Crazy stat shows Rickie Fowler's latest win was even uglier than you thought
By now, you've probably heard several stats depicting Rickie Fowler's ugly Waste Management Phoenix win. Most notably, his 74 was the highest final-round score by a winner in the event's history. He shot nine shots higher than his previous worse score of the week at TPC Scottsdale (Yes, tougher conditions played a role) and posted the sixth-worst score of the day. And despite securing his fifth PGA Tour title while closing out his first 36-hole lead in nine tries, Fowler has still never broken par as a 54-hole leader.
But one stat shows Sunday's victory was even uglier than you thought.
According to Golf Channel's stat guru Justin Ray, Fowler had the worst ball-striking performance of any winner in the strokes gained era, which goes back to 2004. And it's not particularly close. After gaining 11.263 shots on the field from tee-to-green over the first three rounds (an average of 3.754 per day), Fowler lost nearly six shots in that area on Sunday alone.
Fortunately for Fowler, a hot putter bailed him out in the final round, including when he drained a 17-footer to save the most bizarre triple bogey you'll ever see on the 11th hole. Overall on Sunday, Fowler gained 3.319 strokes on the greens to help offset his tee-to-green woes.
But Fowler stepped up in that category with two fantastic shots down the stretch. On No. 15, he found the green of the par 5 in two from 252 yards, and he drove the green on the par-4 17th with a laser from 319 yards. Both shots set up two-putt birdies, which provided his margin of victory over Branden Grace—and kept that strokes gained stat from being even worse.