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Refresher on the 2019-20 PGA TOUR season (thus far)

10 Min Read


With the PGA TOUR about to resume play, here’s a refresher on what’s happened thus far

    Written by Mike McAllister @PGATOUR_MikeMc

    Tiger Woods' best flop shots

    The first tee ball this season was struck more than 250 days ago. The last shot was struck more than 75 days ago. Since then … well, you may have heard what happened.

    But now the PGA TOUR is ready to crank back up with the resumption of the 2019-20 season, albeit with some scheduling adjustments that has the Charles Schwab Challenge as the first tournament of the restart.

    Before we look ahead, though, let’s look back at what’s transpired this season. You know, just to jog your memory.

    Remember when ...


    Sidelined for 10 months after back surgery, Kevin Chappell returned to action in spectacular fashion in the second round at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier. In becoming just the 10th player to break 60 on the PGA TOUR, Chappell tied a TOUR record by making nine consecutive birdies. “I wanted to shoot 57,” he said after his round.


    In winning the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Kevin Na leaned on his Toulon Madison putter to make 558 feet, 11 inches of putts – a TOUR record for most feet of putts made since those statistics were kept starting in 2003. “I should have kissed it after I won,” Na said. “I’ll give it a kiss when I get home.”


    Ball-striking yips cost Brendon Todd three years, but a new swing coach and a new outlook fueled Todd’s incredible return to the winner’s circle … twice. He won in Bermuda, then followed up with another win in his next start in Mexico at Mayakoba. He nearly made it three straight wins at The RSM Classic before settling for fourth and ending the fall atop the FedExCup standings. “I’m sort of flying high,” he said.


    The drought of Australian winners on the PGA TOUR had lasted more than a year. But then Cameron Smith beating Brendan Steele in a playoff to win the Sony Open in Hawaii. Two weeks later, Marc Leishman won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Three weeks after that, Adam Scott claimed The Genesis Invitational at Riviera. Three Aussie winners in six weeks. “It's certainly motivation for me seeing Cam and Marc win to come out and make sure I'm not the one lagging behind,” Scott said, before adding, “so over to Jason (Day).”


    In early October, Bryson DeChambeau told reporters to expect “big changes” in his body. Thanks to new and intensified training techniques, he planned to become “bigger, way bigger” during the offseason in order to improve his strength. And so he’s packed on roughly 40 pounds of muscle and now leads the PGA TOUR in driving distance (he was T-34 last season). No truth to the rumor he’ll appear in the next Terminator sequel.


    It’s the rarest of shots on TOUR … unless you’re Johnson Wagner. By holing his second shot at the par-5 15th during the first round of The RSM Classic in November, Wagner recorded the third albatross of his career, tying Tim Petrovic for the most of any player since at least 1983. “It’s luck more than anything else,” said Wagner, who used a 3-wood from 255 yards.


    Sungjae Im is the PGA TOUR’s Iron Man, rarely taking a week off. But he did so in February, opting not to play the AT&T Pebble Beach – his only off-week in the last 10 weeks before the season was put on hold. All those starts had Im in top form, as he posted his first TOUR win at The Honda Classic, then a solo third at Bay Hill to climb atop the FedExCup standings.


    TPC Scottsdale has three par 5s on the scorecard, and Collin Morikawa eagled each one during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He holed out from the greenside bunker for the first one, then rolled in eagle putts on the other two, becoming the first player to make three eagles in one round at TPC Scottsdale since 1987, the first year the course was the tournament venue. Morikawa, by the way, was making just his 19th career start on TOUR.


    Nick Taylor won his first PGA TOUR event in 2015, then went 146 starts before getting win No. 2. It was a memorable one, as he became the first (and thus far, only) wire-to-wire winner this season, claiming the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Taylor built a big lead over Phil Mickelson, his playing partner in the final round, and then stood strong despite 40 mph wind conditions on the back nine. “That was amazing," he said.


    Englishman Tyrrell Hatton didn’t offer specific details as to how he would celebrate his first PGA TOUR victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. But he did reveal he had big plans, admitting that “I don’t think I’ll be in any fit state, at least until Wednesday” when asked about the following week’s event, THE PLAYERS Championship. However it went down, Hatton shot a 3-under 69 on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass before the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    AND THIS ...

    Tiger Woods: His season in six stages

    1. MAKING HISTORY. The inaugural ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in Japan produced one of the most memorable milestones in Tiger's career, as he won for the 82nd time on the PGA TOUR to join Sam Snead atop the all-time wins list. “It’s a lot,” Woods said. “I’ve been able to be consistent most of my career.” It took him just 359 starts, making his success rate just under 23%. And now the Chase for 83 is on.

    2. CAPTAIN WOODS. For the first time, Woods captained the U.S. national team at the Presidents Cup. Well, he was actually a player/captain at Royal Melbourne – and he excelled in both roles. Woods led off the Americans’ rally on Sunday Singles with a win, then watched his teammates follow as the U.S. continued its dominance over the Internationals. “It was pretty awesome to play for the greatest player ever,” said Matt Kuchar.

    3. SAD SUNDAY. During his back nine on Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open, Tiger kept hearing fans encouraging him to “Do it for Mamba.” Woods (who finished T-9) didn’t know why until walking off the 18th green when caddie Joe LaCava told him that Kobe Bryant had died earlier in the day in a helicopter accident. Woods, a huge Lakers fan and a former workout partner with Bryant, was still trying to digest the news when he told the media, “This is unbelievable.”

    4. NEMESIS RIVIERA. No course on TOUR has treated Woods as rudely as his hometown Riviera. He’s made 13 starts at Riviera and has yet to win there. Not even hosting his own The Genesis Invitational for his foundation could make a difference this season, as Woods shot 76-77 on the weekend to finish last among all players who made the cut. “I was just off,” Tiger said. “It happens.”

    5. NAGGING BACK PROBLEMS. Perhaps the real reason Woods faded at Riviera was his problematic back flaring up. That forced him to skip three events he normally would’ve played, including THE PLAYERS Championship. Then the suspended season gave him additional rest, allowing him to appear in …

    6. THE MATCH II. Woods looked great, especially off the tee, as he and partner Peyton Manning grabbed the early lead, then held on to beat Phil Mickelson-Tom Brady in The Match: Champions for Charity, at Woods’ home course, Medalist. "I've been able to turn a negative into a positive and been able to train a lot and get my body to where I think it should be,” Woods said of the long layoff.

    Career wins list

    Twenty different players won PGA TOUR events in the 2019-20 season prior to the suspension of the schedule. Here’s how they rank in terms of career wins:

    82 – Tiger Woods (ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP)
    18 – Rory McIlroy (WGC-HSBC Champions)
    14 – Adam Scott (The Genesis Invitational)
    12 – Justin Thomas (THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, Sentry Tournament of Champions)
    8 – Patrick Reed (WGC-Mexico Championship)
    6 – Webb Simpson (Waste Management Phoenix Open)
    5 – Marc Leishman (Farmers Insurance Open)
    4 – Kevin Na (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open)
    3 – Brendon Todd (Bermuda Championship, Mayakoba Golf Classic)
    2 – Cameron Champ (Safeway Open)
    2 – Cameron Smith (Sony Open in Hawaii)
    2 – Andrew Landry (The American Express)
    2 – Nick Taylor (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am)
    1 – Joaquin Niemann (A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier)
    1 – Sebastian Munoz (Sanderson Farms Championship)
    1 – Lanto Griffin (Houston Open)
    1 – Tyler Duncan (The RSM Classic)
    1 – Viktor Hovland (Puerto Rico Open)
    1 – Sungjae Im (The Honda Classic)
    1 – Tyrrell Hatton (Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard)

    Did you know?

    • Of the 28 courses played thus far, Bay Hill has been the toughest test, with the field averaging 2.106 strokes over par during the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. The next most difficult courses were: PGA National (1.904 over par), Spyglass Hill (0.877 over par) and Torrey Pines South (0.534 over par).

    • On the flip side, the easiest course has been La Quinta (2.824 under par) followed by the Nicklaus Tournament Course (2.766 under par), both in the rotation at The American Express.

    • The hardest hole thus far is the par-4 18th at the Golf Club of Houston (0.501 strokes over par).

    • Sebastian Munoz is the only player who has ranked inside the top 10 in the FedExCup standings in all 20 weeks this season (he’s currently ninth).

    • Hideki Matsuyama is the highest-ranked player in the FedExCup standings without a win (he’s currently 10th).

    • Nine players have made five or more starts without missing a cut this season. Of those nine, Collin Morikawa is the active cuts leader, having made 21 straight.

    By the numbers

    6 – Number of starts for Rory McIlroy this season. Also, number of top-5 finishes for McIlroy, including his win at the WGC-HSBC Champions.

    213 – Brooks Koepka’s ranking in the current FedExCup standings. He was No. 1 at the end of the regular season in 2018-19.

    382 – Consecutive holes played by Scott Piercy without a 3-putt, the longest active streak on TOUR.

    109 – Number of both attempts and successful putts Chad Campbell has made inside 5 feet. He’s the only player with an 100% conversion rate at that distance this season.

    30 – Number of 350-yard drives by Bubba Watson, most of any player this season.

    26 – Andrew Landry’s score under par in winning The American Express. It’s the lowest score relative to par among any player this season.

    24 – Aces made thus far on TOUR. Martin Laird and Grayson Murray have two each.

    4 – Most strokes made up on the leader in the final round to win a tournament this year (Marc Leishman at Farmers Insurance Open, Tyler Duncan at The RSM Classic)

    24 – Consecutive rounds of par or better by Daniel Berger, the longest active streak.

    17 – Number of putts beyond 25 feet made by Denny McCarthy, most of any player this season.

    12 – Average strokes under par for Webb Simpson’s five starts, the best average under par of any player this season. Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are right behind him, averaging 11 under per start.

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