Readers of this blog certainly know that I have written enough about Jim Furyk since I started writing back in early September. And I do not mean this column as an attack on him or Davis Love III. I merely present some factual data to look at and consider what might have been in the McGladrey Classic if Furyk and Love had performed a little differently with the putter.
I will look at four key statistical categories and focus on Furyk and Love as they shared the 54-hole lead and also on the winner of the tournament, Tommy Gainey. Those categories are Strokes Gained -Putting (SGP), Putts Per Round (PPR), Putts per Greens in Regulation (PPGIR) and Greens in Regulation (GIR).
Let's look at Furyk's numbers first. He was 1st in GIR. That alone is evidence that he was playing quite well despite his two-week layoff after the Ryder Cup nightmare. From there, however his numbers drop off which may be a result of the two week rust. In SGP, he was 10th, in PPR he was tied for 29th (ironically with Love) and in PPGIR he was 18th. Despite only making two bogeys over the 72 holes, another sign that he was playing well, Furyk was unable to make a birdie on the 17th or 18th holes to force a playoff with Gainey. And on those two holes he failed to hit either green in regulation.
"I think what I'm most disappointed about is when it came down the stretch, hitting the ball pretty much as good as I can, I made really, really poor swings at 17 and 18 with a 7-iron and 8-iron," Furyk said. "So to play those two holes and not get one good look at it for birdie was disappointing."
Furyk did not have one round in which he took less than 30 putts and averaged 30.3 putts for the tournament.
Love, who hasn't taken any time off since the Ryder Cup and who also played host at the McGladrey Classic, also struggled on the Bermuda greens. He was tied for 2nd in GIR, 25th in SGP, tied for 29th in PPR (with Furyk) and was 8th in PPGIR.
It is interesting to note that Love, playing on a course he is very familiar with as he lives nearby on St. Simons Island, took 28 putts in round one, 29 putts in round two, 31 putts in round three and 33 putts in round four with an average of 30.3 for the tournament.
Tommy "Two Gloves' Gainey made putting look easy on Sunday. Despite being tied for 23rd in GIR, Gainey made his move on the greens as he dropped several in the 20 foot range for birdies. He did not have a bogey on the card and had a realistic shot at the magical 59 on the 18th green. Gainey was 3rd in SGP, 2nd in PPR and 2nd in PPGIR. Over the four days, his daily putting totals were: 29, 31, 30 and 24 for an average of 28.5.