Crunching the Numbers

You won’t believe this stat from the first PGA Tour round played on a Tiger Woods-designed course

November 02, 2023

Chris Gotterup hits his tee shot on the fifth hole at El Cardonal at Diamante during Thursday's first round of the World Wide Technology Championship.

Hector Vivas

It was a common refrain among the pros who paraded through the interview area Thursday after wrapping up their opening rounds at the World Wide Technology Championship. Asked their impressions of the El Cardonal course at Diamante, hosting the tournament for the first time, and the responses almost inevitable include the following words: second-shot course.

“I think the fact that the fairways are generous kind of

emphasizes the second shots,” said Cameron Young, who shot a seven-under 65 in his first round on the PGA Tour since August’s BMW Championship. “The greens are very dramatic, so you have to pick your spots and pick your landing areas really well. So that's fun for me. I feel like you get to shape shots and use slopes around the greens. And the fact that it's not super tight is kind of nice, just especially having not played in a while.”

Tiger Woods, the 15-time major winner who built the course with this TGR Design, acknowledged that was the intent. He was more than willing to give players space to maneuver off the tee while asking them to be in certain areas in order then to hit their approach shots into the right spots on the greens to be able to score.

Judging from the numbers on the leader board, scoring wasn’t any issue at Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas. While 10 players failed to finish their rounds before sunset, the scoring average at day’s end was 69.516 on the par-72 layout, with Cameron Percy leading the way with a 10-under 62. Only 21 of the 132 players in the field shot rounds over par.

However, those weren’t the most eye-opening numbers posted on the day. Rather it was the wide fairways that produced one of the craziest stats we’ve seen in some time.

Players on the day hit 1,841 tee shots on par 4s and par 5s. Of those drives, 1,658 found the short grass, for an astonishing 90.06 fairways-hit percentage from all 132 players. Thirty-two of them went a perfect 14-for-14 in greens hit.

As a way to put that number into context, consider that the best an entire field did at hitting fairways for any given tournament during the 2022-23 PGA Tour season was 74.94 percent at the Masters in April, followed by 74.58 percent at the Sea Island’s Plantation course during the RSM Classic. Congaree Golf Club (73.42 at the CJ Cup), Monterey Peninsula CC (72.82 at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am) and Corales Golf Club (72.17 at the Corales Puntacana Championship).

And the fewest fairways hit of any PGA Tour event this season? That would be at Oak Hill Country Club during the PGA Championship last May, when the field hit just 45.04 percent of fairways.