10 Notes to Know: April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020
Justin Ray
  1. This week, Tiger Woods would have been defending his Masters title, the 15th major victory of his career. There are 13 previous instances in which Woods teed it up at a major as defending champ (he was unable to play the 2008 PGA due to injury). He won four of those 13 tournaments and had an average finishing position of 10th.
  1. April 6 is the anniversary of Arnold Palmer’s first major championship victory, the 1958 Masters. Palmer would go on to become the first player to win The Masters four or more times in his career.
  1. Approach play is paramount at Augusta National: over the last five years, the player to lead The Masters field in strokes gained approach has finished first, first, second, third and first. That includes Woods, who led the field in that statistic in 2019 in his victory.
  1. At last year’s Masters, Francesco Molinari put together a stretch of 49 straight holes making par or better. It was the second-longest such streak in Tournament history – one behind the all-time mark set by Stuart Appleby in 2001 (50 straight holes).
  1. Brooks Koepka is a combined 70-under-par in major championships since the beginning of 2016. That is 45 shots better than his nearest competitor in that stretch, Jordan Spieth (-25).
  1. Speaking of Spieth, he has averaged the most strokes gained against the field per round (2.89) of any player in Tournament history with at least 20 rounds played. Spieth once led The Masters for seven consecutive rounds from 2015-16, also a Tournament record.
  1. The third round of the 2019 Masters was a birdie-fest: three different players shot 64 or lower (Tony Finau, Patrick Cantlay and Webb Simpson). It was the first time in Tournament history there were multiple rounds of 64 or lower in the same week – let alone three in one day!
  1. April 7 is the anniversary of Jack Nicklaus’ 1963 Masters victory, his first Green Jacket and second major championship title. Nicklaus, age 23, was the youngest Masters winner ever at the time, a mark he held for 17 years until it was broken by Seve Ballesteros in 1980. 17 years after that – in 1997 – Tiger broke Ballesteros’ mark.
  1. No player has ever made worse than a seven on any hole at Augusta National and gone on to win The Masters that week. Add to that – no champion has made multiple double-bogeys or worse in the week they won the Masters since Craig Stadler in 1982. The last twenty Masters champions have combined to make a grand total of three double-bogeys in the week they won the Green Jacket.
  1. Woods hit 80.6 percent of his greens in regulation in last year’s Masters victory. He was the first player to win The Masters while hitting 80% G.I.R. or more since… himself, in 2001.