All you need to know about Modified Stableford scoring
4 Min Read
RENO, Nev. -- The Barracuda Championship changed its scoring format for 2012 and is now the only tournament on the PGA TOUR to use the Modified Stableford system. Here are answers to a few questions to help you get acquainted (or perhaps re-acquainted) with the scoring format that will be in place again this week at Montreux Golf and Country Club.
WHAT IS THE MODIFIED STABLEFORD?
The Modified Stableford system allocates points based on the number of strokes taken at each hole, with the goal of achieving the highest overall score.
Differing from a normal Stableford scoring system, a Modified Stableford features higher penalties for poor shots -- minus three points for a double bogey for example (see chart below) -- and greater rewards for good shots, such as plus eight for a double eagle.
WHY MAKE THE CHANGE?
The Barracuda Championship, now entering its 16th year on the PGA TOUR, has embraced its reputation as the impetuous tournament on the PGA TOUR.
Combined with the already make-it-or-break-it final series of holes at Montreux, the addition of the Modified Stableford system creates an even greater risk-reward format by encouraging players to make the most out of every hole and creating a heightened sense of anticipation for fans.
"It's fun," said defending champion Gary Woodland. "It's nice to change it up. You get kind of the same thing week in and week out. It's nice to have a change. I think this is a great golf course for it. With the conditions playing how they are with the wind, it allows you to still be aggressive and not have to worry about losing too much ground."
Added Brenden Steele, who finished fourth last year: "I love it. Anything that's different is fun to me. It gets kind of monotonous playing the same thing over and over again. So it's pretty fun to do something different."
“I really love the Stableford format,” echoed J.J. Henry, who won here in 2012, the first year of the Modifield Stableford system. “When I first heard the switch, I know I can speak for a lot of players, we’re excited. It’s the only one on TOUR. That and (the two or three opportunities to play) match play, guys like change. And the golf course is a perfect fit. There’s a lot of risk-reward. It’s a fun format on a unique golf course.”
The PGA TOUR supports the tournament's decision to make the scoring change.
"The PGA TOUR believes there is merit to this format for Reno," PGA TOUR Executive Vice President and Chief of Operations Andy Pazder said. "The Modified Stableford system not only promotes aggressive play, which the tournament is already known for, but Montreux lends itself well to this exciting format with its series of challenging finishing holes."
HISTORY OF THE MODIFIED STABLEFORD
The Stableford system was developed by Dr. Frank Barney Gorton Stableford more than 100 years ago, as he introduced it to his fellow members at a golf club in Wales. It was an experiment back then and Stableford was not happy with the results, so he worked on a new formula that he introduced in 1931.
He wanted to deter golfers from giving up after playing only one or two bad holes, a common occurrence during tournament play. It is also credited with significantly speeding up the pace of play.
A variation in points on the original Stableford system is called the Modified Stableford.
Prior to 2012, the Modified Stableford was last used on the PGA TOUR in 2006 at The International.
The number of points is awarded based on relation to par; however, the most points are awarded for the least number of strokes.
Last year, Gary Woodland won with 44 points. In his four rounds, he carded one eagle (worth 5 points) and 22 birdies (worth 44 points) and suffered five bogeys (minus 5 points).
WHAT DOES THE SCORECARD LOOK LIKE?
A portion of the Barracuda Championship scorecard provides contestants a chance to keep track of their points. See the 2014 scorecard below. (Note: Scorecards printed prior to tournament name change to Barracuda Championship).
PLAYING STRATEGY IN MODIFIED STABLEFORD SYSTEM
The strategy in Modified Stableford formats can, in most instances, be summed up in three words: Go for it.
The Barracuda Championship format will reward aggression and risk-taking on the golf course. For instance, if the TOUR pro is facing a carry over water that he normally wouldn't try, the Modified Stableford format presents an incentive to go for it. A birdie is worth twice as many positive points (2) as a bogey is worth punitive points (-1). Eagles offer huge payoffs (5 points) and the worst a player could possibly do would be a double bogey (-3 points) at which point he could pick up his ball and carry on to the next hole.
"Obviously, you make birdies, you can jump up quickly," Woodland said.
Those golfers who make a few bogeys but also make a lot of birdies or eagles are more likely to be atop the leaderboards.
"Every putt is worth a little something different," Steele said. "So par putts aren't as important out here. Birdie putts more important. Eagle putts even more important. Bogey putts very important. So it just adds a little other dimension."