TPC River Highlands is a tiny course by modern standards, topping out at 6,851 yards and playing to a par of 70. As the length would suggest, there are just two par 5s on the property, with four par 3s and 12 par 4s rounding out the scorecard.
While the course doesn't measure all that long, Bubba Watson is one of the regular favorites, showing that length still does has its place.
Here is a list of winners and runners-up since 2005:
- 2005 - Brad Faxon (14-under 266) over Tjaart van der Walt in a playoff
- 2006 - J.J. Henry (266) over Hunter Mahan and Ryan Moore (269)
- 2007 - Hunter Mahan (265) over Jay Williamson in a playoff
- 2008 - Stewart Cink (262) over Tommy Armour III and Hunter Mahan (263)
- 2009 - Kenny Perry (258) over Paul Goydos and David Toms (261)
- 2010 - Bubba Watson (266) over Corey Pavin and Scott Verplank in a playoff
- 2011 - Freddie Jacobson (260) over Ryan Moore and John Rollins (261)
- 2012 - Marc Leishman (266) over Charley Hoffman and Bubba Watson (267)
- 2013 - Ken Duke (268) over Chris Stroud in a playoff
Several things stand out in regard to that list of notables.
- There are a number of people that appear in the top two on multiple occasions, with Watson, Moore and Mahan all standing out. That could hint that course history plays a stronger role. It also could be a testament to the cream rising to the top of an event with a traditionally weaker field. (Note that the field is not weak this week.)
- Obviously Bubba Watson is one of the longest players in the world, but plenty of short hitters like Brad Faxon and Corey Pavin make their appearances on the list. That strongly suggests that their are multiple ways to be successful on this course.
Players enter this week coming from two complete different frame's of mind. Some were on vacation last week, while the rest were trying to survive the rigorous test of a U.S. Open. For those who were at Pinehurst this past week, they will feel like they are playing a much easier (and shorter) course. The others should be refreshed and ready to make a run at TPC River Highlands.
Because of the variety of the past champions and the mixed signals Shotlink data gives us in recent years, zeroing in on a couple of tell-tale stats is difficult this week. I'll take a hard look at ball-striking, SGP, Par Breakers, Scrambling, Par 3 and Par 4 Scoring.
We will return tomorrow with our Power Ranking. Until then, happy research!