7 PGA Tour Stats That Are Vastly Overrated
November 10, 2013
Myth: To win on the PGA Tour, you have to hit fairways.Fact: No winner in 2013 led the field in driving accuracy the week they won. There is some value in keeping it in the fairway in tougher tournaments -- Justin Rose finished second in the field in accuracy en route to his U.S. Open victory, while Henrik Stenson was among the best in the field during his second- and third-place finishes at the British Open and PGA. But more important than keeping it in the fairway is just keeping it out of the deep rough.
Myth: To win a PGA Tour event, you have to putt better than everyone else in the field.Fact: Technically, you only need to putt better than half the field. Of the 33 PGA Tour winners in 2013, all 33 gained strokes on the field putting the week they won. So, remember: if you're just putting better then average, you have a chance.
Myth: Playing the par 3s and 4s well is key.Fact: Only 12 players combined played either the par 3s or 4s under par in 2013. Everybody, however, played the par 5s under par. Playing those well is essential -- so essential that seven of the top 10 on the 2013 money list ranked among the best players in making birdie or better on par 5s.
Myth: If you shoot 59, you'll almost definitely win.Fact: Only three of the six players who have shot 59 in a PGA Tour went on to win the tournament (and two of those were because they shot 59 on Sunday), but all finished in the top 3. The lesson? If history tells us anything, it's that breaking 60 by itself isn't enough to win, but it basically guarantees that you'll place.
Myth: If you want to do well on tour, avoid three-putting.Fact: Among those finishing in the top 10 on the 2013 money list, only three, Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott and Brandt Snedeker, ranked in the top 50 in three-putt avoidance. Interestingly, six of the seven who didn't make that list all ranked in the top 10 in birdie-to-bogey ratio (and the seventh, Zach Johnson, wasn't far behind). It shows that you can afford the occasional three-putt if you make enough birdies.
Myth: The best players play well on the weekend.Fact: Of the players who finished in the top 10 of the 2013 money list, seven ranked in the top 10 in first round scoring average, and six in round two, compared to just two and one in rounds three and four, respectively. Translation: the best players don't rely on running the tables at the last moment -- they put themselves in a good position before the pressure gets tight.
Myth: In majors, hitting greens is key.Fact: In majors, hitting greens and scrambling is key. In 2013, two of the three major winners led the field in GIRs, and a third, Rose, finished T-7. Scrambling-wise, Adam Scott finished 3rd in the Masters field, while Dufner and Mickelson each led the field in their respective victories. So, if you want to win a major, avoid making mistakes and minimize them when you do. Sounds easy, right?