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BlogDean & DeLuca Preview and Picks

Dean & DeLuca Invitational

May 25th – 28th, 2017

Colonial C.C.

Fort Worth, TX

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,209

Purse: $6.9 million

with $1,206,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Jordan Spieth

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

This week’s field includes:

 

The field includes 38 of the top 100 and 18 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with two players from the top-ten #6 Sergio Garcia and #7 Jordan Spieth. The other top 50 players are #12 Jon Rahm, #14 Paul Casey, #18 Matt Kuchar, #21 Phil Mickelson, #29 Siwoo Kim, #32 Brandt Snedeker, #35 Ryan Moore, #36 Marc Leishman, #37 Emiliano Grillo, #38 Wesley Bryan, #40 Pat Perez, #43 Bill Haas, #44 Billy Horschel, #45 Kevin Kisner, #48 William McGirt and #49 Adam Hadwin.

Last year there was 18 top-50 players in the field

The field includes 13 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2017.  Those players are  #4 Jon Rahm, #5 Pat Perez, #6 Adam Hadwin, #7 Jordan Spieth, #10 Brian Harman, #13 Sergio Garcia, #14 Marc Leishman, #15 Billy Horschel, #17 Kevin Kisner, #18 Mackenzie Hughes, #19 Wesley Bryan, #22 Si Woo Kim and #23 Cameron Smith.

The field includes 12 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list. Those players are  #4 Jon Rahm, #5 Pat Perez, #6 Jordan Spieth, #7 Adam Hadwin, #9 Sergio Garcia, #11 Brian Harman, #12 Marc Leishman, #14 Si Woo Kim, #16 Billy Horschel, #18 Kevin Kisner, #20 Wesley Bryan and #22 Mackenzie Hughes

The field includes 15 players that have won one of the 28 events on the PGA Tour this year: Cody Gribble (Sanderson Farms), Rod Pampling (Shriners Hospitals), Pat Perez (OHL Classic at Mayakoba), Mackenzie Hughes (RSM Classic), Jon Rahm (Farmers), Jordan Spieth (AT&T Pebble Beach), Adam Hadwin (Valspar), Marc Leishman (Arnold Palmer), Sergio Garcia (Masters), Wesley Bryan (RBC Heritage), Jonas Blixt & Cameron Smith (Zurich), Brian Harman (Wells Fargo), Si Woo Kim (The Players) and Billy Horschel (AT&T Byron Nelson.

The field includes 10 past champions: Jordan Spieth (2016), Chris Kirk (2015), Boo Weekley (2013), Zach Johnson (2010, ’12), Steve Stricker (2009), Phil Mickelson (2000, 2008), Rory Sabbatini (2007), Tim Herron (2006), Sergio Garcia (2001) and Keith Clearwater (1987).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Dean & Deluca field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Dean & Deluca in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Dean & Deluca.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

 

 

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Dean & DeLuca Invitational

Player AT&T Byron Nelson The Players Championship Wells Fargo Championship Zurich Classic Volvo China Open Valero Texas Open Shenzhen International RBC Heritage Masters Shell Houston Open WGC-Dell Match Play Championship Puerto Rico Open Arnold Palmer Invitational
Kevin Tway
(226 pts)
T20
(30)
DNP T5
(70)
3
(60)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP
Si Woo Kim
(212 pts)
DNP Win
(198)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
WD
(-1.67)
T30
(10)
DNP T49
(0.33)
Brian Harman
(195 pts)
DNP T53
(0)
Win
(132)
T14
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
Pat Perez
(190.83 pts)
DNP T22
(42)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T70
(0)
T18
(21.33)
DNP T17
(16.5)
DNP T17
(11)
Bud Cauley
(166.67 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T9
(30)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Kyle Stanley
(161.67 pts)
DNP T4
(120)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP T17
(11)
Jon Rahm
(158.67 pts)
DNP T72
(0)
4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T27
(15.33)
T10
(13.33)
2
(50)
DNP DNP
Sergio Garcia
(158 pts)
T20
(30)
T30
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T30
(10)
DNP DNP
Sung Kang
(153 pts)
T20
(30)
T30
(30)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP T49
(0.33)
DNP
Charley Hoffman
(147.67 pts)
T40
(10)
T30
(30)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T22
(18.67)
T23
(9)
DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
Paul Casey
(145.5 pts)
DNP T22
(42)
T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 6
(40)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP T41
(3)
Matt Kuchar
(137.67 pts)
T9
(45)
82
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP T11
(26)
T4
(53.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T30
(10)
DNP DNP
Kevin Kisner
(137.17 pts)
DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-10)
2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
T43
(4.67)
DNP T17
(16.5)
DNP T2
(33.33)
Jason Dufner
(133.67 pts)
T13
(37)
T60
(0)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
T33
(11.33)
T12
(12.67)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP
Cameron Smith
(129 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
Nick Taylor
(124.33 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP T8
(50)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP T44
(2)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Lucas Glover
(124.33 pts)
DNP T6
(90)
T52
(0)
T39
(7.33)
DNP DNP DNP T32
(12)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
Ryan Palmer
(124 pts)
T27
(23)
CUT
(-15)
DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
William McGirt
(123.17 pts)
DNP T22
(42)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
T22
(18.67)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Billy Horschel
(109.33 pts)
Win
(132)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
Danny Lee
(100.67 pts)
T5
(70)
CUT
(-15)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T39
(7.33)
DNP T20
(10)
DNP T56
(0)
T17
(11)
Phil Mickelson
(99.17 pts)
DNP T41
(13.5)
T18
(32)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
T55
(0)
T5
(35)
DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(97.17 pts)
T13
(37)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(4)
T43
(4.67)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP Win
(44)
Ollie Schniederjans
(90.67 pts)
T55
(0)
DNP DNP T39
(7.33)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
Tony Finau
(88 pts)
T13
(37)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
DNP DNP T28
(7.33)
Seung-Yul Noh
(85.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T22
(42)
T5
(70)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T78
(0)
DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Emiliano Grillo
(84.83 pts)
DNP 11
(58.5)
T42
(8)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 51
(0)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP T7
(18.33)
Billy Hurley III
(81.83 pts)
T50
(1)
T41
(13.5)
T8
(50)
DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP T22
(18.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Adam Hadwin
(78 pts)
DNP T30
(30)
DNP DNP DNP T72
(0)
DNP T22
(18.67)
T36
(9.33)
DNP DNP DNP 6
(20)
Wesley Bryan
(77 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
T29
(14)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP T62
(0)
69
(0)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Dean & DeLuca Invitational

Player AT&T Byron Nelson The Players Championship Wells Fargo Championship Zurich Classic Volvo China Open Valero Texas Open Shenzhen International RBC Heritage Masters Shell Houston Open WGC-Dell Match Play Championship Puerto Rico Open Arnold Palmer Invitational
Steven Bowditch
(-50 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Matt Every
(-45 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T62
(0)
Harris English
(-33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
T32
(12)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
C.T. Pan
(-32.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T44
(4)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
Greg Chalmers
(-30.67 pts)
72
(0)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T17
(11)
Hunter Mahan
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP 70
(0)
DNP
Anirban Lahiri
(-24.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP T72
(0)
DNP T44
(4)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Rory Sabbatini
(-24 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP WD
(-5)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T37
(4.33)
DNP
Cody Gribble
(-23.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T48
(3)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T65
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Whee Kim
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

As we have said before Colonial is one of golf’s treasured layouts that just can’t keep up with technology.  The course sits next to the Trinty River on the north and houses on the East, South and West of it so there is no way to add any yardage.  So the course is at the mercy of mother nature, if it gets windy the course will play tough, but if not it’s easy.  We go more into detail on this later.

So what is wrong with Jordan

The big marquee name playing is Jordan Spieth, who lives down the road in Dallas.  Things looked great for Speith as he was 3rd in both the T of C and Sony Open in Hawaii.  He then finished T-9th at Phoenix and won at Pebble Beach.  After that in 8 events he has only been in the top-ten once, that was at the Zurich with Ryan Palmer as his partner.  Now in 26 events in 2015 he only missed 4 cuts and last year in 22 years only missed 2 cuts.  But in his last five starts he has missed 3 cuts, with two in a row at the Players and Byron Nelson.  Now it’s very easy to see what is wrong with Spieth’s game, it’s his putting.  In 2015 he was 1st in putting average and 9th in Strokes Gained Putting.  In putts inside 10 feet he was 52nd and 2nd in putting from 15 to 20 feet and 1st in putting from 20 to 25 feet.  Last year his putting stats were even better, he was T-1st in putting average, 2nd in Strokes Gained Putting.  In putts inside 10 feet he was T-50th, putting from 15 to 20 feet 2nd and 3rd in putts between 20 and 25 feet.  But this year it’s a totally different deal.  He is 7th in putting average but has dropped to 52nd in Strokes Gained Putting.  Inside 10 feet he is a dismal 104th while in putts from 15 to 20 feet 75th and T-21st in putts from 20 to 25 feet.  Guess that it’s bothering Spieth for only the third time since turning pro in 2012, Spieth used a different putter at the Byron Nelson.  He switched to a Mallet putter that has a single white line on the top of the putter head.  Spieth is using it because he feels that he has alignment problems.  The good news he shot 68 in the first round at the Nelson and putted better.  But he shot 75 on Friday (thanks to a quad on the 16th hole) but didn’t putt as well and missed the cut again.  The question is if his putting will still let him down.  If there is ever a person whose reputation is putting it’s got to be Spieth.  He is probably the best putter on the PGA Tour since Tiger and we saw what happened to Tiger when the putts stopped falling.  The big question will be if he has improved the putting since last Friday.  The timing couldn’t be worst as in the next 18 weeks there are three majors, a WGC event and the four FedEx Cup playoffs left.

On the comeback trail, Jason Day

While Jordan Spieth works out his putting problems, Jason Day showed last week that he could be on the cusp of some good play.  It’s been a tough last nine months between injuries and dealing with his mothers illness.  The good news is that Day is healthy again and his mother is doing great.  He may not of won because of a short putt missed on the first playoff hole, but his runner-up finish is his best since being runner-up at the PGA Championship last July.  In the span in between he has played in 13 events and only finished in the top-ten twice before Dallas, a T-4th at the Barclays and T-5th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am.  As he said after the miss putt he was happy that things are coming together and after taking this week off will be ready to go at Memorial.

Hard to believe:

In just 23 days will be the start of the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.  In just 58 days will be the British Open and gosh just in 87 days from now we will be in Charlotte for the PGA Championship.  Time really flies by fast doesn’t it?

Things you need to know about the The Dean & Deluca Invitational and Colonial:

The 69th year of The Dean & Deluca Invitational. Commonly referred to as the Colonial National, it’s not the oldest event on the PGA Tour in longevity records as Augusta National and the Masters can claim to have been played on the same course longer on the PGA Tour.  The club does have one distinction it’s the only one in America that has hosted the U.S. Open (1941), the Players Championship (1975) and the U.S. Women’s Open (1991).

The tournament got started in 1946 when it was obvious that the USGA wasn’t going to make Colonial an annual stop.  The event was the inspiration of John Marvin Leonard, who operated a store in downtown Fort Worth and wanted to see the best golfers in the world play on his course.  Having Ben Hogan win its first two events gave the event and the course the recognition that it needed.

Hogan went on to win five times at Colonial and the course got the name “Hogan’s Alley”.  At one time, Hogan practically held every record of the tournament.  In the 21 times Hogan played at Colonial, his highest finish was a T-56th in his last appearance in 1970 at the age of 58.  Over Hogan’s career, he won 54 tournaments, with the last victory coming in the 1959 Colonial.  One of Hogan’s most enduring records at Colonial was the 65 he shot in the 3rd round in 1948.  It took seven years for someone to tie the record when Chandler Harper did it in 1955, and it took 22 years for someone to beat the record when Dale Douglass did it with his 63 in 1970.  Hogan loved Colonial and became a dues paying member of the club.  It was only fitting that the greatest of Ben Hogan’s life and golf career is celebrated in the Hogan Room with an audio-visual presentation of his career and some memorable of his career including clubs and replicas of all the trophies and medals.

Now the history of Ben Hogan and Colonial didn’t start with his win in 1946.  It was started in the early 1930s when a young Ben Hogan decided to play on the PGA Tour,  he received financial backing from Marvin Leonard, the man who built Colonial.  Hogan wasn’t a big success, many times were forced to drop off tour and take a job just to earn enough money to rejoin the tour.  But as soon as Hogan began making money on the tour he offered to settle his account with Leonard, who told him to forget about the money.  But in the 1950s Hogan was able to pay back Leonard in an even bigger way.  After Hogan launched the Ben Hogan golf equipment company he offered Leonard the opportunity to purchase 50 percent of the company.  Leonard seized the opportunity and along with Hogan made a handsome profit when the company was sold to AMF in 1960.

The Colonial Country Club was the vision of Leonard, a native of Fort Worth.  He was considered a “workaholic” in the 1920s when his doctor told him he needed to slow down his pace.  Leonard turned to golf and joined Glen Garden Golf Club and Rivercrest Country Club, the best courses of the time in Fort Worth. As Leonards interest in golf grew he became more interested in all aspects of the course, including the types of grass.  In the south, Bent grass was thought to be impossible to grow so all of the courses in Texas were bermuda, which tended to be bumpy.  Leonard thought it would be a good idea to have bent grass and in trying to get Rivercrest to change the club president got tired of the requests and told him, Marvin if you’re so sold on bent grass, why don’t you go build your own golf course and put it in that course?”  So in 1934 Leonard did just that.

He acquired 157 acres in Southwest Fort Worth and hired golf architect John Bredemus to build him a championship course.  On January 29, 1936 the course was opened, and many thought it could be one of the greatest courses in the world. In the late 30s, Leonard also felt that Colonial was the best and lobbied the USGA to hold the Open at Colonial.  Even though the U.S. Open was never played in the South, when Leonard offered $25,000 to hold the event at Colonial it was given the 1941 Open.  Just to make sure that the course withstood the challenge of the best players in the world in 1940 he called in Perry Maxwell to redo holes 3, 4 & 5.

Even with the rain that hampered the Open it was a big success and plans to start a yearly tournament at Colonial were talked about but plans were put on hold because of World War II.  When the war ended, the club decided to hold the Colonial National Invitational and to add some prestige offered a purse of $15,000, the third largest sum on the PGA Tour.  With a first place check of $3,000 awaiting the winner, a field of 32 players teed off with Ben Hogan winning.  Since then 68 Colonial’s have been held with the course pretty much the same as it was in 1941, with some minor revisions that were implemented in 1969 when several holes along the Trinity river were damaged by flooding.

Course information:

  • Colonial Country Club
  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • 7,204 yards     Par 35-35–70
  • The Colonial has a 75.1 rating and slope rating of 138 from the championship tees. The course is very private. The tees, Fairways and rough are BermudaGrass while the greens are Bent.  Last year Colonial was the 18th hardest course as it played to a 70.20 average.  In 2015 it was the 21st hardest course on the PGA Tour with a 69.78 scoring average.  In 2014 it was the 19th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 70.273 average which is a quarter stroke over par.  In 2013, Colonial was the 24th hardest course playing to a 69.895 average which is just a little bit under par.
  • It was designed and built by John Bredemus, with Perry Maxwell doing some touch-up work and opened in 1936.  There were some minor revisions in 1969 to some of the holes to prevent flooding from the nearby Trinity river.
  • In 2000, the club completed a two year course renovation, which started in November of 1998 when they installed a new irrigation system.  The major work was done in rebuilding all 18 greens with new A-4 bentgrass.  They also redesigned and rebuilt all the 84 bunkers, giving them a new definition so that they will be seen from tees and fairways.
  • All of the green and bunker work were done three weeks after the 1999 tournament ended with the membership not having the full course reopen until April 1st of 2000. Club has also planted close to hundred trees that won’t be in play but in years to come will help define the holes.
  • Normally we don’t talk about technology in golf but when we talk about Colonial one of the reasons for it losing its fear factor is technology.  This course for years was feared my all the touring pros, if you look at the winning score pre-1996 you saw years in which the winner was 7, 8, 9 and 10 under.  But starting in 1997 every year but one (8 under in 1999) saw scores in the double digits for the winners showing how easy the course got.
  • Couple of reasons, first the course has no room to add yardage like other classic courses have done.  Now most of the holes at Colonial are doglegs so the driver is taken out of the hands of players which means most of the holes you have to lay up meaning more players hit more fairways.  Also a lot of players are starting to balk about playing Colonial, two past champions Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson have not played in past years because they don’t like the driver taken out of their hands. We have seen bits and pieces of the proud history of this event crumbling,  I expect that Colonial will again get torn to pieces by players, unless wind pops up.

Let’s take a look at key stats that are important for those playing at Colonial:

This is based on the most important stats for Colonial, based on data from last years Dean & Deluca, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2017. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four catagories.
The scoring average of the field at Colonial in 2016 was 70.20 making it the 18th hardest course on the PGA Tour with par being 70 it was a quarter of a shot over par and almost a half a shot harder that the course played in 2015 when it was 69.78, so with par being 70 that means the average score was just quarter stroke under par, making Colonial the 21st hardest course to score on in 2015. So why the difference? Rain and wind, in 2015 they had flooding conditions the week before the tournament and the course was very wet. On top of that winds averaged between 10-15 mph. Last year the course didn’t have as much rain and winds blew up to 20 mph the first three days and calmed a bit for the final round.
Colonial Country Club is a relic to a bygone era in which accuracy off the tee, precision shotmaking to the greens is important. On top of that when the course is dry and runs, put in some wind and it can play tough. But with no wind, wet conditions you will see a lot of birdies and eagles and that’s what has happened over the years. You can’t overpower this course, that’s why you won’t see long ball hitters like Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Bubba Watson, Gary Woodland and J.B. Holmes here. Every great shotmaker from the last 70 years have won at Colonial including Hogan, Nicklaus, Snead, Boros, Littler, Wadkins, Price, Trevino, Casper, Watson, Scott and Mickelson to name a few. Most important stat to look at is Ball Striking, looking at the list for 2017 the odds are a player in the top-30 of that list will win this week. So why is this so important in a time when overpowering courses is the Norm? There is no room to add yardage to Colonial. Since the course opened in 1946, only 169 yards have been added. With 12 of the 14 par 4s and 5s being doglegs, players have to throttle back and hit fairway woods and irons to keep it in play. So hitting it long gives you no advantage because length means nothing when you have to lay up, so short drivers will be in the same part of the fairway as long hitters. That is the reason why players like Corey Pavin, Rory Sabbatini, Steve Stricker, David Toms and Zach Johnson have won this event.
In looking at our four categories, one thing to keep in mind is that the last two winners were a rarity, 2015 champion Chris Kirk stats from tee to green were terrible and he won the tournament because of his putting, he was 2nd in Strokes Gained Putting. The same with last year’s champion Jordan Spieth, he was T-54th in Driving Accuracy and T-17th in Greens hit. But just like Kirk, Spieth was the best on and around the greens. He was 1st in Scrambling, T-1st in overall Putting Average, 2nd in Strokes Gain Putting. He also made a lot of birdies, was T-1st in Birdie Average and 2nd in Par Breakers so I guess in the long run we cover ourselves as our third important stat is Par Breaker as last year Colonial was 15th in that stat and finally our last stat is Strokes Gained Putting.

Oh before we go it’s probably important to see how the weather will be. All four days will be very hot and humid, with it getting close to 100 on Friday and Saturday. Sunday they are calling for Thunderstorms that will bring the thermometer down to 89 degrees. One thing to look for is a wind player, Thursday and Friday it will blow 20 mph, Saturday down to 18 and Sunday 14. So with no rain Tuesday and Wednesday, hot conditions with wind drying out the course Colonial will have some of it’s buzz this week.

*Ball Striking: Tells a players overall ball hitting skills by computing a players rank in total driving and greens in regulation

*Fairway Accuracy: percentage of times a drive is in the fairway.

*Par Breakers: The course allows a lot of birdies and eagles to be made, so parbreakers is the percent of time scores are under par.

*Strokes Gained Putting: The number of putts a player takes from a specific distance is measured against a statistical baseline to determine the player’s strokes gained or lost on a hole.

The 110 of the 121 players from this year’s field with stats from 2017:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is the link to all the stats for 110 of the 121 players in the field at the Dean & Deluca

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Colonial

Key stat for the winner:

  • Experience at Colonial seems to be an important part to winning.  Since 1996, 17 players have won at Colonial and have a total of 205 victories so that means an average of 12.15 wins for each of the champions.  Last year’s winner Jordan Spieth won the 8th time, in 2015 Chris Kirk won for the fourth time but in 2014 Adam Scott won for the 11th time.  In 2012 Zach Johnson won for the eighth time in his career as winners range from Tom Watson with 34 wins and Nick Price with 18 to Sergio Garcia who made Colonial his first PGA Tour win in 2001.  The fact is rookies don’t win at Colonial.  Yes, Sergio Garcia got his first PGA Tour win at Colonial but he had won in Europe.  The same with the next first time winner Ian Baker-Finch in 1989, he had won in Australia.  The same with Boo Weekley in 2013.  In looking at the 68 year history of the Dean & Deluca, only eight first winners have done the deed, that tells us to look for an experienced person to win.

Other keys:

  • Look at all of the champions, you will see one thing in common, they are accurate drivers of the ball, which historically has been very important in winning at Colonial.  The bottom line is wild drivers just don’t win here.  Now of course there is always an exception to the rule, last year only hit 38 fairways and ranked T-54th.  The previous year Chris Kirk only hit 28 fairways and ranked T-60th while in 2007 Rory Sabbatini only hit 29 fairways and ranked T60th.  Phil Mickelson hit only 32 fairways in ’08 and ranked T36th but all of these players won thanks to a hot putter overcaming the driving problems.    In 2009 Steve Stricker got things back on track hitting 36 fairways, ranking T15th while in 2010 Zach Johnson hit 39 fairways and ranked T10th.  In 2011, David Toms hit 38 fairways and ranked T4th while in 2012 Zach Johnson hit 33 fairways and ranked T26th.  In 2013 Boo Weekley hit 40 fairways and ranked T-6th.  In 2014 Adam Scott hit 37 fairways and ranked T-8th.  Before that between 1998 and 2006 all of the winners were in the top-ten in fairway accuracy, with seven of them being in the top-five.
  • An important stat to look at to gauge the champion this week is strokes gained tee-to-green. Look at this list of players for 2017 in in strokes gained tee-to-green, I feel that one of those in the top-50 of this list will probably be the winner this week.  2nd on the list is Jon Rahm, 3rd on the list is Adam Scott, a past champion and someone that many will favor this week.

What makes this course so tough of a driving course?

  • All of the doglegs, there are 12 of them and the fact that since the course only plays 169 yards longer than it did in 1946, players have to throttle back and hit fairway woods and irons to keep it in play.  One of the reasons that you don’t see players like Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes here is because of that, it takes a special player to keep it in play.  So in a way strategy plays an important part in playing Colonial and length on a lot of holes are a disadvantage.
  • Shot-making is almost a lost art and if you look at all of the champions in this millennium all of them were great shotmakers.
  •  Hitting greens will be at a premium, just like in a U.S. Open hitting lots of greens goes a long way in this event.  Look for the winner to hit globs of greens this week.  Now there is another way, if you don’t hit greens, that is scrambling.  Last year Jordan Spieth may not of been among the leaders in greens hit, but he led in scambling. Look at the chart below of the last ten winners, in looking at the two stats hitting greens or scrambling,  you will see a key for winning.

Winner                                  Greens hit  Rank                Scrambling   Rank

2016-Jordan Spieth                51 of 72  T-17th                  18 of 21          1st

2015-Chris Kirk                       46 of 72  T-62nd                  17 of 26         39th

2014-Adam Scott                    52 of 72  T10th                   14 of 20         16th

2013-Boo Weekely                  54 of 72   T5th                   11 of 18          40th

2012-Zach Johnson                45 of 72   T37th                  21 of 27         1st

2011-David Toms                     52 of 72    T4th                  14 of 20          12th

2010-Zach Johnson                61 of 72      1st                   10 of 11           1st

2009-Steve Stricker                56 of 72    T-6th                   12 of 16         T14th

2008-Phil Mickelson               52 of 72    T5th                    14 of 20         T16th

2007-Rory Sabbatini              48 of 72    T55th                   19 of 24          3rd

Who to watch for at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational

Best Bets:

Sergio Garcia

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T13 T16 CUT

Course is perfect for him, he is 2nd in ball striking, 31st in fairways hit and 23rd in par breakers. This and his good play of late makes him a favorite despite not playing this event in four years.

Jon Rahm

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

Now we have stressed the importance of experience and Rahm is young and never played at Colonial, but he has the same traits that Sergio Garcia had when he won the first time he played Colonial in 2001. Stats are great with the exception of fairway accuracy, but he is playing too good not to be in contention.

Jason Dufner

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T6 T43 2 T46 2 CUT T59 CUT

Like him a lot, is playing well, does well at Colonial and is a great ball striker along with making a lot of putts and making a lot of birdies.

Best of the rest:

Bud Cauley

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T21 T14 CUT

Liked him last week and he didn’t disappoint, has been in the top-ten in his last four starts. Has played ok at Colonial in his three starts, he is ready to win and it could be this week.

Pat Perez

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T5 CUT WD T63 T62 T10 6 4 T44

Has the right combination of stats as he is a good ball striker, hits it fairly straight and putts well. This and the fact that he finished T-5th in this event in 2015 plus his good play of late could make him a good pick.

Adam Hadwin

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T22 T5

Good all-around in not only ball striking and fairways hit but putting and par-breakers. He also is 14 under on the course in 8 rounds so it’s time for him to contend again.

Matt Kuchar

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T6 CUT 2 T26 T16 T56 T27 9 T36

Yes he has digressed the last couple of years, mostly due to poor putting. But he plays good at Colonial and still is a good ball striker that should carry him for the week. I like that he was T-9th last week at the Nelson and T-5th at Zurich.

Brian Harman

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T25 T10 T30 CUT

Don’t forget about him, playing great and has a good record at Colonial.

Solid contenders

Jordan Spieth

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
Win T2 T14 T7

Honestly I don’t know what direction to go on Jordan. He isn’t playing good right now, his putter has been below average for him. But he is returning to a course that he has been lights out the last two starts so maybe that will carry him over.

Paul Casey

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T43 CUT T13 5

We all know how good his ball striking is, Casey has done well on year and seems to be ready to win again.

Kevin Tway

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT

Playing well and could do well this week. Don’t expect a win or a top-five he is not the greatest ball striker in the world, is horrible off the tee but his putting, which has been good of late could help him.

Kevin Kisner

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T10 T5 CUT

Has done well in this event, has all of the right stats so he should be watched

Kyle Stanley

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT T68 CUT CUT T52 T27

He is a great ball striker but fair warning has not played well in six previous starts. But he has played well this year and lately has been in contention at the Players.

Long shots that could come through:

Chris Kirk

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T15 Win T14 T35 T5 T16 T74

Watch him, plays well on this course and his game seems to be ok now.

Zach Johnson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T17 T19 73 3 Win 4 Win T9 T30 T26

Talking about past champions here is one that could have a good week. Has been off and on since winning the British Open in 2015 but he has a great record in this event and has played ok this year.

Graham DeLaet

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T53 T14 T22 CUT T33

Yes he missed the cut at the Players and Nelson, but has all of the right stats to have a good week. Has an ok record in this event, he could be a good longshot.

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