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: Kevin Stadler shaved nearly a full stroke off his scoring average in 2012 -- moving from No. 139 to 54th in that category at 70.194. If he continues to move in that direction next year, can it be long before he joins his father as a PGA TOUR winner?
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Career highs in top-10 finishes -- two of which came in the first two FedExCup Playoffs events -- gave Stadler his first berth in the BMW Championship. He also earned more than $1.5 million, hitting seven figures for the first time in his career. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: It was a solid year for Kevin, making 18 of 25 cuts and winning $1.5 million. I’m always impressed with his driving. Stadler averaged more than 290 yards per drive and hits 65 percent of his fairways. He made a great run in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, finishing 10th at both The Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: My enthusiasm is tempered in the sense that he seemed to be in the thick of it all season with five top 10s and another seven top 25s. And despite an 0-for-4 skid in early summer, he totaled a career-high 18 cuts made. However, he hit just $1.546 million, easily a career-best and double his haul in 2011, but it took seven years to break into seven figures. He'll turn 33 early in the year, so it's reasonable to expect him to continue as he enters his prime, but angle at a push, not a salary-plus experience. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||T-4th||RBC Heritage|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 18
Rounds played: 81
Top-10 finishes: 5
Money List rank: 54th
Driving distance: 62nd
Driving accuracy: 40th
Greens in regulation: 26th
Strokes gained-putting: 158th
Scoring average: 54th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
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By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Kevin Stadler felt like the first few holes on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park were scoreable but he hadn't been able to take advantage. Until Saturday, that is.
Stadler reeled off four birdies in his first five holes, and five in his first seven, on the way to a bogey-free 65 that lifted him well up the leaderbaord during the third round of The Barclays. He was tied for third when he finished as the leaders got their rounds under way in earnest.
The stats bore Stadler out, too. The first hole ranks 15th, the second 13th and the fourth 17th in terms of difficulty. The par-5 seventh is the easiest and offers another golden opportunity.
Stadler had played the first seven holes in 1 under during the first two rounds. On Saturday, though, he started off by rolling in a 19-footer for birdie at No. 1, then made three more starting at the third hole on putts of 9, 5 and 3 feet. The seventh was generous, as well, when Stadler two-putted from 23 feet.
"It was good," Stadler said. "I've been playing the first couple of holes poorly, feel like you should be able to get a couple of them. Nice putt on 1, got off to a good start and birdied 3,4,5. Ideal start to say the least."
Stadler's final birdie came at the 14th hole, a 143-yard par 3 where he held a 9-iron up against the wind and converted the 3-footer to move to 7 under for the tournament.
Stadler has made the FedExCup Playoffs five times in six years. He's never gotten past the Deutsche Bank Championship, though -- missing the cut at TPC Boston both times he's played there.
The USC grad came to The Barclays ranked 70th, which is the cutoff for eligibility for the third Playoffs event, the BMW Championship. Stadler may have given himself considerable breathing room, though -- he was projected 19th in the standings when he finished his third round.
"I don't know how many times I've played up there, a few times,
and honestly I've played pretty poorly every year in the Playoffs,"
Stadler said. "I've been just a little fatigued by this time of the
year. I tried to play a few less tournaments at the start of the
year, and hopefully have a little game left. Looking forward
to next week and if I can get beyond that.
"My results this summer have been pretty poor but I've been striking the ball really well. Just kind of waiting for the putter to come around. I hit it pretty good today; the first two days was the worst I hit it all summer and the putter kept me in. It was nice to match them both up today."
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods is retaking his place at the top of the golf pantheon. His win on Sunday at the AT&T National – his third in seven starts -- gave him a PGA TOUR-leading three wins on the season, the FedExCup points lead and solo second place on the all-time TOUR victory list.
Where is it all coming from? The added “reps”, as Woods frequently cites? The work with swing coach Sean Foley? The weather? (Tiger’s an especially strong player in the heat.)
The answer may be simpler than that. He’s simply rolling the ball better.
Woods was ninth at Congressional in Strokes Gained-Putting with his Nike Method 001 putter, picking up nearly a shot and a half on the greens for the week. He’s now 14th in Strokes Gained-Putting for the year and 11th in Total Putting, a stat that combines putting averages from various distances.
“I feel like I really controlled the putter well this week,” Woods said. “I had a lot of good putts, and I had a lot of -- for some reason I had a lot of putts that were downhill, big, breaking putts. I hit a lot of good putts this week.”
The Method putter features Nike’s polymetal groove technology, which gets the ball rolling with forward spin more quickly after impact.
Woods wasn’t the only one with a big week at AT&T with a Method 001. Jhonattan Vegas finished T4, his best of the season.
D2 DEBUTS: Titleist unveiled its new 913 drivers for pros at AT&T, and 14 of the 34 players who teed up Titleist drivers in competition used the new models.
Seung-Yul Noh, using a 7.5-degree 913D3, finished highest with a T4, while Nick Watney finished 10th with a 10.5-degree 913D3. Brendon de Jonge, the 54-hole leader at Congressional, ended tied for 11th with his 9.5-degree 913 D3.
The newest members of Titleist’s 900 family (“9” is the designation for metalwoods and “13” is the model year) feature some cosmetic differences and a weight cartridge at the rear of the clubhead. Like the previous 910 models, Titleist’s SureFit Tour hosel helps a player dial in the ideal lie and loft.
There are two models, the D2 and D3, with the D2 having a slightly bigger head. Of the 14 pros at AT&T, 11 played the D3 and three (Bud Cauley, Tom Gillis and John Merrick) chose the D2.
Rory McIlroy put an 8.5-degree 913D3 at the Irish Open, finishing in a tie for 10th.
BEER!: For those of you who consider beer as essential “equipment” for your weekend rounds, there’s a new brew inspired by Sam Snead.
Slammin’ Sam is a craft-brewed American lager developed off a proprietary recipe and made in Wisconsin by Stevens Point Brewery. It debuts this week at The Greenbrier Resort, which is hosting the PGA TOUR’s Greenbrier Classic.
“It makes sense for Slammin’ Sam beer to be introduced here,” said Jeff Kmiec, president and managing director of The Greenbrier Resort. “Sam Snead called The Greenbrier his professional home for more than 60 years and I think he’d be happy to know guests will savor a beer that bears his nickname.”
The beer’s packaging features famous images of Snead and is available in cans, bottles and kegs. The company plans to launch the product soon at other golf resorts around North America.
For more information, check out a fun Q&A with the founder of Slammin’ Sam here.
LOOKING AT LYTHAM: Justin Rose and Justin Leonard had new hybrids built in the TaylorMade truck at Congressional, purposely for the British Open later this month. Rose got a 16-degree Rescue 11, designed for him to hit piercing shots in the wind. Leonard got two 17-degree Rescue 11s and compared the two during practice rounds at Congressional.
BITS: Martin Laird put a new TaylorMade Ghost Spider IB belly putter in play at Congressional, replacing his longtime Ghost Tour DA-12 belly model. He finished T11. … John Mallinger also finished T11 at AT&T, playing a new set of TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC irons. He’s moving away from an older model of TP irons which had “pretty dead” grooves, in his words. … Kevin Stadler had never played a 5-wood but tested a Callaway Razr Fit model and liked how it fit a gap between his 3-wood and hybrid. He tested it, found that he could hit his standard high cut with it, and put it in play at AT&T.
WINNER’S BAG: Woods at the AT&T
Driver: Nike VR Tour (8.5 degree, Graphite Design DI 6X shaft)
Fairway wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition 3-wood (15 degrees); Nike SQ II 5-wood (19 degrees)
Irons: Nike VR Pro Blades (3-PW)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro (56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Nike Method 001
Ball: Nike ONE Tour D
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- The low numbers continue to pour in at Aronimink, where Kevin Stadler and Cameron Tringale each shot up the leaderboard after course record-tying 64s.
Defending champ Justin Rose was right behind them with a 65. Ditto Scott McCarron.
“You combine calm conditions and pure putting surfaces, you’re going to get low scores,” Rose said. “I would have liked to have seen it get it more baked out today and be a little bit more of a test.”
Of course when you hit 17 of 18 greens the way Stadler did, it makes things a little easier.
“The course was a lot softer today,” Stadler said. “The greens were more receptive and there were a lot more accessible pins today.”
One of those pins, for example, is on No. 11, where Rose nearly made an eagle-2.
“They made a concerted effort to soften [the greens] up, whether that was for the health of them so they don’t get too far or because they wanted to see low scores,” Rose continued. “But with the pin placements, there’s an opportunity for a low one.”
Or several low ones it appears.
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- For two days, Aronimink looked like a major championship venue. Here in the third round it’s resembling something else with several players going low.
Chris Kirk is 6 under through 11 holes, Kevin Stadler is 6 under through 17 holes, Cameron Tringale is already in with a course record-tying 64. Scott McCarron carded a 65.
You get the idea.
How low will they go? We’ll continue to find out over the next few hours but with 23 players within four shots of the lead there could be some shake-ups on the leaderboard before the day is over
DUBLIN, Ohio – Nick Watney, who ranks fourth in the FedExCup, withdrew prior to the start of his first round at the Memorial Tournament due to illness.
Watney, who won the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship earlier this year, was replaced in the field by Kevin Stadler. Stadler is coming off a solo seventh in his last start at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.