Category archive: Vijay Singh
This week's tournament: Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass.
Horse for the Course
Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Jason Day
He could be this year's golfer to go from starting the playoffs outside the top 100 (113th) in the FedEx Cup standings to the Tour Championship (top 30). Coming into the playoffs, he had only 13 starts on tour this year, with three missed cuts and a W/D, but a strong Sunday finish (65) just so he could qualify for the Deutsche Bank leads him to a course where he finished third last year, and was one of only four players to shoot all four rounds in the 60s.
Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Vijay Singh
At the TPC Boston, the 49-year-old Hall of Famer is a combined 38-under par in his two wins at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Tiger Woods
TPC Boston is another place where Woods has performed well over the years. In seven appearances, he's been out of the top 11 just once, and he won in 2006.
Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: Brandt Snedeker
Looking to solidify a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team as a potential captain's pick, the man who leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained-putting posted a pair of top-5 finishes in his past two starts at the Deutsche Bank Championship. And what Ryder Cup captain wouldn't want the best putter on tour on his team?
Michael Collins: Nick Watney
In 2011 he had two victories, but before winning last week at The Barclays, he had only three top-10s this year, with eighth place his highest finish. Not the year the Butch Harmon student was planning for himself, but there's something to be said for getting hot at the right time. Even though this will be his fifth week in a row teeing it up, when you're rollin' . . . don't stop rollin'! And if Bill Haas won the big money Fed Ex Cup prize last year, it only would be fitting if his stunt double Watney put himself in a prime position to take it this year.
Farrell Evans: Bud Cauley
At The Barclays, the 22-year-old rookie out of the University of Alabama got his fourth top-10 in his past five starts.
Bob Harig: Nick Watney
He just showed how important a win is in the FedEx Cup playoffs, jumping from 49th in the standings to the top spot with his victory at The Barclays.
Kevin Maguire: Steve Stricker
A T-54 at last week's Barclays probably isn't the way Stricker wanted to start his playoffs, but the likely Ryder Cup captain's pick does own a pair of career victories in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He seems to relish playing at this time of year, so expect that to continue this week at TPC Boston.
Michael Collins: J.B. Holmes
After making seven cuts in a row, it's almost a blessing in disguise that he missed the cut at the Wyndham Championship. Holmes has played himself into a position to make the Tour Championship with a good week, and the last time he played this week's course, in 2010, he finished 10th. It's a bomber's course and he is still a bomber.
Farrell Evans: Jason Day
The 24-year-old Australian got a tie for third in Boston last year. In a disappointing 2012 season, Day comes into this week 88th in the standings. He would love to make it back to the Tour Championship, where he finished last year in a tie for sixth.
Bob Harig: Martin Flores
He missed the cut at the Wyndham Championship and at The Barclays last week, dropping him 12 spots to the 100th and final qualifying position for the Deutsche Bank Championship. He clearly needs to get something going if he wants to prolong his playoffs.
Kevin Maguire: Dicky Pride
Talk about playing with house money. Pride clinched his tour card for 2013 behind the strength of three top-10 finishes this year. He hadn't had one previously since mid-2009. And at 96th in the FedEx Cup standings, a strong week gets him into the third leg of the PGA Tour playoffs, a spot he likely couldn't have imagined at the beginning of the season.
Michael Collins: Rory McIlroy
Because he wasn't a member of the tour last year, he wasn't eligible for the playoffs. He did compete in 2010, with a 37th-place finish at the TPC Boston. He has two more years of experience and two majors under his belt, and I expect a very good week on a course that sets up well for his style of golf. With a tour scoring average of 69.02, if he just holds his average, it'll be an easy top 10. I expect much more than that this week.
Farrell Evans: Brandt Snedeker
The former U.S. Amateur Public Links champion finished second at The Barclays. He's playing this week in Boston hoping that a great tournament will get him a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Last year, the former Vanderbilt star finished in a tie for third at the Deutsche Bank.
Bob Harig: Adam Scott
Save for his near-miss at the Open Championship, it's been a quiet year for the Aussie, who won his first PGA Tour event nine years ago at TPC Boston. A victory this week puts him near the top and in the running for the FedEx Cup.
Kevin Maguire: Jason Day
Never underestimate motivation. The Aussie, who's finished T-3 and T-2 in his previous two outings at TPC Boston, is currently on the outside looking in at next week's BMW Championship. Without a strong finish, his playoffs could end Saturday. Don't expect the new dad to get some extra time off on the holiday weekend.
As PGA Tour administrators and the golf industry as a whole count down the seconds until their biggest draw is back on the course, it might be helpful for everyone to take a step back, look at the numbers and breathe a bit.
Their sport is still in a good place.
Stan Badz/PGA TourAfter winning the season-opening tournament in 2008, Daniel Chopra didn't have another top-10 finish the rest of the year.
Take some numbers into consideration regarding the growth of the earning power of players on the PGA Tour. It's no secret that the past decade was a prosperous one for the Tour, even if those facts have become obscured in the short term by visions of smashed windshields and newsmen referring to TMZ.com.
In 1999, 36 players earned $1 million while playing on the PGA Tour. Last year, 91 did. Back in '99, No. 125 on the Tour's money list was the immortal Charles Raulerson, who made a cool $326,893. Last year Jimmy Walker finished 125th and made more than double that ($662,683).
Entering 2009, 43 first-year players had made $1 million in their rookie seasons on the PGA Tour. Entering this decade, that had happened only twice -- both times in 1999.
Twelve players in the history of the PGA Tour have earned $25 million in career winnings. Every one of those 12 players won a PGA Tour event this decade.
The cumulative total of purses on the
PGA Tour in 1999 was $134,950,000, at the time an all-time high, and the first time that number had passed $100 million. In 2009, that number was more than doubled: $277.3 million.
So while the absence of Mr. Woods on the course is a loss to everyone who loves this sport, he has helped put it in an enviable place financially in the past decade.
What will the first tournament of this decade -- aka the SBS Championship -- tell us about what's to come on the course in 2010? Recently, success at the first event of the year hasn't translated to great success for the rest of the PGA Tour calendar (see: Chopra, Daniel in 2008).
Trivia questionWho was the most recent player to win each of the first two official PGA Tour events of a calendar year? The answer is below.
Since 2002, half of the eight winners have gone on to win another tour event that year. The winners have finished in the top 10 in just over 20 percent of their events for the rest of the year after kicking off their season in the best possible way.
Success in majors for the winners has been far more fleeting. Geoff Ogilvy won the Accenture Match Play in March and seemed like a prime candidate to win his second major in 2009. It was not to be. His finishes at the four majors: T-15, T-47, missed cut and T-43. In fact, no winner of the first event on the calendar has gone on to finish in the top 10 of any major since Ernie Els finished tied for fifth at the 2003 PGA.
No one has won the first event of the year and gone on to win a major that same year since Tiger Woods in 2000, when he beat Els in a playoff at the Mercedes-Benz Championship. Woods then went on to have a year you might not recall -- three majors, nine wins and 17 top-10s in 20 starts.
Last year at Kapalua, the only thing Ogilvy seemed to fail at was making things interesting. The Aussie blew away runners-up Anthony Kim and Davis Love III by six shots. Ogilvy was the only player in the field to have four sub-70 rounds. He hit 25 of 30 fairways over the weekend and missed just one green on the back nine on both Saturday and Sunday. His putting won the event, though -- Ogilvy ranked first in the field in putts per GIR (1.871).
Six of the past eight winners at the Plantation Course in Kapalua have finished either first or second in the field in putting average. The winners' putting average has also gone down in each of the past four years. A look at the winners since 2002 and what they did on the greens:
Winners at Mercedes-Benz Championship since 2002
|Player||Putting avg.||Field rank|
|Geoff Ogilvy, 2009||1.645||1st|
|Daniel Chopra, 2008||1.694||1st|
|Vijay Singh, 2007||1.764||2nd|
|Stuart Appleby, 2006||1.808||6th|
|Stuart Appleby, 2005||1.694||4th|
|Stuart Appleby, 2004||1.618||1st|
|Ernie Els, 2003||1.585||1st|
|Sergio Garcia, 2002||1.596||2nd|
Numbers getting lower at Kapalua has been a trend across the board in recent years. The total scoring average for the event has gone down each year since 2006. That year the number was 74.893; only the U.S. Championship had a higher total scoring average among PGA Tour events. Since then: 72.895, 70.935 and 70.515. The number of players under par follows suit: Six broke even in '06. Last year, only two players in the field did NOT shoot better than par.
Kapalua is a field consisting only of winners from the previous year, but what about winners of multiple events in the previous year? Six players in the field this year fit that category: Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, Kenny Perry, Y.E. Yang, Brian Gay and defending champ Ogilvy. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson also won multiple times last year, but neither is in the field this week.
In the past three years, 11 players who won more than once on tour in the previous year played the event. None went on to win, and only one finished in the top five (Kim, in 2009). Ten of those 11 players finished out of the top 10, which is lower on the totem pole than normal considering the size of the field.
Trivia AnswerIn 2003, Ernie Els won the Mercedes Championships and a week later captured the Sony Open.
The most recent winner of the event to have won multiple times the previous year? The Big Easy, who won twice in 2002, then won at Kapalua in '03.
And you thought I was going to say Tiger.
Justin Ray has been a studio researcher for ESPN since June 2008, and is the lead researcher for "The Scott Van Pelt Show." He is a 2007 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where he studied convergence media. Send comments and suggestions to Justin.Ray@espn.com.