Title: In golf's answer to Moneyball, a new breed of numbers-crunchers are changing the game
Description: When Brandt Snedeker showed up to play the 2012 British Open, having missed the cut in all three of his previous Open starts, his record suggested he had little cause for optimism. His stats, however, said otherwise. In the weeks leading up to Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Snedeker had powwowed with a little-known golf whisperer named Mark Horton, an English numbers wiz he met through Ian Poulter. Horton crunched the data and hatched a plan. "He was like, 'Let me break it down for you,' " Snedeker recalls. " 'You don't drive it particularly straight, but you drive it okay. You don't hit a bunch of greens, but you hit it okay. But you putt really freakin' good -- you're one of the best I've ever seen. So you know what you need to do this week?' " Snedeker said he didn't know. "Just hit the damn green!" Horton said. Simplistic counsel? Perhaps. But it masked a subtler thought. Snedeker was not one of golf's heroic hitters, like, say, Rory Mcllroy or Dustin Johnson, capable of launching a towering 4-iron 230 yards to a tucked back-left pin. His success depended on restraint. "Seems obvious," Snedeker says. "But that was the first time that somebody said to me, 'What are you doing? Don't worry about hitting it to three feet. Hit it to the middle of the green and go on to the next hole.' " The insight amounted to a eureka moment. Changing his game without changing his swing, Snedeker tied Nick Faldo's 36-hole Open scoring record and went on to finish third. Later that season, he banked $11.4 million when he won the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup. Once the 35th-ranked player in the world, Snedeker soared to No. 4, a statistical surge driven partly by ... statistics.