Apropos of the motion required to propel a golf ball, the PGA TOUR loves its Swings. From the Asian to the Aloha to the West Coast to the Florida, these nicknames help delineate one segment of the season from another.
Here's another: the Fortnight of Tom Weiskopf Redesigns.
It's not as catchy, but it's not inaccurate. It also has the attention of the 132 golfers committed to this week's Waste Management Phoenix Open. For any of the 156 who took one spin of Torrey Pines North at last week's Farmers Insurance Open, he might want to digest how the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale has evolved since Weiskopf went to work on the course in 2014. The space beneath the ranking examines what happened in the first three editions of his modernization.
FedExCup points leader Patton Kizzire, Brandt Snedeker, Patrick Reed and the tournament's all-time money leader, Phil Mickelson, will be among the notables reviewed in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
Various factors can contribute to springy greens that were witnessed at Torrey North in the first two rounds last week, but that those bentgrass targets are just two years old can't be ruled out as a predominant factor. The new TifEagle Bermuda greens at TPC Scottsdale experienced the same reaction when they debuted in 2015.
Weather permitting, the narrative for greens to mature and establish an "identity" usually includes a waiting period of three years. Sure enough, in spectacular conditions, last year's scoring average of 70.192 at the WMPO was easily the lowest since Weiskopf placed his stamp of approval on the par 35-36=71 tipping at 7,266 yards.
Similarly cooperative elements present the canvas this week as Hideki Matsuyama pursues his third straight title in the tournament. As he does, he goes in knowing that he'll have to remain as aggressive as he was en route to 17-under 267 a year ago.
Last year's field found only 55.36 percent of the fairways, lowest since the redesign, but it hit 68.47 percent of the greens in regulation, which was a four-year high. The average proximity to the hole checked up at 38 feet, 11 inches, measurably the shortest of the last three editions. Short-game metrics align predictably and there's been no regression in converting scoring opportunities into par breakers despite the increase in those chances. Putting it all together, the indication is that experience on the redesign has mattered on a similar plane as the maturity of the greens.
Matsuyama and his playoff victim, Webb Simpson, beat the field averages in fairways hit, GIR, proximity and scrambling. That's not surprising, but both were poster boys for how all of the contenders performed across the board. There is no one-size-fits-all profile at TPC Scottsdale.
During the grand opening of his redesign in November of 2014, Weiskopf said that he expected winning scores to settle at 14- to 18-under par. He hasn't been wrong yet, but the over (or the under, depending on your perspective), is in play on Super Bowl Sunday.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Columnist Rob Bolton will be filing his usual staples leading up to this week’s event. Look for the following columns this week.
MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Fantasy Insider, Facebook Live
WEDNESDAY: One & Done
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, which also publishes on Tuesdays.