Hot streaks pay off big on Tour

Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Honolulu — The advice has been passed along for decades on the PGA Tour, and Matt Kuchar believes it has merit. He just doesn't like it.

Call it the 80-20 equation.

"I remember coming out and guys telling me you're going to make 80 percent of your money in 20 percent of your starts," Kuchar said. "The idea was basically you're going to get hot a couple of times, and that's what you wait for. And it makes sense. You're going to get hot and then peter off a little bit."

Scott Stallings would be an extreme example. He won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines last year, and that was his only finish in the top 30. One week turned out to be 79 percent of his season earnings.

A more typical example: Fed­Ex Cup champion Billy Horschel.

Horschel had a hot streak in the spring of 2013 when he was runner-up in Houston, tied for third in San Antonio and won in New Orleans in a span of four starts.

He didn't really heat up again for another 18 months. Horschel had only two top-10s on the PGA Tour and missed seven cuts until he stepped into a phone booth and emerged as a guy who couldn't be beat. He threw away a chance to win in Boston, and then won the next two FedEx Cup playoff events.

His tally for the year was $4.8 million to finish at No. 7 on the money list, and that doesn't include the $10 million bonus for winning the FedEx Cup. A closer look at Horschel's season last year makes him a candidate for the 80-20 club.

He made roughly 80 percent of his season earnings in 19 percent of his starts.

So maybe there is some truth to it.

"You get hot, you make your money in five or six tournaments. You make 80 percent in 20 percent of your starts," J.B. Holmes said. "I've been hearing that for years."

Holmes won 82 percent of his money in 25 percent of his starts, including a victory in the Wells Fargo Championship.

Phoenix Open changes

The PGA Tour already has banned the caddie races on the infamous par-3 16th hole at the Phoenix Open. Next on the taboo list: tossing items to fans in the grandstands at golf's rowdiest hole.

A notice was posted in the locker room Tuesday at Waialae that said, "At this year's Waste Management Phoenix Open, for fan safety reasons, players and caddies are prohibited from throwing, kicking or otherwise propelling items into the crowd on the 16th hole."

Someone wrote on the top of the notice, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?"

In recent years, Rickie Fowler has tossed hats into the grandstand and Bubba Watson is becoming famous for the swag he throws into the bleachers. What first got the Tour's attention was Padraig Harrington kicking a football into the stands. That's now forbidden.

Stadler goes lefty

Kevin Stadler has been using a long putter for the last 16 years, and that will have to change next year with the new rule that outlaws an anchored stroke used for the long putters. He already has it figured out. Stadler is going lefty.

"Just going backward with a little short one," Stadler said.

He has been using a conventional left-handed putter, though not in competition, because it feels comfortable to him. For a right-handed player, going to the other side is similar to a cross-handed grip.

"I don't know how to grip a putter conventionally," Stadler said.

PGA Tour

Sony Open

Site : Honolulu.

Schedule : Thursday-Sunday.

Course : Waialae Country Club (7,044 yards, par 70).

Purse : $5.6 million. Winner's share: $1,008,000.

TV : Golf Channel (Thursday, 7-10:30 p.m., 11 p.m.-2:30 a.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., 3-6:30 p.m., 7-10:30 p.m., 11 p.m.-4 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., 3-6:30 p.m., 7-10:30 p.m., 11 p.m.-2:30 a.m.; Sunday, noon-3:30 p.m., 6-8 p.m., 9 p.m.-1 a.m.; Monday, 2-6 a.m.), and NBC (Sunday, 4-6 p.m.).

Defending champion : Jimmy Walker

European Tour

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

Site : Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Schedule : Thursday-Sunday.

Course : Abu Dhabi Golf Club (7,605 yards, par 72).

Purse : $2.7 million. Winner's share: $450,000.

TV : Golf Channel (Thursday, 12:30-8 a.m., noon-5:30 p.m.; Friday, 2:30-8 a.m., 1:30-3 p.m.; Saturday, 4-8 a.m., 1:30-3 p.m.; Sunday, 3:30-8 a.m., 10 a.m.-noon, 4-6 p.m.).

Defending champion : Pablo Larrazabal