Power Rankings: The McGladrey ClassicLAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 17: Zach Johnson points his putter on the 15th hole during the first round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin on October 17, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)November 04, 2013
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist
The PGA TOUR makes its final stop in the United States in 2013 at The McGladrey Classic in St. Simons Island, Ga. It's the fourth edition of the event, but it's the first time that FedExCup points are up for grabs. The total prize money is up $1.5 million to $5.5 million, $990,000 of which will go to the winner, who will also receive exemptions into the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the Masters Tournament, THE PLAYERS Championship and the PGA Championship if not already eligible.
For most intents and purposes, the Seaside Course at Sea Island Resort will host a putting contest. It's a par 35-35=70 measuring just 7,005 yards and it played as the easiest par 70 in 2012 at 69.281. Seaside ranked inside the top-five easiest in driving accuracy and greens in regulation with respective averages of 9.87 (of 14) fairways hit (70.47 percent) and 13.63 GIR (75.72 percent) per round.
Even when the field of 132 misses on approach, there is a confidence that getting up and down is doable as Seaside ranked 25th in scrambling last year at 57.17 percent. The par 3s -- holes 3, 6, 12 and 17 -- average 2.99 strokes in 2012, good for third-easiest among all courses.
All of this brings us back to the primary task: To hole putts. As you'd expect with courses where opportunities to break par are aplenty, there will be a considerable number of strokes taken on the Bermudagrass greens that average 7,000 square feet and should be rolling at about 12 on the Stimpmeter. Seaside averaged 30.70 putts per round in 2012, second-most only to the Plantation Course at Kapalua, which boasts mammoth putting surfaces.
More indicative of putting as it relates to scoring is that Seaside's putts-per-GIR clip landed at 1.816 last year, good for sixth-highest. However, the field averaged 80-feet, 10-inches in distance of putts made per round, easily inside the top-half longest splits of the season. Defending champion Tommy Gainey ranked fourth for the week at 102-feet, 9-inches, but he made his mark with a closing 60 -- just the 26th in PGA TOUR history -- to win by one and establish the tournament record at 16-under 264.
Rain cannot be ruled out, particularly early in the tournament, but dry conditions command the remainder of the forecast. Wind will likely be a factor along the shore and temperatures are expected to top out in the low to mid-70s throughout.
NOTE: For similar characteristics among all three winners of The McGladrey Classic, please look for "Stats Suggest" in The Stats Report on Wednesday.
Power Rankings: The McGladrey Classic Rank Player Comment Webb SIMPSON Rested since winning the Shriners. Finished T12 at Seaside in 2010; lost in a playoff in 2011. Averaged 67.00 in his eight rounds Charles HOWELL III Off to a strong start in 2013-14 (T5, Shriners; T7, CIMB). Also owns a pair of top 10s at Seaside, including a T7 in 2012. Harris ENGLISH Had last week off following a T7 at the CIMB Classic where he ranked T2 in GIR. Also T2 in GIR at the 2012 McGladrey en route to a T15. Matt KUCHAR First start since going 3-2-0 at The Presidents Cup. The Sea Island resident has placed T25 (2010) and T20 (2011) at Seaside. Zach JOHNSON Seven top 10s (including a victory) in his last nine starts. Lives on St. Simons Island. Tied for 12th at the 2010 McGladrey Classic. Luke GUTHRIE Backed up a T5 at the Shriners with a solo fourth at the BMW Masters where he held or shared the lead after each of the first three rounds. Jeff OVERTON Sparkling start to the season with a T9 (Shriners) and a pair of T16s. Par or better in all eight rounds at Seaside. T6 in 2011. Brendon TODD The University of Georgia product has been steady splitting tours all year. Thirteen top 20s in his last 19 starts. T12 at the Shriners. Jason BOHN Tied for second at the Shriners; led field in the all-around ranking and par-4 scoring. Two co-runners-up and a T9 in his last six starts. Sean O'HAIR Newfound focus and dedication is paying dividends. Tied for 15th at the Shriners. Two top 20s in as many starts at Seaside. Brendon DE JONGE While he's struggled since his Presidents Cup debut, he's 3-for-3 at Seaside with a T15 in 2010 and a share of fourth place last year. Boo WEEKLEY Only golfer inside the top 20 at the WGC-HSBC Champions -- he tied for 11th -- in the field at Seaside. Opened with a 64 last year (T27). Robert GARRIGUS Just 1-for-2 at Seaside with a solo 69th in 2011, but he's posted top 25s in four of his last six starts, including his last two. Chris STROUD Just 1-for-3 here with a T66 in 2010, but placed T3 at the CIMB where he was a 54-hole leader. Flashed consistently strong form this summer. David TOMS Last year's runner-up also tied for third in the inaugural edition in 2010. Closed out his 2013 season with three straight top 20s.