Weekend woes plague the likes of Spieth, Woods, Rose
It is difficult enough to make a cut on the PGA Tour. It is yet another to challenge to continue to play better on the weekend than you did Thursday and Friday. The reason is fundamental, of course: In theory, hole locations get tougher, as do conditions, and then there’s the pressure factor.
Young Jordan Spieth is learning this fact of PGA Tour life. He has played 72 holes 11 times this PGA Tour season, and that’s testament enough to his talent. In his first three tournaments in which he made the cut (the AT&T Pebble Beach, Puerto Rico Open and Tampa Bay Classic), Spieth shot lower in his 36 weekend holes than he did Thursday and Friday. But he has been higher on the weekend in each of his last eight full tournaments.
The net result for Spieth this season is that he is 44 strokes higher in Rounds 3 and 4 than he is for Rounds 1 and 2.
On the surface, it often translates into lost chances to improve one’s standing if you shoot higher on Saturday and Sunday than you did on Thursday and Friday. But let the record show, Spieth is hardly alone. Tiger Woods, for instance, has played 72 holes eight times this PGA Tour season and he’s 33 strokes higher on his weekend rounds than he is on Thursday and Friday. Justin Rose, another who is having a splendid season, is 31 strokes higher for his weekend rounds in the eight PGA Tour events in which he has played all 72. Keegan Bradley is 34 strokes higher for the 11 72-hole tournaments he has played.
No surprise, given his remarkable consistency, but Matt Kuchar offers an intriguing look. Thirteen times he has played all 72 holes and in eight of those tournaments Kuchar has scored as well, or lower, on the weekend than he did Thursday and Friday. For the season, Kuchar is 30 strokes higher on the weekend, but the bulk of that came in two tournaments: he was 10 higher on the weekend at the Northern Trust (147-137) and 14 higher at The Players Championship (151-137).
Padraig Harrington actually was one of the few who was lower on his weekend rounds than his first two – at least until he shot 152 on the weekend of the Travelers (after having required just 132 Thursday and Friday). For his eight 72-hole tournaments, Harrington is now 18 strokes higher on the weekend.
Rickie Fowler has been effective on weekends (only 12 strokes higher for the 11 72-hole tournaments in which he has played), but Gary Woodland sits at the other end of the spectrum. He has played 72 holes 12 times and is 52 strokes higher on the weekend than Thursday and Friday.