British Open 2018: Can this stat predict success at Carnoustie?
As the game’s best return to Carnoustie Golf Links to compete for the Open Championship, a quick statistical analysis might be one of the best indicators of who has the best chance to capture the claret jug this week.
A quick look at PGA Tour stats reveal that Padraig Harrington, who won the Open in 2007 at Carnoustie, led the field in scrambling that week, and that didn’t even include his epic up-and-down for double bogey at the 72nd hole—after he found the burn twice. So, with a tip of the cap to Harrington and his short-game skills at Carnoustie, we take a look at the players in the top five in scrambling on the PGA Tour and the wedges they use.
1 . Louis Oosthuizen
Scrambling percentage: 67.98 percent
Louis Oosthuizen knows how valuable scrambling can be at the Open Championship, having ranked fifth in that stat during his win in 2010 at the Old Course at St. Andrews. Oosthuizen currently uses Ping’s Glide 2.0 Stealth with the standard sole in his 50- and 56-degree wedges along with the company’s new Glide Forged model for his 60-degree.
2 . Jason Day
Scrambling percentage: 66.00 percent
Save for a T-4 in 2015, Jason Day’s Open Championship record isn’t much to go on (nothing else better than T-22). However, Day’s work around the greens this year gives reason for optimism. Day has TaylorMade’s Milled Grind wedges in the bag for his lower lofts (50, 54 degrees) and put in the company’s new Milled Grind Hi-Toe wedge for his 60-degree. Each has a True Temper’s Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue shaft.
3 . Webb Simpson
Scrambling percentage: 65.77 percent
Looking for a second major title to go along with his 2012 U.S. Open win at Olympic, Webb Simpson is armed with a pair of wedges that are decidedly different. Simpson uses a fairly thin-soled Titleist Vokey SM7 F grind with 14 degrees of bounce in his 54-degree wedge, and a wide-soled Vokey 60-degree prototype with a K grind and 6 degrees of bounce. The contrasting styles provide plenty of flexibility around the green depending on lie and turf conditions.
4 . Kevin Na
Scrambling percentage: 65.50 percent
Like fellow 2018 PGA Tour winner Webb Simpson, Kevin Na has the identical wedge setup—a thin-soled Titleist Vokey SM7 F grind with 14 degrees of bounce in the 54-degree, and a wide-soled Vokey 60-degree prototype with a K grind and 6 degrees of bounce in his 60-degree.
T-5 . Henrik Stenson
Scrambling percentage: 65.19 percent
A perennial favorite in the Open Championship (and with good reason as he has four top-three finishes in 13 starts, including a win in 2016 when the event was last in Scotland), Henrik Stenson has finished in the top seven in scrambling in three of those four top-three finishes. The one in which he didn’t, he lost to Phil Mickelson—who led the field in scrambling that year. Stenson will come to Carnoustie with Callaway’s Mack Daddy Forged wedges in the bag, and though players sometimes switch lofts or grinds, Stenson has been using a 52- and 60-degree with Nippon’s N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 120X shafts.
T-5 . Rickie Fowler
Scrambling percentage: 65.19 percent
Tied with Stenson for the fifth spot is Rickie Fowler, who uses Cobra’s King wedges in 52, 56 and 60 degrees. It’s the latter wedge, however, that is notable, as the V-grind wedge needed a bit of extra attention to get it to his liking. Since Fowler plays wedges that are one-half inch shorter than standard, he needed some additional weight added. Cobra techs did that via a bead weld that is clearly visible on the back of the club. The process is delicate due to the high heat and it might not look the cleanest, but it definitely has an old-school cool factor to it.