many of the miracles that happen through the generosity of others. My hope is that together we can all create many more through the Miracle Birdies program.”
“Jim Furyk is committed to our cause of saving the lives of children across North America, and we are appreciative of his support and the generosity of fans who will contribute to the Miracle Birdies program,” said John Lauck, President and CEO of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. “Through Jim’s extraordinary talent and career success, he will be a strong voice in motivating his supporters, sponsors and other individuals and groups to raise funds for sick children at hospitals in communities across North America.”
Fundraising through the 2011 Miracle Birdies campaign is slated to begin in April at The Heritage PGA TOUR golf tournament and will conclude in October at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in Orlando, Fla. In addition to supporting the Miracles Birdies program, Furyk will sport the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ logo on his hat during tournament play. For more information on Jim Furyk’s Miracle Birdies, visit www.miraclebirdies.com.
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About Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals across North America, which, in turn, use the money where it’s needed the most. When a donation is given it stays in the community, ensuring that every dollar is helping local kids. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $4 billion, most of it $1 at a time. These donations have gone to support research and training, purchase equipment, and pay for uncompensated care, all in support of our mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Learn more at CMNHospitals.org.
Please go to the link and pledge whatever you feel you can – thanks!