As the TOUR Championship unfolds, the importance of a strong short game becomes evident at East Lake Golf Club. This par-70 course in Atlanta, Georgia, stretches over 7,300 yards and presents a formidable challenge for the top 30 players on TOUR.
While length off the tee is important, history has shown that the winners at East Lake often excel in their short game, particularly shots inside 50 yards both on and off the green. Even though players like Rory McIlroy are known for their driving prowess, McIlroy gained more strokes with his short game and putting than with his driver during the previous year's tournament.
East Lake's greens allow for successful putts from over 5 feet, and players who are skilled on Bermudagrass greens have an advantage. Russell Henley, who leads the field in strokes gained on East Lake greens, is a notable example in this regard.
Players have been utilizing a variety of shots around the greens, employing putters, hybrids, wedges, and different techniques depending on the conditions. Variety in scoring is created by these options, and the ability to select and execute the right short-game shot becomes crucial.
Brian Harman, who has excelled in the short game and benefits from his experience with Bermudagrass greens in Georgia, is another contender. However, it's not just about short game skills; strong ball-striking remains a necessity to contend on the challenging East Lake course.
Statistics show that over the past five years, winners at East Lake have gained an average of six strokes against the field in the Strokes Gained: Short game category, compared to a three-stroke average gain from Off-the-Tee and Approach the Green combined.
In a field of elite players, the difference between victory and defeat often comes down to the ability to make strategic and precise choices in the short game. As the tournament progresses, the focus on short game proficiency will likely play a significant role in determining the next FedExCup champion.
Source: Golfbet News