By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist
There's an age-old debate whether shootouts are putting contests or tournaments won by the golfer that creates the most birdie opportunities. After all, you'd think the former wouldn't exist without the latter. Well, the Travelers Championship offers plenty of evidence to refute that theory.
Focusing on the last six editions of this event to coincide with the FedExCup era, the average winning score in relation to par is 17.167 under. That covers a range from Kenny Perry's tournament-record 22-under par in 2009 to a pair of 14-under 266s, the more recent of which turned in by defending champion Marc Leishman. Not surprisingly, all of the winners were ranked inside the top 11 in par breakers during the weeks they won. Three led their fields and two others ranked T4.
Working back from the cup, four winners ranked either first or second in strokes gained-putting. Three of those four cracked the top 10 in conversion percentage inside 10 feet. (Freddie Jacobson tops the list when he led his field in 2011, going 60-for-63.) Hunter Mahan ranked T24 inside 10 feet en route to victory in 2007, but he was perfect on 60 attempts from inside eight feet.
Meanwhile, the greens-in-regulation numbers aren't as impressive. Only Mahan (T10) and Perry (T3) ranked inside the top 25 in GIR. Perry was one of the three to finish first in par breakers, so there's no mystery why he in the record books as low man over 72 holes. Anyone watching that week will recall that he was unconscious.
While the data supports hot putting over an aerial assault, it's worth circling the breakthroughs by Bubba Watson (2010) and Leishman. Watson was all-or-nothing, leading his field in distance off the tee, par breakers and par-5 scoring, but ranked outside the top 30 in accuracy off the tee (a stat we can often dismiss in birdie-fests), GIR, strokes gained-putting, scrambling and conversion percentage inside 10 feet. He survived a playoff with Corey Pavin and Scott Verplank, but it wouldn't be wrong to say that Watson overpowered TPC River Highlands.
Leishman finished outside the top 10 in every relevant split except par breakers (T4) and par-5 scoring (1st). He ranked 12th-T15 in distance, fairways hit, proximity and scrambling, but that he emerged with the victory was still a surprise. The Aussie started the final round six strokes back of the co-leaders and played in the 14th-to-last pairing. He then closed with a career-best 62 to win by one.
By Krystyna Braxton, PGATOUR.COM
Marc Leishman is headed back to Cromwell, Conn. for the Travelers Championship this week to defend his 2012 title. His victory at TPC River Highland was his first on the PGA TOUR. Since 2011, the Austrailian has had eight top-10 finishes. Leishman is ranked 54th in the FedExCup points standings. Here's a look at some of Leishman's statistics since 2011.
|Driving Distance||286.2 (103)||289.4 (T99)||296.0 (54)|
|Scrambling||58.16% (93)||58.26% (T74th)||58.53% (71)|
|Driving Accuracy||58.57% (112)||55.20% (168)||54.41% (174)|
|Greens in Regulation||64.68% (T96)||62.76% (T150)||64.43% (122)|
|Strokes Gained Putting||-.025 (T97)||-.301 (T161)||-.118 (127)|
By Jessica Rangel, PGATOUR.COM
Lee Westwood, who is competing this week in the Travelers Championship, has not won a PGA TOUR event since 2010. What his hurting his game most?
While his scrambling has improved, his putting is still his Achilles' heel. Recently, Westwood has moved his family to south Florida in hopes of improving his short game. Westwood plays well from tee to green, but his putting is still holding him back.
* Did not have enough qualifying events to officially register in the rankings. However, it is the ranking where they would stand if they did qualify.
|Driving Accuracy||Greens in Regulation||Scrambling||SG-Putting|
|2013||64.40% (37th)||65.99% (64th)||64.14% (9th)||-.052 (107th)|
|2012||62.17% (76th)||69.75% (3rd)||48.30% (191st)||-.429 (175th)|
|2011*||60.08% (118th)||68.95% (19th)||57.89% (96th)||-.162 (139th)|
|2010||61.30% (135th)||69.30% (37th)||60.00% (57th)||.464 (T20th)|
By Jessica Rangel and Krystyna Braxton, PGATOUR.COM
According to the statistics, Charley Hoffman and Justin Rose are the favorites for the Travelers Championship.
We examined Rob Bolton’s Power Rankings, and broke down the 15 players’ statistics from the 2013 season.
We gathered statistics from four major categories; driving distance, proximity to the hole, greens in regulation and strokes gained-putting. Then we added up the rankings from each area to form our own “Total Rank” category.
Based off that, Charley Hoffman leads in our rankings. His final ranking, which added 45+83+51+27, totaled 206. Justin Rose tied him for first in the combined ranking with a score of 206, 23+6+ 19+ 158.
Here’s a look at the breakdown of the Power Rankings. The number in parentheses after each player’s name denotes his ranking in Power Rankings.
|Player||Drive distance||Greens in Regulation
||Proximity to the hole||SG-Putting||Combined Ranking|
|1.Charley Hoffman(8)||292.7 (45)||65.23% (83)||34-10 (T51)||.469 (27)||206|
|1.Justin Rose (4)
||296.3 (T23)||69.81% (6)||33-11 (T19)||-.388 (158)||206|
|3.Harris English (10)
||294.1 (T36)||66.67% (T50)||35-10 (T97)||.397 (37)||220|
|4.John Rollins (6)
||293.6 (39)||69.15% (9)||34-11 (T55)||-.124 (T119)||222|
|5.Webb Simpson (13)
||283.6 (T117)||67.59% (32)||34-8 (T44)||.285 (T49)||242|
|6.Bubba Watson (2)
||300.5 (11)||69.94% (5)||37-7 (T159)||.100 (75)||250|
|7.Freddie Jacobson (7)
||288.3 (81)||62.96% (134)||33-7 (T9)||.408 (36)||260|
|8.Hunter Mahan (1)
||289.7 (T69)||67.19% (T39)||38-2 (169)||.430 (T30)||307|
|9. Bo Van Pelt (12)||283.6 (T117)||65.53% (77)||34-0 (T22)||.-061 (110)||326|
|10. Lee Westwood (11)||288.0 (84)||65.99% (64)||35-6 (T80)||.052 (107)||335|
|11. Jason Dufner (5)||285.1 (110)||67.85% (28)||35-1 (T62)||-.345 (T155)||355|
|12. Rickie Fowler (3)||283.6 (T117)||63.53% (125)||35-8 (T88)||.200 (59)||389|
|13. Ryan Moore (14)||281.8 (128)||63.68% (T122)||35-9 (T93)||.037 (86)||429|
|14.Marc Leishman (15)||286.2 (103)||64.68% (T96)||37-6 (T154)||-.025 (T97)||450|
|15. Padraig Harrington (9)||288.7 (78)||60.96% (168)||36-2 (T112)||-.085 (116)||474|