Players 2022: Stunning stats show how ‘luck of the draw’ finally factored in at TPC Sawgrass | Golf News and Tour Information

PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Saturday’s windy conditions at TPC Sawgrass evoked comparisons to The Open Championship, comparisons that, to be frank, were somewhat lazy. The Open is a tournament that is played on the ground, the Players a contest played in the air. There is however a correlation that holds between these two championships, and it is the luck of the draw.

For all its beauty, the Open leader board – at least for the first two days – is grounded in the providence of the weather. One wave usually plays in relatively mild conditions, the other receives Mother Nature’s hammer. The dynamic makes competition a game of skill and a game of chance. As the second round for these time-ravaged players finally concluded on Sunday, it’s clear that the same dynamic is at play among the 2022 players.

The average score for those in the morning wave of Round 2 – that is, those who played almost their entire round in the wind on Saturday – was 75.34. Conversely, those in the afternoon wave who only played a handful of holes on Saturday and the majority of their rounds on Sunday (in cooler, calmer conditions) posted a collective average of 73 ,63.

A difference of 1.71 strokes between the waves might not seem dramatic, but a look at the leader board highlights the extent between the two waves. All of the top 10 players started in the afternoon wave of Round 2. The only morning players in the top 16 are Doug Ghim (four-under T-11) and Bubba Watson and Justin Thomas ( both three-penny T-16s). Watson and Thomas played their entire second round on Saturday, with Ghim putting the finishing touches on his Sunday start.

Digging into the numbers, the difference on the front wasn’t too big, the morning wave +.84 on the front nine versus +.67 by the afternoon team. The beast was found on its back. The morning wave was +2.50 on the back nine, the afternoon wave +0.96. The biggest disparity was found on the 18, which played a full stroke over par for the morning wave but just +0.5 over par for the afternoon wave. Other notables include 17 (+0.6 in the morning, +0.4 in the afternoon – the latter number receiving a bump thanks to Scott Piercy’s quadruple bogey in the final group) and 15 (+0 .5 against + 0.2).

It’s at this point that we have to reiterate what almost every player in the morning group said: there’s still a lot of golf to play. Still, with a crowded leaderboard near the top, it’s clear that most of the morning wave of Round 2 was squeezed out of the proceedings, their only hope of not suffering the same fate in the competition for the pitcher of burgundy this summer.

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