What did we learn from the PGA Tour in January?


The first month of 2022 has passed and the first 13 races have rushed through.So what did we learn from these games?What do these numbers portend?How do we predict the rest of the season?It’s been 30 years since a player with a last name beginning with “Z” won a PGA Tour event.Will Saratoriis almost ended that drought at the Farmer’s Insurance Open, then lost the first hole of the play-play to Luke List.Even so, Saratoriis’ breakthrough victory on the PGA Tour seems imminent.He has now finished in the top 10 in three consecutive events and has finished in the top 20 in his first two events of the season, proving that last year’s Runner-up at the Masters was no fluke.Saratoriis has also been able to drive low, setting course records twice this season — -11 in the second round of the Sanderson Farms Tournament at Jackson Country Club and -11 in the second round of the American Express At nicklaus Championship.Just as convincingly, he leads the PGA Tour in tee to green scores (2.094 per round) and green perimeter scores (1.237), and ranks fifth in strokes (1.899).He’s 17th in the fedex Cup standings. Saratoriis was scheduled to compete in the AT&T Pro-Amateur Pairing at Pebble Beach, but was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19.If he continues to play well once he returns, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes the eighth PGA Tour winner to begin with the letter “Z.”Who wins the most in the “Z” group?Fuzzy Zoeller, of course.The two-time Grand Slam winner has won 10 times in his career, his last victory coming in 1986.Larry Ziegler, Kermit Zarley and Al Zimmerman have three wins each,Zokol, Steve Zappe and Eldred Zimmerman each had one.Saratoriis, 25, is shining, often working his way into contention.He is also vying for a spot in this year’s US Presidents Cup;As of Feb. 1, he is currently 13th in the standings.The only time he’s in last place now is when he introduces players alphabetically.Saratoriis, 25, is shining Perhaps California pros love west Coast races because they’re comfortable on the Bluegrass greens.Or maybe it’s the proximity to home, the support of the home fans.It is clear that the native Californian thrives in his homeland.In the last three seasons of the PGA Tour in California, the highest cumulative points were scored by Maverick McNealy and Patrick Cantlie.Their combined score after the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines was -99.McNealy grew up in Northern California and attended Stanford University.Cantlie grew up in Southern California and attended the University of California, Los Angeles.While McNealy is still looking for his first PGA Tour victory, Cantlie has six.Of course, he’s also the defending fedex Cup champion.As of now, there is only one tournament left on the West Coast tour in February, the Genesis Invitational.Both players will be battling it out on their favorite courses.”I love racing in California,” Cantlie said in the run-up to pebble Beach. “I definitely feel at home..Whenever I play the Bluegrass greens at a course like Pebble Beach, it feels like I’ve been playing courses like this my whole life.”Four of Patrick Cantley McNealy’s six top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour have come in California, including a runner-up finish to Daniel Berg at Pebble Beach last year.What’s more — these four top 10s came in 18 races in California;The other two top 10s came in 56 races outside California.In addition, McNealy’s par on greens in California is four percentage points higher than his overall average.Of course, there are other non-Californians who seem to thrive on the West Coast, including Spanish player Jon Rahm and Australian Jenson Day, who both compete for titles at Torrey Pines.Rahm was -98 in California the past three seasons;Day has 11 top-five finishes in 23 Career starts at California since 2014, the most of any player in that span.Day GREEN — One of the reasons Sung-jae Im is in third place in the fedex Cup standings is that his short game has improved.In the first 13 events of the season (eight tournaments), the South Korean star is second in short strokes.Green perimeter scores averaged 0.746 per round on the course, which was achieved over 27 rounds.The leader in this category is Jim Knous, who has a nine-round average of 1.069.A year ago, Yim was 142nd in the category, averaging -0.079 per round.The year before that, he finished 92nd in the category at.007– basically matching the PGA Tour average.When he won the Holy Land Brothers Children’s Hospital Open last October, Im attributed his outstanding play in the tournament to the dig, winning by -24 strokes.Other parts of Im’s game have been excellent or solid;The short game is his weakness.Apparently, he has solved the problem.With Florida swing season just weeks away, don’t be surprised if Yim passes Matsuyama in the standings.Yim usually plays well in the Sunshine State — his other PGA Tour victory came at the 2020 Honda Classic, and he had three top 25 finishes in Florida last year.

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