Yes, Rory McIlroy is the No. 1 player on the PGA TOUR -- according to one statistic. (Lecka/Getty Images)
By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- It's finally here, THE PLAYERS Championship. Before the first tee is planted in to the turf, let's take a look at some notable stats from Derek Ernst's victory last week at the Wells Fargo Championship and look ahead to this week's event at TPC Sawgrass. Some stats may surprise you -- Rory McIlroy's rank in one category and Tiger Woods' scoring history here to name a few.
.825 Strokes gained-putting average for Sergio Garcia, which ranks 10th on the PGA TOUR. … Garcia’s putting continues to improve from past seasons. Once his nemesis, the putter has arguably become a friend. Garcia ranked 26th last season, up from T144th in ’11 and T159 in ’10. In 2013, Garcia is picking up 3.300 strokes on the field average per week.
No. 1 Rory McIlroy’s all-around ranking. … That’s right. Despite all the fuss over equipment changes and seemingly mediocre play in 2013, McIlroy ranks No. 1 on TOUR in all-around, which is calculated by adding the rankings of a player in the following categories: Scoring Leaders, Putting Leaders, Eagle Leaders, Birdie Leaders, Sand Saves, Greens in Regulation, Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy. Click here to see the all-around rankings.
1 Number of players that have birdied the 17th hole in all four rounds at THE PLAYERS. … The only person to accomplish the feat is Paul Azinger in 1987. Azinger finished sixth in the tournament.
9 Number of balls Bob Tway has hit into the water at No. 17 during THE PLAYERS since 2003, which is the most on TOUR. … There were 39 water balls on the island 17th last season out of 423 attempts, or 9 percent. The highest percentage of water balls came in 2007, when players hit an amazing 93 balls in the water (21 percent). Click here for more water stats on No. 17.
28 Number of aces in tournament history, which includes 24 at TPC Sawgrass. … The last hole-in-one came in 2008 by Robert Garrigus on the 13th hole. The last ace at the 17th was by Miguel A. Jimenez in 2002.
63 Tournament 18-hole scoring record at THE PLAYERS Championship. … The mark is shared by Fred Couples (1992) and Greg Norman (‘94). Couples carded the 9-under round in the third round, which included an eagle on No. 9, bogey on No. 15 and birdies at 16 and 18. He went on to finish T13. Norman, meanwhile, shot a 63 in the first round with a nine-birdie performance on his way to victory.
164 Spots that Derek Ernst moved up in the FedExCup standings by winning the Wells Fargo Championship. ... When Ernst defeated David Lynn on the first playoff hole at rainy Quail Hollow Club on Sunday, he grabbed his first TOUR win -- which gave him a spot at THE PLAYERS this week. It also moved him up to No. 32 in the FedExCup standings, which is led by Woods.
71.35 Career stroke average for Tom Lehman at THE PLAYERS, which is the lowest among players with at least 25 rounds played. … Lehman, who has played 62 rounds, never won THE PLAYERS. His best finish is second twice, in 1998 and 2005. He also has six top 10s in 17 tries. Defending champion Matt Kuchar ranks second (71.36, 25), followed by Woods (71.44, 55). Woods has one victory and four top 10s in 15 attempts at TPC Sawgrass.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS ARCHIVE
Week 2: Sony Open/Humana Challenge
Week 10: WGC-Cadillac/Tampa Bay Championship
Week 12: Arnold Palmer/Shell Houston Open
Week 13: Shell Houston/Valero Texas Open
Week 14: Valero/The Masters
Week 15: The Masters/RBC Heritage