News & ToursJuly 24, 2019

A friendly reminder that Stableford scoring returns this week. Here's how it works.

Barracuda Championship - Final Round
Christian Petersen(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Note: This story was originally published in 2015.

The best players are in Memphis this week for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. But the tour's alternate event, the Barracuda Championship (formerly the Reno-Tahoe Open) still warrants watching, if only for one reason:

Stableford scoring.

The unorthodox accounting system used to be a fixture on the PGA Tour, famously utilized at the International at Castle Pines. Invented by Dr. Frank Stableford around 1900, the purpose of this revolutionary scoring was to give incentive to frustrated golfers who struggled on opening holes.

To do this, Stableford rewards low numbers while minimizing the damage of mistakes. In short, birdies are good, but bogeys don't break you.

When the International went away in 2007, so did Stableford's utilization on tour until 2012, when the Reno-Tahoe Open revitalized the format.

For a quick refresher, instead of strokes, scoring is maintained by points, with the leader boards often resembling a Big 12 football score (Andrew Putnam won the event last year with 47 points).

Here is how the modified Stableford scoring system breaks down:

Double Eagle - 8 points
Eagle - 5 points
Birdie - 2 points
Par - 0
Bogey - minus-1
Double or worse - minus-3

What makes this format enthralling on the professional circuit is it enables players to take the foot off the break, encourages a "go for broke" mentality. Basically, what you and your buds try to do at the local muni ... only these guys actually make it work.

The Barracuda Championship returns to Montreux G.&C.C. in Reno, boasting a field featuring Martin Kaymer, Collin Morikawa, and Bill Haas.


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