For the 10th consecutive year the TOUR heads to Memphis the week before the U.S. Open.
This week’s field isn’t deep for a pair of reasons:
1.) U.S. Open next week
2.) U.S. Open final qualifying Monday and weather delayed into Tuesday.
We game on.
As I write below, the last three winners here have told us absolutely nothing so focusing on the trends since the 2004 redesign might be more helpful.
Don’t forget it’s back to Bermuda this week after three on the trot on Bentgrass.
Only way to get in the U.S. Open this week if not already qualified is to hit the top 60 in the OWGR. That’s it. Gomez’s win last year couldn’t get him in because his ranking prior to the win was, ahem, not good.
TPC Southwind is difficult and makes for a very test before the toughest test of all, Oakmont. Plenty of sand, water and win plus a SHIT TON of humidity will challenge the top-heavy field. With temperatures in the 90’s for all four rounds everyone will be loose on the first tee and exhausted by the end of the round.
2015-16 Winners (at time of victory)
In 2014-15 there were 14 players in their 20s who won tournaments. They accounted for a whopping 24 victories in 47 events.
Under 30 Winners (9 different from 12 events)
- Emiliano Grillo, 23; Frys.com
- Smylie Kaufman, 23; Shriners
- Justin Thomas, 22; CIMB
- Peter Malnati, 28; SFC
- Jordan Spieth, 22; HTOC, DEAN & DELUCA at Colonial
- Hideki Matsuyama, 23; WMPO
- Jason Day, 28; API & WGC-Dell Match Play, THE PLAYERS
- Danny Willett, 28; Masters
- Branden Grace, 27; RBC Heritage
The guys between 30-39 years of age produced 16 multiple champions in 17 events last season.
Winners 30-39 (16 players in 17 events)
- Russell Knox, 30; HSBC Champions
- Graeme McDowell, 36; OHL Mayakoba
- Kevin Kisner, 31; RSM Classic
- Fabian Gomez, 37; Sony Open
- Jason Dufner, 38; CB Challenge
- Brandt Snedeker, 35; Farmers Insurance Open
- Vaughn Taylor, 39; AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
- Bubba Watson, 37; Northern Trust Open
- Adam Scott, 35; Honda Classic, WGC-Cadillac Championship
- Charl Schwartzel, 31; Valspar
- Jim Herman, 38; Shell Houston Open
- Charley Hoffman, 39; Valero Texas Open
- Brian Stuard, 33; Zurich Classic
- James Hahn, 34; Wells Fargo Championship
- Sergio Garcia, 36; AT&T Byron Nelson
- William McGirt, 36; Memorial
There were only four winners last season from 47 events (Furyk, Cejka, Love III and Harrington). Sentimentality and name recognition has no place in fantasy golf, folks.
Aussie cash box John Senden, 45, stuck all four rounds at 70 or better for T-11.
Last year the only rookie to pick up a first-place check was Canadian Nick Taylor. This season it took ONE EVENT to match that total.
- Emiliano Grillo; Frys.com
- Smylie Kaufman; Shriners
Rookies and first-time players at TPC Sawgrass usually don’t perform well. Si Woo Kim (T-23) was the best of the first-timers and Harold Varner III (T-57) was the best rookie.
Rookies, journeyman, up-and-comers, I’ll keep track of them all. It’s a life-changer.
Three out of the last four winners on Tour have come from this column.
First-Time Winners on Tour
- 2013: 12
- 2014: 10
- 2015: 11
- 2016: (12 and counting)
- Emiliano Grillo (Frys.com)
- Smylie Kaufman (Shriners)
- Justin Thomas (CIMB)
- Peter Malnati (SFC)
- Russell Knox (WGC-HSBC Champions)
- Kevin Kisner (RSM)
- Tony Finau (PRO)
- Jim Herman (SHO)
- Danny Willett (Masters)
- Branden Grace (RBC Heritage)
- Brian Stuard (Zurich Classic)
- William McGirt (Memorial)
The total of 12 first-timers matches the best total in the last four years and we’re only one tournament into June.
Last Week’s Recap Column can be accessed by clicking HERE.
Always try and leave a bone or two for those of you who take the time to read what I do here.
Gary Woodland took a huge step last week as the Butch Harmon magic is doing the trick. The next step on the Woodland express is racking up another W, which will be his first since Reno-Tahoe in 2013.
I’ve read some experts suggest that this course is similar to Innisbrook and that will help any Woodland arguments as that was the scene of his first TOUR win.
I’ll also argue that Innisbrook has greens that, on average, are 1.5 times larger than those of TPC Southwind so it’s not apples and oranges.
Colonial might be a better match but the grass on the greens is tremendously different but the routing and size is similar.
Don’t forget the GAMING COLUMN arrives tomorrow with specific formats for this week.
What’s the GAMING COLUMN you ask? Good question.