From an AP story on Justin Leonard and David Toms at Scottsdale:
One explanation for the two's demise on Sunday is that the TPC of Scottsdale course is a true bomber's paradise. The fairways were hard and fast and the rough thin, both caused by 109 consecutive rainless days.
Remember that last comment.
Consider the last six golfers who have won this event: Phil Mickelson, Jonathan Kaye, Vijay Singh, Chris DiMarco and Mark Calcavecchia. All but DiMarco are ahead of Leonard and Toms in driving distance average and are plenty capable of bombing it well past 300 yards.
"I think [length] is a huge advantage," Leonard said. "You can carry the bunkers and the water and avoid the trouble."
Can carry the bunkers and water. Not roll it through the bunkers and around the water. Carry it. Hmmmm...
Toms was resigned to his lack of length, but is concerned that it is starting to overrun the game.
"Some guys have to work between the bunkers like me," Toms said. "Other guys can blow it over. That's just the way it is."
Just blow it over? Wait, what about the roll? The agronomy?
This year's event provided more evidence that long drivers rule in the desert.
The final threesome of the day averaged more than 300 yards off the tee.
Holmes was first in driving distance average at 319.7 yards. His longest drive was 365 yards on No. 13 in round two. Henry was averaging 303.9 yards and was ranked 12th. His longest drive was 353 yards on the ninth hole in the first round. Palmer was the short hitter of the group, only ranking 16th and averaging 301.5. His longest drive was a paltry 340 yards on the 13th hole in the final round.
Conversely, Leonard averaged 284.1 yards off the tee, 67th out of 72 players. Toms was 47th, averaging 290.8 yards.