The most important tool for the professional golfer when they are on the course besides their caddie is their yardage book. You know, that little book they pull out of their pocket with all the numbers, formulas, and lines. Tour players study it feverishly prior to each shot and with their caddies base all their on-course decisions from this little book. Ever wonder what’s inside that yardage book and how the Tour Player approaches dissecting the course?
Each week I am going inside the ropes and dissecting the course with the specific focus on breaking down how the Tour Player approaches to each hole and giving you a one of a kind look at the golf course and their strategy each week. Specifically, we are going give you elevation changes, wind charts, ideal shot shapes, approach distance by hole for the shorter and longer hitters, what kind of trouble will be specific to each group of players and where on the course they might struggle. All based on real time on course updates from the Pros. We will also give you the on-course notes for all the “Danger Zones” on the key holes and which players they are most likely to affect.
After a great week at The Memorial, the tournament goes into the Hill of Tennessee, well Memphis actually. The Fed Ex St. Jude Classic is set to get everyone ready for the U.S. Open next week, sort of. This course, doesn’t set it anything like Erin Hills next week but should give the players plenty to deal with as it seems to annually. A tougher par 70 track that requires quite a bit of driving accuracy to navigate around, although this week it looks to be setting up a slight bit different than in previous years.
Course Condition Report
As you might expect with all the courses on Tour, TPC Southwind is in impeccable condition once again this week. This week however according to our on site sources, it is fairly wet and not running out due to the pop up afternoon showers that have been prevelant at the course the last week or so. It has the fairways soft and not letting shots run out like they normally do here at TPC Southwind.
The other change from previous years, likely due to the frequent afternoon showers as well is the recently shortened rough height this week. Expect them to let the rough grow a bit throughout the tournament to compensate for how short it currently is but even then we aren’t projecting the rough to be as long or as difficult as the previous years here.
The greens are immaculate and rolling very good along with the soft conditions. If it stays this soft through Friday and Saturday, expect to see some guys go low on a normally difficult course. If it dries out a bit and the fairways speed back up, the course will toughen up once again.
One interesting and unusual note about the grasses here at TPC Southwind this week. The fairways are all Zoysia grass but once you get 30 yards and in from the green they switch it to Bermuda even for the fairway cuts and it si very grainy this week. Makes for some interesting and difficult chipping around these greens.
Well if you caught me on the Pat Mayo show earlier today, we touched on the weather and at the time it looked as though we were going to have a worry free week with regard to the weather. While that hasn’t completely changed there is a bit of wind that is showing up for part of the time which could play a role in a draw bias this week. At the moment I am not saying there is one but the potential for one to develop as we get closer to lock is there if this little band of wind moves through a bit later than expected. Though I don’t think it is terribly likely at this point.
Right now it appears that we have some wind moving in for Wednesday and it is projected to spill over in to the Thursday AM wave of players potentially. The 7am forecast for Thursday is showing steady winds of 7 mph with gusts up into the 21 mph range during the 7am-9am hours before tapering off with the gusts but the average winds is projected to pick up to 10 mph for the remainder of the day while the gusts mellow out to 13-15 mph. This is really the only weather concern to speak of this week. At the moment I am not leaning to heavily to one wave or another and don’t think a bias develops but keep an eye on it.
Friday appears to be perfect weather with virtually no wind to speak of. Average winds of 2-5 mph throughout the day with gusts projected to not get above 5 mph. Like I said if the soft conditions hold, we could see some great scoring this week on a normally tough golf course.
Saturday the wind shifts to come from the South but much like Friday it won’t be much of a factor. Steady winds of 4-6 mph and gusts only projected to be 6-10 mph. Another perfect golfing day. Sunday is more of the same with only a bit on concern for some late afternoon gusts to move through. Even then they are only projected to be around 14 mph.
All in all, this looks to finally be a week of rest with regard to weather. At least let’s hope so since we are almost certain to deal with plenty of wind next week at the U.S. Open and the very exposed Erin Hills.
Stats from the Pro
As we do each week, we will take a look at what kind of stats the pros think are going to be important to succeeding around Muirfield Village this week. Remember that birdies or better % is not always factored here but should definitely be factored into your models each week. These are the stats that the pros will focus on this week in order to get to and stay at the top of the leaderboard, not necessarily for scoring DK points.
The correspondence from the guys out there this week has them looking at a few different things for success that we have touched on all week in our key stats for finding DK success.
The stats for the pros this week
- SG BS
- GIR +F
- Overweight Course History
The most important thing from the professional perspective this week is hitting the fairways. You simply cannot score on these small greens if you are coming out of the rough, even with it being shorter than normal. It is very much a placement golf course off the tee in order to get placement on the green. That is why the pros are looking at their SG both off the tee and approach this week more than anything else.
The greens in regulation plus fringe comes into play more so on this course than others for these guys due to several of the funky greens here and the small overall size of them. The pin placements are tight and many a good shot will miss the green slightly but stay on the fringe, still in scoring position and still a tight approach. Guys will be firing at pins on this softer course, especially the first few days and even if they technically miss a few greens it is a sign of good controlled irons and aggressive play that should lead to birdie opportunities this week.
If you read the First Cut this week, you know that the distances from 150-175 are key this week so we won’t belabor the point anymore, but suffice to say that pros are focused on that range too.
Lastly, is course history. This is a little more for our benefit that the pros but the pros also recognize that there are certain guys that tend to plays this course well year in and year out regardless of their form. A lot of that has to do with their ability to keep it in the fairway consistently.
As per usual the card is above and this week since we have so little elevation change, I went ahead and removed that category. For those concerned the most significant elevation change that comes into play this week it on the lengthy par 3 14th. It plays down 7 yards.
Moving on, the overall theme this week is find the fairway to find the green. I wish I had a more elegant explanation than that but it is very much the approach that one needs to take in order to succeed around TPC Southwind. That will be especially true this week with the course being softer, guys in the fairway will have a big advantage in their approach shots.
The prediction from on the course this week is that we will likely see a winning score lower than the average of 12. Likely a 15-16 under with the way the course is currently setup.
Be on the lookout for out podcast dropping tomorrow as well as the periscope on tonight with Scottimac11, one tomorrow with Jason and the premiere periscope tomorrow at 9pm.
Best of luck this week everyone!