Las Vegas is infamously known as the City of Lost Wages, but for over two decades the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open has served as an opportunity to find latter-year riches. This time around, however, while still contested in October (for the 24th consecutive time), it's batting second in the new lineup that is the 2013-14 PGA TOUR schedule. FedExCup points are at stake for the first time and the winner will receive an invitation to the 2014 Masters if not already exempt.
TPC Summerlin's inclusion dates back to 1992, but it's served as the stand-alone host only since 2008. The highest winning aggregate of the last five editions was Martin Laird's 19-under 265 in 2009; he emerged in a playoff. Defending champion Ryan Moore established the tournament record at 24-under 260. Greens average a sizable 7,570 square feet and are prepped to run at only 11 on the Stimpmeter. That's green-light golf.
So it comes as no surprise that TPC Summerlin is one of the easiest par 71s every year. Last year's scoring average was 69.713 (or 1.287 strokes under par), good for second-easiest of all par 71s in 2012, but it was the highest the course had averaged as solo host. While scoring is expected to remain low, new bunkering has been introduced on the 7,243-yard layout.
"We looked at ShotLink ... the data showed the way these holes played," tournament director Adam Sperling told Las Vegas Review-Journal in early September, referring to the par-4 seventh, 12th and 18th holes as well as the par-5 13th. "So we looked at where the shots were being made and tried to change the way these holes will play."
While they've created more of a premium on finding the fairway on each, make no mistake, TPC Summerlin will host a shootout. The average greens in regulation per round per golfer last year was 13.24, and that's its lowest split since 2007.
For the second straight week, weather will not influence play. Outstanding conditions are expected as is a mention or two of golf being played in a dome. No rain is forecast, temperatures will climb into the upper 70s and wind will be a non-factor.
NOTE: For similar characteristics among winners of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open since 2008, please look for "Stats Suggest" in The TOUR Report on Wednesday.
|Power Rankings: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open|