May 6 2013
Tim Clark successfully navigated the par 4s in winning THE PLAYERS in 2010.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Want to win THE PLAYERS Championship this week? PGATOUR.COM looked at some ShotLink stats of recent champions at TPC Sawgrass and found a few common threads. So here's a little advice:
> Hit a lot of greens. In the last 25 years, the eventual champion of THE PLAYERS has ranked first (or tied for first) in the field in greens in regulation. Eight other champs has ranked inside the top 10 in that category. Steve Elkington hit an amazing 88.9 percent of his greens in winning in 1991. Last year, Matt Kuchar hit 73.6 percent, ranking him tied for third in the field.
> Don't worry about smashing it. In the past 10 years, only one champ has ranked inside the top 10 in the field in driving distance -- Davis Love III, who was third in the field in 2003. Two of the last three champs ranked no better than 60th. Fred Funk ranked 80th in driving distance among 82 players who made the cut in 2005 but still won.
> Play well on the par 4s. Each champion in the last 10 years has ranked inside the top 10 in the field in par-4 scoring. Each of the past five champs has ranked no worse than T-2. In 2010, Tim Clark was 12 under on the par 4s en route to his first PGA TOUR win.
> Don't miss any putts inside 5 feet. Five of the past 10 champions have been perfect inside of 5 feet. Obviously, many of those putts are gimmes, but you can't let your concentration slide on those 3-5 footers. Even missing one short putt can prove fatal. Of course, there's always an exception to the rule -- K.J. Choi ranked next-to-last in the field in putts made inside 5 feet in 2011 and still won THE PLAYERS.