Every week, Numbers Game provides a stat-based look at the PGA Tour at ESPN.go.com/golf. This week, Justin Ray looks at the three items to keep an eye on this weekend in New Orleans. His full article can be found here.
Brandt Snedeker: Last week’s winner posted the lowest final round score by a winner so far on Tour this season with his 64 on Sunday. Snedeker has a very aggressive, confident approach to the ball when he putts -- if you watched him Sunday you know he spends very little time over the ball before making his stroke.Snedeker
His putting numbers may suggest public course patrons and club players quicken their approach on the greens. Snedeker is second on Tour this season in putting average (1.695), fourth in both total putting and one-putt percentage (44.8), and best on Tour on putts from 10 to 15 feet. He’s made 47.8 percent of those this season.
Luke Donald: Lost in Sunday's dramatics in South Carolina was the emergence of a trend regarding the still-world-No. 3. Last Saturday marked the seventh time in his PGA Tour career that Donald held at least a share of the 54-hole lead in an official Tour event; however, it was the sixth time that he failed to win. That’s a 14.3 percent winning clip.
For a bit of context, let’s look at the three most prolific PGA Tour winners of the previous decade. Tiger Woods has won 48 of 52 tournaments (92.3 percent) where he held at least a share of the 54-hole lead in his PGA Tour career. Phil Mickelson (24-for-33) is at 72.7 percent, and Vijay Singh is 19-for-32, 59.4 percent.
Steve Stricker: Just three of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are in the field this week: (3) Donald, (5) Graeme McDowell and (9) Stricker. Stricker will make his first start since finishing tied for 11th at the Masters Tournament, and will be seeking his first win on Tour since his 26-under-par performance last summer at the John Deere Classic.Stricker
Stricker has been a model of consistency the last year or so. His streak of 30 straight tournaments in the money is the longest active run on Tour.
The magic number for Stricker, though, is 70.
Stricker has played 19 PGA Tour stroke-play events since last year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. In nine of those events he hit 70 percent of his greens in regulation or better, and finished in the top 10 eight times. In the 10 events that he was lower than 70 percent GIR, he finished in the top 10 just once.