British Open 2019: The stat that has been a key indicator of recent Open success (and no, it's not driving distance)
The British Open presents a different challenge than faced on a regular basis on the PGA Tour. Instead of playing the game primarily through the air, links golf requires not only many shots along the ground, but the ability to imagine shots around the green, as the inevitable unpredictable bounces can leave the ball in some unusual places. Perhaps that’s why there is one constant in the winners of the last six Open Championships: Each has had a good week scrambling, with none of the six champions ranking lower than seventh in that stat for the week. With that in mind we take a look at the top five in the Open field in the scrambling stat and the highest-lofted wedge they use.
Scrambling percentage: 67.33
Wedge: Titleist Vokey SM7, 61 degrees
Cantlay has his wedges set up in a four-degree gap configuration with a 53- and 57-degree, meaning his highest-lofted wedge checks in at 61 degrees instead of the conventional 60 degrees. The club has a relatively wide sole with a strip of lead tape in the middle of the back, lining up with the hitting area, presumably to add additional feel at impact.
Scrambling percentage: 67.07
Wedge: Titleist Vokey prototype, 60 degrees
Webb Simpson’s Titleist Vokey prototype 60-degree wedge features 8 degrees of bounce and Vokey’s K grind, which has enhanced camber that makes it an excellent club from the sand as well as around the greens. Simpson’s wedge has “Step by Step” stamped on the back, which is ironic considering that Simpson avoided a penalty earlier this year for stepping on a ball thanks to the new rules changes.
Scrambling percentage: 67.01
Wedge: Titleist Vokey SM5, 60 degrees
Glover is an equipment free agent and has a trio of Titleist Vokey wedges in the bag. Although his two lower-lofted wedges are the SM7 model, he uses the older SM5 in his 60-degree. The club has the company’s M grind, which is one of Bob Vokey’s original grinds aimed at players with steeper attack angles. Glover’s wedge boasts a raw finish with some rust already showing and has 8 degrees of bounce. The shaft is Nippon’s N.S. Pro Modus 3.
Scrambling percentage: 65.00
Wedge: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 PM Grind, 60 degrees
Kuchar hasn’t used his Callaway Mack Daddy 4 PM Grind 60-degree wedge all year, but it has been in his bag as of late, meaning it will likely stay there for the British Open at Royal Portrush. The high-toe design features grooves that stretch across the entire face, and from a spin standpoint, the design incorporates Callaway’s wide grooves and unique raised ridges between the grooves to provide some 80 contact points with the ball for better grab. Also improving the potential for spin on flop shots is the fact that the ridges in between the grooves are canted at a 20-degree angle to match how the face is open and cutting across the ball when hitting these shots.
Scrambling percentage: 64.91
Wedge: Titleist Vokey TVD 60 degrees
The TVD is one of the more popular wedge grinds on the PGA Tour. Fleetwood’s wedge has plenty of camber for use out of the sand and features a narrower sole with less bounce that works well with the tight, firm turf one will find most weeks on the PGA Tour, as well as the tight green surrounds at the Open Championship.