By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Insider
In this space during the week of the Travelers Championship, we pitted the theories of how shootouts are won. The data enforced the thought that they are putting contests, not a race to collect the most greens in regulation. This is the case again for the John Deere Classic, and overwhelmingly so.
Going back to 2007, which was the first
post-renovation year of TPC Deere Run as well as the debut of the
FedExCup, none of the six champions -- including Steve Stricker three
times over from 2009 to 2011 -- ranked inside the top 10 in greens in
regulation during the weeks each emerged with victory.
On the flip side, all but Stricker in 2009 finished inside the top five in strokes gained-putting. He ranked 27th and led his field in scrambling, getting up and down all 17 times. (All four of his bogeys that week were due to three-putts.)
The large greens at TPC Deere Run cater to numerous hole locations, but it might not matter where the targets are cut to this week's eventual champion. Looking at the totals of the winners since 2007, each has taken between 63 and 67 putts inside 10 feet and missed no more than five attempts. Overall, this sixsome is 366-for-390 from inside 10 feet. That's good for a clip of 93.85 percent.
Most PGA TOUR winners putt well the week they win, but the balance is tilted significantly toward this requirement at TPC Deere Run.