The Local Knowlege

News & Tours

You probably didn't notice: Matt Every's fitting middle name and Jeff Maggert's predictable Champions Tour debut

By Alex Myers

Matt Every won the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Adam Scott lost it. Those are the two main things people will remember about this past weekend in golf, but we have a few other observations:

-- Matt Every's middle name is King. On Sunday, he made The King's tournament the site of his first PGA Tour win. How's that for a coincidence?


-- More on Every, the win gives him five top 10s in 11 events this season. He only trails Harris English, who has six in 13 events. Every already has more top 10s than he did in 2013 and is one off his career-best of six in 2012.

Related: Matt Every's talent finally catches up with his cockiness

-- Adam Scott's final-round 76 at Bay Hill was his worst score since a 76 in the final round of last year's AT&T National.

-- Lucas Glover led the field at Bay Hill in proximity to the hole (29'-2") and finished T-14. It's the best result in nearly a year from the 2009 U.S. Open champ, who hadn't made the cut in 18 of his past 24 PGA Tour events.

-- It wasn't all bad for Bubba Watson, who shot a Thursday 83 and withdrew due to allergies. Watson didn't have a three-putt -- even on the sixth hole where he made an 11 -- extending his PGA Tour-best streak to 255 holes without a three-jack.

-- On the LPGA, Jessica Korda finished two shots behind Karrie Webb at the Founders Cup. Her undoing? A quadruple-bogey 8 on the seventh hole.

Related: Lose an NCAA Tournament game, win a round of golf with Charles Barkley?

-- Speaking of Webb, her final-round 63 erased a six-shot deficit. She won the same tournament in 2011 facing the same deficit going into the final round and she came from five back to win the Australian Open last month.

-- And finally, the Champions Tour remains the only place in sports where being a rookie gives you a distinct advantage. Jeff Maggert, who turned 50 last month, is already taking advantage of his relative young age. He became the 17th player to win his debut on the senior circuit. Ahh, youth.

... Read
News & Tours

Which over-hyped Florida three-hole stretch is scarier, The Bear Trap or The Snake Pit?

By Alex Myers

If you've been watching the PGA Tour's Florida Swing, you probably know "The Bear Trap" and "The Snake Pit" are three-hole stretches at the end of PGA National (Champions Course) and Innisbrook (Copperhead Course), respectively. Both sound terrifying, but which should strike more fear into the hearts of golfers? Let's examine:

Related: PGA Tour courses by the numbers

We'll start with The Bear Trap, holes No. 15-17 at PGA National, which hosts the Honda Classic. For the week, those three holes played a combined .404 over par on average. The par-3 17th was the most difficult (+.171), but it only ranked No. 4 at PGA National. Nos. 6, 10 and 11 were the three toughest, adding up to +.824, or more than twice the difficulty of The Bear Trap. Those holes aren't grouped together and don't have a catchy name, though, so you don't hear them talked about nearly as much.


On to Innisbrook's Copperhead Course, which hosts the Valspar Championship and dubs its finishing three holes, The Snake Pit. The three averaged to play .564 over par. The par-4 16th is by far the toughest of the three and played as the course's toughest hole at +.309. No. 17 (11) and No. 18 (7) are difficult, but don't have water to cause really big numbers. 

Scores for the two frightening trios are a good indication of how their two courses played overall, with Innisbrook's +1.433 giving players more problems than PGA National's +.408. So, The Snake Pit is definitely scarier, right? Well, it might not be as one-sided as it looks.

Overall, the numbers seem to prove that's true, but what about during the final round when the pressure really cranks up? The Snake Pit actually played to +.481 on Sunday, easier than it did for the week. By contrast, The Bear Trap, with its potential watery graves lurking at every turn, played more than twice as difficult on Sunday, at nearly a full stroke over par (+.985). And despite only being the sixth-toughest course on tour this season, PGA National produced the most scores of double bogey or worse, including one on No. 16 that sunk Rory McIlroy.

Related: Tour pros' favorite 10 courses on the PGA Tour

Of course, we haven't even talked about Trump National Doral's new "Blue Monster." It doesn't have a hyped three-hole stretch, but it played as the PGA Tour's toughest track thus far this season. 

Add it all up and the 2014 Florida Swing on the PGA Tour has been particularly difficult. In fact, this is the first time (not counting major championships and opposite-field events) that single digits under par has won three straight tour events since 1990. 

... Read
News & Tours

You probably didn't notice: Derek Ernst's awful week at Kapalua

By Alex Myers

When Derek Ernst won the Wells Fargo Championship last year, it was a true underdog story. Not only was he ranked 1,207th in the world, but he needed three players to withdraw -- probably due to Quail Hollow's problems with its greens at the time -- just to make it into the field as the fourth alternate.

Related: 11 PGA Tour sleepers to watch out for in 2014


Yet Ernst, 22 and in just his ninth PGA Tour start, held off players like Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy in regulation before topping European Tour veteran David Lynn in a playoff. Fresh off a sterling collegiate career at UNLV, Ernst vaulted to 123rd in the world rankings and seemed on the fast track to a successful PGA Tour career. Not so fast.

Eight months later at Kapalua, Ernst continued a trend of mediocre play, finishing nine shots behind anyone else in the field and posting the worst score of the day in each of the first three rounds. 

Sadly for Ernst, his 30th-place finish (out of 30) at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and $61,000 payday are the best he's done since his magical win last May. By far.

Excluding that improbable victory and his performance at Kapalua, Ernst hasn't finished in the top 40 once in 24 PGA Tour starts. That's 0 for 24 with 16 missed cuts. And he hasn't made more than $20,000 other than a check for $47,250 he made at the Bridgestone Invitational, another limited-field event without a cut.

The Grind: Zach Johnson is a bad, bad man

In 2013, Ernst only ranked 122nd in greens in regulation and 138th in strokes gained putting. That deadly combination placed him 176th (out of 180) in scoring average. How did he win then? Did he just get really, really lucky? The more you examine the numbers, the more Ernst's win stands out as a statistical outlier. 

On a positive note, Ernst's unlikely tour title earned him a spot in this year's Masters and it gave him some job security since it came with a two-year exemption. Also good? Ernst is still only 23, meaning there's plenty of time to prove his win was just an upset and not a total fluke.

... Read
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe today