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17 strange-but-true golf stats from the 2018 season (so far)

February 13, 2018
CareerBuilder Challenge - Final Round

Robert Laberge

Statistics are wonderful, beautiful things. Well, most of the time. Sometimes, they're pretty confusing, especially this time of year.

At this point in the season, some of the busiest players have only played nine tournaments, while the more choosy have barely teed it up more than once. All it takes is a cursory glance at the PGA Tour's stat page to notice that things aren't quite right. You see it a lot in the early part of the baseball season (fun fact alert! Willie Mays started his career 1-for-26), the sample sizes are so small that the early records are distorted by wild averages and strange outliers. Things just haven't had time to shake out.

So take all these stats with a giant grain of salt: Most—if not all—of these stats will regress towards the mean sooner rather than later, and many of them at this point are mostly useless. But they're also quite fun to peruse. After all, you might never again see a time where Jordan Spieth ranks among the worst putters on the PGA Tour.

So, without further adieu...

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Gregory Shamus

1. Brooks Koepka’s shot 78 three times this season

It’s savaged his early-season scoring average, which is 204th on tour.

2. He’s also 167th in Driving Distance

That's 23 yards shorter than last year, when he finished seventh on tour.

3. Rickie Fowler ranks 12th in Birdie Average (66) and third in Bogey Average (22)

Make some pars already!

4. Tiger Woods has gained just 2.86 World Ranking points so far this season but has jumped 649 spots, from 1,199th to 550th

Don't call it a comeback, baby.

5. Brian Harman has finished in the top 10 in 71.4 percent of his starts this season

Five top-10s in seven starts. Machine.


Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

6. Rory McIlroy has missed 100 percent of his PGA Tour cuts so far this season (0-for-1)

Conversely, I've missed zero percent of my PGA Tour cuts this season. Take that, Rors.

7. Padraig Harrington leads the PGA Tour in final-round scoring average. He’s missed two of three cuts, but shot 66 in the only final round he made it to this season


8. Chez Reavie hasn’t shot over par in a tournament since October 2017

That’s 20 straight rounds, 17 of them have been in the 60s. Pretty big sample size, to be fair. Not really a weird stat, just amazing how well he's playing.

9. Jason Kokrak is a combined -62 so far this season, and a combined -60 on the par 5s

Par 4s and 3s are overrated, anyway.

10. Jon Rahm is fourth in first-round scoring, T-13 in the second round, T-25 in the third, and T-147th in final-round scoring, averaging 72.33 strokes

Rahm coming into Sunday like...


11. Jordan Spieth is up to 193rd in strokes gained/putting (-.720) from 195th the week before

Buy the dip, people. Buy the dip.

12. Seamus Power already had 17 consecutive sand saves this season, one more than Rory’s record 16 last year

Not sure what's more amazing: This stat or Seamus Power's name.

13. Dustin Johnson’s 430-yard drive on the 12th hole at the Sentry Tournament of Champions is the JOINT longest drive of the season

Hudson Swafford cranked one 430 on the seventh hole a day earlier. Late to the party, DJ.

14. Rory McIlroy is averaging a five putt every three rounds so far this PGA Tour season

He's only played three rounds, but still.



15. Justin Rose has won 64 percent of tournament money he's competed for this season

Finished first and T-8th in his two official starts. Last year, Dustin led the tour at just over 28 percent.

16. Wesley Bryan's average carry distance off the tee so far this season is just 246.3 yards

Slight caveat: Bryan's not carrying a driver in his bag at the moment.

17. Adam Scott has made just one more birdie this season (38) than he has bogeys (37)

In a related note, Scott is no longer in the world top 50 for the first time since 2010.