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Sunday, October 19, 2014

The McGladrey Classic - Preview

The McGladrey Classic returns to Sea Island Golf Club - Seaside Course this week, with Chris Kirk as the defending champion. This is the fifth edition of this tournament, with each of the previous four taking place at the current venue.

The Seaside Course is a par-70 layout, stretching out to a mere 7,005 yards and featuring two par 5s, four par 3s and 12 par 4s. Here is a list of the winners and runners-up.

  • 2010 - Winner - Heath Slocum (14-under 266) over Bill Haas (267)
  • 2011 - Winner - Ben Crane (15-under 265) over Webb Simpson in a playoff
  • 2012 - Winner - Tommy Gainey (16-under 264) over David Toms (265)
  • 2013 - Winner - Chris Kirk (14-under 266) over Briny Baird and Tim Clark (267)
Several things stand out. For starters, any list this short that includes David Toms, Briny Baird, Tim Clark and Heath Slocum suggests that length is irrelevant. This list is full of players that can be streaky with the putter, and those with ties to the Southeast (Berumuda greens). Bill Haas (SC), Webb Simpson (NC), Tommy Gainey (SC), Chris Kirk (GA), Heath Slocum (FL), Briny Baird (FL), David Toms (LA) and Tim Clark (NC ties) suggest that geography might matter. 

From a statistical standpoint, this week is more about what doesn't matter than what does. The leaderboard certainly includes those with solid SGP weeks, but that isn't exclusive. There are cases where GIR and fairways are high and SGP is just average. Someone described the new measure, strokes gained: tee-to-green as a metric of the best putters among the best ball-strikers, and I see where he's coming from on that. It could be that the new metric will have some value this week.

I will take a hard look at current form, course history and par-4 scoring average to be sure. I will also consider SGP, GIR, Proximity, Par 4 birdie or better, as well as SG: tee-to-green. 

We will return tomorrow with this week's power ranking. Until then, happy research!

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