Mexico Open at Vidanta

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The Loop

Statistically Speaking

November 23, 2009

With the 2009 PGA Tour season in the books, a glance at the final statistics can be pretty revealing. Here are some conclusions from looking at the numbers:

1. Distance isn't everything: Go ahead and guess who had the longest driving distance on the PGA Tour this year. I'll give you 50 tries and I bet you still won't get the guy. Don't waste your time, 100 guesses wouldn't have done the trick either. The answer? Robert Garrigus at 312 yards a pop. Unfortunately for Garrigus, length didn't translate into enough money to earn his tour card for 2010 as he finished 127th on the money list.

Meanwhile, the most accurate hitters were some of the most successful. Tim Clark, David Toms, Brian Gay, Heath Slocum and Zach Johnson won't ever be categorized as big hitters, but all made plenty of cash this season in large part to being ranked in the top 10 of driving accuracy.

2. Luke Donald knows his way out of a bunker: When it comes to saving shots from the sand, no one does it better than the Englishman's 64.3% clip. I guess that recent instruction feature in the December issue of Golf Digest was justified.

3. The (not so) curious case of Greg Owen: The Englishman had some impressive stats so why did he only wind up 109th on the money list? Owen finished eighth in total driving and sixth in greens in regulation, two stats that are usually great indicators of success on Tour. Bet you can guess, though, where he struggled. Not surprisingly, being ranked 175th in putts per round proved rather costly.

4. Winning without winning: Jim Furyk hasn't won a PGA Tour event since the 2007 Canadian Open, but that hasn't kept him from ringing the cash register. Furyk put together an unspectacular, but solid 2009 campaign and was rewarded by finishing seventh on the money list with nearly $4 million in earnings -- more than Lee Trevino made throughout his entire PGA Tour career.

5. Tiger Woods is still good: The six wins in what some called a down year for the World No. 1 were enough to back this up, but his other numbers hammered in the point. A 68.05 scoring average, despite only playing in the hardest events on some of the most challenging courses, led the rest of the pack by a wide margin. He also led the Tour in birdies per round, while being third in sand saves, seventh in eagles and improving to T-86 in driving accuracy (down from No. 152 in 2007, his last full season). Most telling, however, was the all-round ranking in which his 158 was exactly half of second-ranked Zach Johnson. Okay, so maybe the $10.5 million earned in just 17 events was the most telling.

-- Alex Myers