CordeValle Golf Club
San Martin, California
CordeValle Golf Club
Yards: 7,379 as per the scorecard
Par: 71 (35-36)
Greens: Bentgrass with Poa annua; 8,300 square feet on average.
Rough: Perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass at 2”
Water Hazards: 2
Course Architects: Robert Trent Jones (1999); redesign 2010
Winner’s Share: $900,000 plus an invite to the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Defending Champion: Jonas Blixt outputted the field in winning for the first time on TOUR.
Dates: October 10-13
Notes: This is the beginning of the 2013-2014 season TOUR. The field will be cut to the top 70 at ties for the weekend in this stroke-play event.
Welcome to the new way of doing business on the PGA TOUR! Instead of the Fall Finish players start anew this week as they try to accumulate as many wins/points as they can en route to the 2014 FedExCup Playoffs 40-something events from now.
The beginning of the season will last six weeks before taking a hiatus from late November until the second week in January when the Sony Open welcomes everyone to 2014 with the first full-field event of the new CALENDAR year.
Enjoy this six week sprint to the holidays! Be sure to stretch as not to pull a fantasy muscle.
There were 40 tournaments last season. The USA won 31 of them but it was Sweden’s Henrik Stenson who went home with all the cash on the final weekend in Atlanta.
There were 12, first-time winners in 2013. Remember, that was LAST season but at least it’s a point of reference.
There were six players with multiple victories last season as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson. No monkey business in that group.
Past Champions in the field include:
Mike Weir (2007) at Grayhawk in Scottsdale
Cameron Beckman (2008) at Grayhawk in Scottsdale
Troy Matteson (2009) at Grayhawk in Scottsdale
*Horse-for-course players please use data for this event from 2010-2012 ONLY*
Rocco Mediate (2010)
Bryce Molder (2011)
Jonas Blixt (2012)
The last two winners of this event have been first-time winners.
No player has successfully defend their title here.
This is the last year for this event at CordeValle before it moves to Silverado in 2014. CordeValle will be the host of the Women’s U.S. Open in 2016. And now you know this.
Inside the Ropes
CordeValle Golf Club was ranked the 37th-easiest (of 49) on TOUR in 2012 and was 35th-easiest in 2011. I’d tell you it’s a private resort but that would take all the fun out of you dreaming that you could be out there, just like the pros, making birdies. The winning scores over the last three years have averaged 16-under-par and that means it’s going to take birdies to win this week. The rough is not going to be a huge factor because the greens measure over 8,000 square feet. With greens that large, TOUR pros will hit well more than they will miss so it will come down to a putting contest this week.
The CordeValle Golf Club meanders through the meadows and valleys of San Martin, Calif., but the elevation changes, based on past scores, shouldn’t present much of a problem for TOUR pros. Anytime they hear/read “resort course”, their eyes light up because they know they can get low. Bryce Molder made one bogey in his final 54 holes two years ago en route to victory; Jonas Blixt made five last year. The formula is simple this week: Avoid bogeys and rack up birdies!
Players who hit tons of greens will have plenty of chances for birdies because the Stimpmeter won’t be running fast enough to put them off. Premium putters, just like premium iron players, will also have plenty of chances to make the flat stick cash during the week. I’m looking for players who have been trending in the right direction recently as well as those who have fared here before. I’m not crazy about the Presidents Cup players this week but this is a nice come-down after a stop-start week in Columbus. I don’t like that they have to pick up and head to the west coast but we’ll see below who made the cut, if any of them!
Welcome to 2013-2014! If you have any ideas/suggestions/wants/etc. for the column this season, shoot me an email and I’ll try and include it. After all, you are the reason I’m writing this so to not listen to your suggestions would be quite stupid.
Billy Horschel: After his break-out 2013 it should be no surprise to see him on this list almost every time he tees it up in 2013-2014. He was eighth in the all-around category last year and racks up birdies for fun. In two previous trips around CordeValle, he’s found par-or-better in six of eight rounds including a 65 each year.
Gary Woodland: He found his footing last summer and his excellent run of play found him in the top 30 at the season’s end. His work with Butch Harmon has paid off as he racked up a win and a T2 in August which vaulted him into the conversation in Atlanta. He’s comfortable making birdies and he’s found the weekend in 10 straight.
Jimmy Walker: To think this time last year Walker was recovering from knee surgery and was on his way to a career-best $2.1 million in earnings. His 62 on Sunday here last year capped off 68-67-62 final 54 holes so I would suggest he likes it here. Walker makes plenty of birdies and destroys par fours. He was T11 at BMW in his last event of 2013.
John Peterson: In his last five events of 2013 on the Web.com Tour, he didn’t finish outside of the top five. Four of those events were the Web.com Playoffs. I’m going to stop typing now. Hot golf is hot golf regardless of where’s it played. He should be on your radar for 2013-2014 as he’s already hit a top 10 at the 2012 U.S. Open and T8 at Zurich last June.
Charles Howell III: He’s the turtle in the world of fantasy golf, nice and steady. He’s a cut-making machine and is a must-look in less-than-premium fields. His iron play and putting makes him a contender most weeks and this week shouldn’t be any different. Charley Three Sticks was 12-under heading into Sunday here last year before 1-over 72 derailed his chances at victory.
Hideki Matsuyama: I’m not crazy about the President’s Cuppers this week but Matsuyama has been and will be an exception to most rules as 2013-14 rolls on. The young Japanese lad blew away any expectations that gamers had last year with his performances in the majors and there should be no reason to see any regression this season. His worst start in 2013 on TOUR was T21. He was six of seven in the cuts-made department. Konnichiwa and get on board.
Bryce Molder: This is the site of his only TOUR victory here in 2011 and he backed it up last year with T11 so I’m confident he’ll be ready to go again in 2013. Giving up distance for accuracy off the tee, Molder has proven that you don’t need to be long to play this course well. His GIR number will improve this week with the large greens and his trusty putter will have in position come the weekend.
Jonas Blixt: The 2012 champion putted the lights out, similar to Molder in 2011, for his first victory on TOUR. Blixt backed this win with the 2013 Greenbrier title but had only one other top 10, the PGA Championship. His putter is too good and his memories of his first victory should put him at ease this week.
Patrick Reed: His wonderful run of summer form ran out when the FedExCup Playoffs began but he proved over two months that he belonged on the big-boy circuit for 2013-14. He hit one of the best shots of the season to defeat Jordan Spieth on the second hole of a playoff at the Wyndham Championship and he no longer has to worry about Monday qualifiers! Reed’s putter and short game are his strengths and his 63 here last year on Sunday shows that he can get low at CordeValle. He finished T11 in 2012 and was T75 (MDF) IN 2011 so he’s seen plenty of this course.
Ben Martin: In the last three seasons, Martin has found a trajectory that you might want to jump on NOW instead of later. In 2011, he was on TOUR and missed 13 of 25 weekends with only one top 10. In 2012, on the Web.com tour, he made only 10 of 24 weekends but racked up two top 10s, including a third. Last season on the Web.com he played 19 of 22 weekends, won TWICE, finished third TWICE, hit the top 10 four more times and had 13 total top 25s. I’m betting he’s ready to take his chance this time on TOUR. He was first in the all-around on the Web.com. No smoke. No mirrors. Giddy up.
S.Y. Noh: His work with Sean Foley started to pay off late in 2013 (golf season, that is) as he finished T7, MC, T7, MC and WIN in his last five starts. His T7 at Reno-Tahoe to start that run was his first top 10 of the season and his T7 and WIN came on the Web.com tour playoff series. After making 24 of 28 cuts with 13 top 25s in 2012, I would expect a big bounce-back year from Noh this season and his final results of last season suggest that’s on the way.