You can easily look to see that Zach Johnson held off the hottest man on TOUR at this time last season - Jason Dufner - to win the event by a stroke. What you may not remember is that Johnson suffered a two-stroke penalty on the final hole when he forgot to replace his mark on the green after moving it out of Dufner's line.
When looking at the stats, here is an idea where ZJ and Dufner ranked in a few key areas.
- ZJ got it done with the flat stick, ranking third in strokes gained and second in total distance of putts made. He did not rank inside the top 20 in any of the major ball-striking categories.
- Dufner was the opposite, ranking third in GIR and first in proximity to the hole. He was also solidly in 10th in both strokes gained-putting and total distance of putts made.
- Also of note, both of these guys were in the midst of huge seasons. Form mattered.
Either way, this further illustrates that length doesn't matter nearly as much as accuracy and putting.
Here's a look at each champion and runner up since 2000 with their scores (280=even)
- 2000 - Phil Mickelson (268) and Stewart Cink / Davis Love III (270)
- 2001 - Sergio Garcia ( 267) and Brian Gay / Mickelson (269)
- 2002 - Nick Price (267) and Kenny Perry / David Toms (272)
- 2003 - Kenny Perry (261) and Justin Leonard (267)
- 2004 - Steve Flesch (269) and Chad Campbell (270)
- 2005 - Kenny Perry (261) and Billy Mayfair (268)
- 2006 - Tim Herron (268) winner in playoff over Richard Johnson
- 2007 - Rory Sabbatini (266) winner in playoff over Jim Furyk and Bernhard Langer
- 2008 - Mickelson (266) and Tim Clark / Rod Pampling (267)
- 2009 - Steve Stricker (263) in playoff over Steve Marino and Tim Clark
- 2010 - Zach Johnson (259) and Brian Davis (262)
- 2011 - Toms (265) and Charlie Wi (266)
- 2012 - Zach Johnson (268) and Jason Dufner (269)
When diving into your research, consider the form of top-tier players with a strength towards accuracy and putting.
We'll be back tomorrow to dive into the power rankings. Until then, happy research!