Yahoo Golf Talk: The Honda Classic

Josh Culp
·3 min read

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The cutline carnage should continue this week as the TOUR hops from one water-heavy course to another.

The Honda Classic takes place at PGA National's Champion Course which has water in play on 15 holes.

The field averages roughly 2.36 double bogeys or worse per 72 holes at this week's venue. That is the highest number of any course on the regular PGA TOUR rota. Don't get too comfortable or confident about any DFS plays this week because nobody is immune to a big number when it comes to water balls. If you are playing multiple lineups this week, it might be a good time to spread your exposure out a bit more than usual.

Let's dig into some stats that might help us hone in on some value options.

The two areas I'm going to dive into today are long-term putting stats on bermudagrass and recent strokes gained: approach performance.

Bermuda Putting

Comfort on bermuda is a big plus this week.

"I think all of us southern guys growing up on Bermudagrass, I know we don’t live here, but in Sea Island we play a lot on similar grasses and similar conditions. I think that’s a huge part of it. We’re very comfortable with these kind of grasses and conditions." -Harris English

"it’s nice being on Bermuda greens again coming from the West Coast, so I think just that fact alone, me being a good putter, I get excited about that." -Michael Thompson

"I’m definitely excited to be back on Bermuda greens after being on some bouncy poa." -Rickie Fowler

Those are just a few past quotes from this event where golfers mention the bermudagrass being a positive factor for them.

Over the last two years, here are the leaders in strokes gained putting on courses with bermudagrass greens:

Kristoffer Ventura
Ian Poulter
Denny McCarthy
Wyndham Clark
John Huh
Chase Seiffert
Beau Hossler
Patrick Rodgers
J.T. Poston
Vaughn Taylor
Brice Garnett
Patton Kizzire
Zach Johnson
Adam Hadwin
Alex Noren

Brice Garnett ($20): His form doesn't leap off the page but he's now pelted more greens per round compared to the field in back-to-back events. Trending upward after landing fewer than the field in nine straight events before that. Combine his trending iron play with a strong history of putting well on bermuda and we have a viable value option at the minimum salary.

Strokes Gained Approach

You might think driving accuracy is important on a tough course with water everywhere like PGA National but that hasn't been the case historically. Golfers are able to club down so big hitters that usually spray it with the driver are able to club down and hit more fairways with their long irons.

Instead, there is another stat category I want to target.

Looking at top-heavy finishers at recent editions of the Honda, approach play really stands out. Golfers that were arriving with steady iron play tend to find their way to the top of the board at this event.

Here are the golfers that have been the most consistent at gaining strokes on approach, over their last 24 lead-in rounds:

Matthew NeSmith
Rob Oppenheim
Russell Henley
Keegan Bradley
Martin Kaymer
Ryan Moore
Scott Stallings
Hank Lebioda
Kevin Streelman
Jim Furyk
Wesley Bryan
Lee Westwood
Talor Gooch
Shane Lowry
Russell Knox
Harold Varner III
Henrik Norlander
Chez Reavie
Cameron Percy

Jim Furyk ($21): You can't teach an old dog new tricks but this old dog doesn't need any new tricks. He still leans heavily on his steady iron play. Off-the-tee play is where he has shown the biggest decline with age, but that weakness gets muted a bit on a course like PGA National. If he can perform around field average off the tee then he should find himself in contention this weekend because his irons are still world-class.

Hopefully these stats will give you some names to dive into when it comes to researching your final selections this week over at Yahoo!