PGA Championship 2006

Sometimes you have to look at the past to look into the future. The PGA Championship in 1999 was mostly about Tiger and Sergio, but there were a few other guys that had good weeks back then that need it now.

The Numbers GameIt’s hard to imagine that it was seven years ago that Tiger and Sergio were paired in the final round at Medinah in the PGA Championship. It was supposed to be the start of a rivalry. It was supposed to be as if Jack and Seve were in their prime at the same time. Tiger lived up to his end of the bargain, but Sergio is still searching for the magic he once had.

There were a lot of other good golfers out there in 1999 that played some great golf at Medinah. This week in The Numbers Game, I’ll look at some of the other players that played seven years ago and see if it means good or bad things for each of them.

Tiger and Jack

Jack and Tiger. Tiger and Jack. When looking at their victories over the years, they are both impressive. Tiger seems to be ahead, but Jack still has something to say about it.

The Numbers GameSince everyone is on the Tiger train this week, I thought I’d jump aboard. Cody wrote a great article earlier in the week and so did Gary Van Sickle over at CNNSI. Gary stole some of my numbers thunder, but I have some other interesting nuggets to share this week in The Numbers Game about Tiger at 50… wins that is.

Since Jack Nicklaus is constantly disparaging Tiger‘s achievements, I thought I’d do a bit of a comparison between the two. Even though it’s difficult to compare golfers from different eras, the results can still be quite revealing. For me, it has cleared the picture up a bit more and prepared the stamp “Greatest Golfer of All Time” for Tiger Woods.

Read on to see what I mean.

Top Ten Courses I’d Love to Play

It may not be your top ten, but these are the ten courses I want to play the most.

The Numbers GameOf course there are more than ten, but I thought about this the other day and it got me going. One can only hope to play just a few of the great golf courses in their life. I have a few that are realistic and a few that are not but this is a list of those I’d like to play, not a list of those that I can play.

This week in The Numbers Game, it’s a top ten list of courses I want to play. (By the way, any help in playing these courses is appreciated… <grin>).

British Open Nuggets

There are always some interesting numbers to look at after a major championship. Tiger showed he could win in a different manner and the Ryder Cup outlook changed as well.

The Numbers GameI thought the Open Championship at Hoylake was one of the better Opens in recent memory. Tiger showed what his greatest asset is: his mind. He didn’t have to overpower the course, just take what it gave him… and it gave him a lot of stinger 2-irons.

This week in The Numbers Game I’ll take a look at a few of the numbers from and related to the Open Championship. Also, I’ll see if The 40-30-20-10 Rule holds up for a tournament on a links style course.

Thoughts on Hoylake

Hoylake is a bit of an unknown. That doesn’t keep us from trying to figure out what might happen.

The Numbers GameWe get to see a new ‘old’ course on the rotation this year. We’re used to seeing the names St. Andrews, Muirfield, and something with a Royal on the front of it. The 2006 British Open will be contended on another Royal course, but it is known as something else.

Royal Liverpool Golf Club is the official name of the course commonly called “Hoylake.” The British Open was last played there in 1967 and is back after a 39-year absence. There aren’t many numbers out there to research, but there were a few things about Hoylake and the British Open to consider in this week’s The Numbers Game.

Drop In Distance

There has been a drop in distance off the tee this year and now we only have eleven golfers averaging more than 300 yards per drive.

The Numbers GameLast year, one of The Sand Trap‘s favorite golf course architects had a regular update his site about the number of players averaging over 300 yards on the PGA Tour. This year, he’s spared us from such updates. I didn’t really understood why until I took a closer look.

There were 26 players last year averaging over 300 yards per drive. This year, it has dropped to eleven. This week in The Numbers Game I’ll look not only at the longer players, but the rest of the tour to see if the drop in distance is spread out and how it affects another stat.

2006 U.S. Open Numbers

Winged Foot provided some of the highest scoring since the 70s. Thanks to that, there were some fun facts and numbers.

The Numbers GameThe U.S. Open produces some of the most interesting golf all year long. In a tournament where par is a great score, it is always fun to view the aftermath.

This year, we have some new words because of Winged Foot’s 18th hole. “A Phil,” or a “Monty”… maybe a “Phonty” can be defined as letting an Aussie win a major championship after throwing up all over oneself. Any way you describe it, the U.S. Open has provided many interesting factoids for this week’s The Numbers Game.

The Modern Open and Majors

The U.S. Open became the U.S. Open in 1974 with the Massacre at Winged Foot. Since then, the winners have not suffered as much but it has easily remained the most difficult major no matter the decade.

The Numbers GameIn 1974, Sandy Tatum was in charge of setting up Winged Foot for the U.S. Open. A quote he gave that week has become a mantra for all succeeding Opens: “We’re not trying to humiliate the best players in the world. We’re simply trying to identify who they are.”

To his credit, the USGA did just that. It took the massacre at Winged Foot to stamp it down. There really isn’t a question now that the U.S. Open has been and is now the toughest golf tournament in the world with the best regularly surfacing to the top. This week in The Numbers Game, I’ll look at events leading up to and after the defining moment of U.S. Open golf and also compare this major with the others since that point in history.

Reader Email, Volume One

A couple of readers chimed in on the 40-30-20-10 rule and had some interesting thoughts. In answering them, it helps explain, define and prove why I set it up the way I did.

The Numbers GameA popular sports radio host says “if you take the time to email me, I’ll take the time to read it.” The same goes for me. Of course, he probably gets tens of thousands more emails than me. Still, I do read and think about the emails I receive, and I encourage you to send me more. Our email addresses can be found on the staff page.

Over the past few weeks, two emails in particular have inquired about The 40-30-20-10 Rule. Recently, I applied the rule to the LPGA and to the Champions Tour. Both emails posed questions or suggestions that I thought I’d answer here.