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January 29 2013

1:23 PM

Inside the Numbers: WM Phoenix

Phil Mickelson ranks 126th in driving distance on the PGA TOUR at 284.6 yards per measured drive.
(Gross/Getty Images)

By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM

Each week in this Tuesday series we review the previous PGA TOUR tournament (Farmers Insurance Open) and look ahead to the next one (Waste Management Phoenix Open) by taking a look at -- what else? -- the numbers.

Tiger Woods' impressive four-shot victory at the Farmers Insurance Open was his eighth win at Torrey Pines and has many golf fans wondering if this is a sign of things to come. It was clear this past week that Tiger's short game was in top form while his wedge really stood out. Just what stood out about his wedge game?

1 foot, 9 inches  The difference in distance on approaches from 50 to 125 yards for Woods from his 2012 average to his Farmers Insurance Open average. … Two areas of Woods’ game stood out in his victory. One was his short game – a chip-in for birdie and an amazing bunker shot from an awkward stance are a few. The other was his wedge play. Last season, Woods ranked T84 in approaches from 50 to 125 yards at 18 feet, 5 inches – a major scoring statistic in golf. At the Farmers, Woods ranked T41 at 16 feet, 8 inches. That might not seem like much, but the difference between a 6-footer for birdie and a 4-footer for birdie can be huge. Look at this stat all season. Woods will have a monster year if his wedge game is on.

-0.353  The number of strokes per round Brandt Snedeker lost to the field average on the greens at the Farmers, where he had three three-putts and ranked 59th in strokes gained-putting while finishing T2. … Snedeker ranked No. 1 in strokes gained-putting in 2012 and the flat stick is his calling card. Through three events this season, Snedeker is 85th in that category and clearly struggling. But is this necessarily bad news for Sneds? Maybe not. Despite his putting struggles, he’s had a pair of top 5s and another T25 in his three events. He could really get hot if his putter heats up.

What big-hitting rookie Luke List carded on the par-5 13th hole in the fourth round of the Farmers, also known as an albatross. It was the first double eagle of the season on the PGA TOUR, one that found the bottom of the hole via a 255-yard 3-wood. … List, who led the Web.com Tour in driving distance last season with an astounding 324-yard average, currently ranks 20th on TOUR in distance at 301.1. The guess is List has been hitting more 3-woods of late – and at least one was right on target.

25.5 percent  The career winning percentage of Woods. That’s right. Tiger has won 75 times in 294 starts. … For comparison, that is more than double the percentage of players such as Jack Nicklaus (73/594) 12.3 percent, Rory McIlroy (6/54) 11.1 percent, Phil Mickelson (40/467) 8.5 percent, and Arnold Palmer (62/734) 8.4 percent. All-time wins leader Sam Snead (82/552) is 14.9 percent.

89.47 percent The sand save percentage for Brad Fritsch this season. Fritsch has saved 17 of 19 attempts, which ranks first on TOUR with a minimum of five attempts. … The beach was also kind to Fritsch at the Farmers. He ranked first in that category by saving 7 of 8 attempts en route to finishing T9, the Canadian rookie’s first top 10 on TOUR.

284.6 yards  Driving distance average this season through two events for Phil Mickelson. That ranks 126th on the PGA TOUR. … Mickelson has finished T37 and T51 this season. It’s too early to wonder if Phil’s best golf is behind him, but he did average around 300 yards off the tee from 2009 to 2011. Last season, Mickelson dropped to 53rd in distance at 294.4. Two events isn’t a big enough sample size, but another sizable drop will undoubtedly hurt Mickelson’s golf game if it hasn’t already. This is a stat to keep an eye on in 2013.

538  Brian Gay remains atop the FedExCup standings with 538 points as he heads into this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. … Johnson Wagner had 783 through the Farmers Insurance Open last season.

 

INSIDE THE NUMBERS ARCHIVE

Week 2: Sony Open/Humana Challenge

Week 3: Humana Challenge/Farmers Insurance Open

 

 

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