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January 30 2013

5:35 PM

The stats suggest: WM Phoenix Open

By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Insider

It stands to reason that if you rank among the best at a tournament in greens in regulation and strokes gained-putting, you'll be able to find your name on a leaderboard somewhere on the property. However, it's a combination that doesn't always play out favorably.

Consider last week's Farmers Insurance Open, where champion Tiger Woods was a pedestrian 34th in greens in regulation and 28th in in strokes gained-putting yet still won by four strokes. Of the 14 golfers that finished inside the top 10 on the leaderboard, eight cracked the top 15 in greens hit while four landed inside the top 15 in strokes gained-putting. Of that lot, only Aaron Baddeley (T14, GIR; fifth, SG-P) and Graham DeLaet (T14, GIR; 15th, SG-P) populated both lists.

Both the Aussie and the Canuck are scheduled to tee it up at TPC Scottsdale this week. Perhaps they should have sat 1-2 in the Power Rankings since recent winners of the Waste Management Phoenix Open have fared very well in both categories.

Mark Wilson (2011) and Kyle Stanley (2012) completed their respective appearances inside the top 15 in both greens in regulation and strokes gained-putting. Wilson led his field in greens hit to replicate what Hunter Mahan accomplished during his victory in 2010. Mahan also ranked a respectable 21st in strokes gained-putting. Go back one more year and you'll find Kenny Perry was third in greens hit; he finished 23rd in strokes gained-putting.

In 2007, Baddeley ranked 34th in greens hit, but his split was a beefy 72.22 percent. The superb putter that he's always been, he checked in at second in strokes gained-putting. Even J.B. Holmes, who has probably been argued a time or two as overpowering TPC Scottsdale en route to both of his PGA TOUR victories (2006, 2008), did most of his damage on the greens, ranking second and fifth, respectively, before hoisting his hardware.

Since there isn't a singular aspect of TPC Scottsdale that jumps off the page as a primary challenge, the objective is as simple as it is age-old -- hit greens and sink putts.

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