It's Zurich Classic week -- and Chris Couch (2006) and David Frost (1990) both sealed their wins in New Orleans in dramatic fashion. Check out the top 10 hole outs that have sealed victory on the 72nd hole or in sudden death on the PGA TOUR (excluding majors).
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Jonathan Byrd will be getting a late start on the PGA TOUR after October surgery to repair a torn tendon in his left wrist. He's expected to return to the PGA TOUR in March as the Florida swing gets under way.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Byrd had five top-10 finishes for the second straight year -- and three of those came in a four-tournament stretch that began at the Wells Fargo Championship. He shot 22 under at Quail Hollow as he tied for ninth then 12th, 10th and sixth in his next three starts. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: I thought J-Byrd was in for a great season after taking Steve Stricker to the limit in at the Hyundai. That T3 ended up being his best finish of the year. Byrd was frustrated with his iron play last season, ranking 136th in greens in regulation. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: A very average year inside the ropes complemented a busy life away from the golf course. He welcomed his third child in late March, and then had season-ending surgery on his left wrist (torn tendon) in late October. (He didn't play after the Deutsche Bank Championship anyway.) It will prevent him from competing early in 2013, if not for the entire West Coast Swing. Veteran gamers are already licking their chops at what might be a salary bargain for 2013-14. Indeed, around every dark cloud is a greedy lining. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
SOCIAL MEDIA: Find him on Twitter
2012 QUICK REVIEW
|Regular Season ranking
|Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finishes||T3||Hyundai Tournament of Champions|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 15
Rounds played: 68
Top-10 finishes: 5
Money List rank: 50th
Driving distance: 96th
Driving accuracy: 145th
Greens in regulation: 136th
Strokes gained-putting: 41st
Scoring average: 78th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Jonathan Byrd in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know.
SILVIS, Ill. -- Tee times have been released for the first two rounds of this week’s the John Deere Classic. Here’s a look at some of the notable and more intriguing groups.
Which groups are you most interested in following this week? Fill out the form below and let us know.
Scott Piercy, Rory Sabbatini, Charley Hoffman: Piercy is coming off a top 15 finish at Greenbrier. Sabbatini and Hoffman both have top-five finishes recently -- but no wins.
Ted Potter Jr., Zach Johnson, Nick Watney: One week after his unlikely win at The Greenbrier, Potter finds himself paired with a couple of A-listers at TPC Deere Run. Johnson already has a win this season, and the Iowa native badly wants to win this event.
K.J. Choi, Jonathan Byrd, Stewart Cink: These three veterans all have multiple PGA TOUR wins -- but Choi's 2011 PLAYERS win remains the most recent. Byrd won this tournament in 2007.
Kyle Stanley, Steve Stricker, Camilo Villegas: Already with a win this season and three previous John Deere titles, Stricker is the favorite this week. He is paired with Kyle Stanley, whom he beat with a birdie on the 72nd hole last year.
Got a question for Jonathan Byrd? Send us your questions for Direct Connect — PGATOUR.COM’s video franchise that gets you closer to a PGA TOUR pro each week — and host John Swantek might use it when he chats with Byrd, who won the 2007 John Deere Classic and will be one of the favorites at TPC Deere Run.
If you’ve been wanting to ask Byrd a question, now is your opportunity. Just fill out the form below.
Also, we are now taking video submissions of questions. If you would like to send a video of you asking your question, please email the video to email@example.com. Please keep video to 20 seconds or less, shoot landscape style, and include your name and where you’re from in the text of your email.
Direct Connect video is posted each Wednesday afternoon on PGATOUR.COM, so please check back then for the Watson interview.
By Ward Clayton, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – As Zach Johnson completed a 4-under 68 on Sunday, he was still in the hunt for THE PLAYERS Championship title at 11 under. He patiently waited for an NBC interview and other quick media responsibilities near the clubhouse before telling those around him he needed to get to the 18th hole. Even while holding out hope for a possible playoff, he had a sense the deal was done.
“My boy Kooch (Matt Kuchar) is tough,” Johnson said. “This golf course suits his game much like it suits mine … I’ve got to go see my boy Kooch finish.”
Johnson was in a four-way tie for second with Martin Laird, Rickie Fowler and Ben Curtis, two strokes behind Kuchar. Johnson rushed to the green, where Jonathan Byrd was also in place to see their friend hit his approach and two-putt the 18th green for par to finish his winning round. All three are St. Simons Island, Ga., residents, along with a slew of other PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour players.
The Johnsons and Kuchars are close friends at St. Simons Island, less than two hours north of TPC Sawgrass. Johnson, a 36-year-old Iowa native, moved from Orlando, Fla., to St. Simons in early 2009 for a quieter lifestyle for a family that includes two children and a third on the way. He also wanted to be closer to his coaches and the first-class practice facility at the Sea Island Club, home of The McGladrey Classic, and another top track, Frederica Golf Club.
The Kuchars moved from Atlanta to St. Simons in October 2010 for much the same reason as Johnson and because it is the hometown of Matt’s wife, Sybi. Johnson said that longtime St. Simons resident Davis Love III, the 2012 Ryder Cup captain, is considered “Uncle Davis” by the players who reside there. Johnson’s only 2011 win came beside Kuchar when they won a two-player team event, the CVS Caremark Charity Classic in Rhode Island (not an official win on the TOUR).
“We play a lot of golf, we do a lot of things with our kids together -- beach, pool, that sort of stuff,” Johnson said. “We get along with the Kuchars so, so great.”
Johnson started the final round of THE PLAYERS at 7 under, five behind third-round leader Kevin Na and four behind Kuchar. He eagled the par-5 second hole to jumpstart his round and reached 11 under with a birdie on the par-5 16th. A long two-putt par on the par-3 17th and a 28-foot par putt on the final hole after a drive in the right trees gave Johnson some hope.
“The last two months my putting has been sketchy,” said Johnson, who was second in THE PLAYERS field in Greens in Regulation. “But it’s felt much better the last week or so.”
By Ward Clayton, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – There’s great competition in the neighborhood this week for Jonathan Byrd.
His St. Simons Island, Ga., neighbors are offering inspiration for Byrd, who is 6 under and two strokes off the halfway lead at THE PLAYERS Championship held by his friend Zach Johnson. Rookie Harris English is one back after Friday’s 67.
The three live less than two miles apart on the tiny island that is 100 miles north of TPC Sawgrass.
“I played with Harris on Tuesday, and he pretty much spanked me up and down the golf course,” Byrd said. “So I knew he was probably going to play well this week, because his game was really sharp. Zach, I don't see why he doesn’t play well every week; he's so solid.
“But it's good to see the names on the board. I love seeing Zach's name up there, a little extra competition and always like seeing my friends do well.”
Byrd’s return to form has been a slow process. His wife, Amanda, gave birth to their third child, daughter Kate Elizabeth, in late March. After tying for 27 th at the Masters, Byrd tied for ninth in his next start at last week’s Wells Fargo Championship, a tournament that he lost in a playoff to Lucas Glover in 2011.
“I had three weeks off (after the baby was born),” Byrd said. “Then last week, I didn’t know exactly how I was going to come out and had a really good week I felt like … Of course, that’s definitely some momentum coming in here.”
Keeping up with the next-door neighbors will be the next step.
English shares a “rookie” residence at Sea Island with former University of Georgia teammate Hudson Swafford and Gator Todd, the son of former Alabama and New York Jets quarterback Richard Todd. Swafford and Todd are both Nationwide Tour players, with Swafford winning the Stadion Classic in Athens, Ga., last week thanks to a final-round 62 that included a hole-out from a bunker on the 72 nd hole.
Tuesday’s practice round at TPC Sawgrass was the first time English had played a round with Byrd. Last week at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, English was paired with Johnson in the first group off the tee in the final round, with Johnson shooting 72 to English’s 75.
Johnson, an Iowa native, moved from Orlando, Fla., to St. Simons in 2009 for a quieter lifestyle and to be closer to his coaches and the first-class practice facility at the Sea Island Club, home of The McGladrey Classic in the fall on the PGA TOUR. A number of other players reside there, including Davis Love III and Matt Kuchar, and others visit often to get instruction from the bevy of coaches at the club.