November 13 2013
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist
The numbers nerd in me was secretly hoping that the angles connecting winners of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba would throw a curveball against the other tournaments outlined in this season-long feature. Outliers are fun -- there I said it -- but El Camaleon Golf Club doesn't treat us to one in the final installment of Stats Suggest.
Comprehensive ShotLink data wasn't maintained for the first five editions of this tournament. And when it was expanded to include old-school statistics for 2012, measurements weren't lasered for common splits like strokes gained-putting and proximity to the hole. However, the absence of those figures can't distract us from once again respecting the value of par-4 scoring.
The first five winners ranked inside the top three in this category the weeks they won. Defending champion John Huh placed T8 in par-4 scoring in 2012 but a lot-best T2 in par-5 scoring. Naturally, all he needed were pars to outlast Robert Allenby in an eight-hole playoff between the two ball-strikers.
When we first launched Stats Suggest in January, even though the cynic in everyone would have expected par-4 scoring to matter en route to any victory, it's not necessarily a predicator for success in the long-term. Of all six champions of this event, consider that only Brian Gay (T13, 2008) and Mark Wilson (T9, 2009) finished their respective seasons ranked inside the top 60 on the PGA TOUR in par-4 scoring. On the other end of the spectrum, Fred Funk (2007) ranked T138 and Cameron Beckman (2010) placed T126 at the conclusion of their years.
So, while El Camaleon is a track where ball-striking matters -- both on paper and anecdotally given the litany of tee-to-green specialists that have won -- expect the seventh champion in tournament history to follow suit on the 11 par 4s.