The LPGA Tour finally has advanced stat-tracking and these two numbers will blow your mind
The LPGA Tour has lagged behind other pro golf tours and other sports in general regarding refined statistical tracking and analysis of its players, until now. This summer, the tour announced the introduction of KPMG Performance Insights. Since June, 240,000 shots have been tracked on the LPGA Tour.
With more data comes the opportunity to better understand and analyze the women’s game. Now, instead of just basic stats like fairways hit and total putts, the tour has data more in line with the PGA Tour, including strokes-gained statistics that measure player performances relative to the rest of the field. Strokes gained/putting was first implemented on the PGA Tour in 2011. So, it’s been a long time coming for the LPGA Tour. Though the new data isn’t accessible to the public yet, Justin Ray, KPMG Performance Insights contributor, shared some impressive stats earlier this week from what’s been gathered to date. Two nuggets in particular were so provocative we had to single them out:
Nelly Korda's approach game
Nelly Korda has had a impressive season in 2021: She’s won three times, including her first major, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She is ranked No. 1 in the world and won gold at the Olympics in Tokyo. While those are all markers of a good season, there’s one stat from the KMPG Performance Insights that demonstrates the dominance Korda is capable of. In the second round of the KPMG Women’s PGA, Korda shot a nine-under 63. Her strokes gained/overall stat was 9.75, with her strokes gained/approach numbers alone for the round coming in at an incredible 7.78 strokes. Nearly every other hole, she picked up a shot on the field with her approach shots. Ray says that’s the best strokes gained/approach number by any LPGA player since tracking began.
Since tracking began in June, Korda leads the tour in strokes gained/overall at 3.73, which is .79 better than any other player.
Inbee Park's putting
If you’ve watched any women’s golf, you know Inbee Park is a great putter. It’s one thing to say someone makes everything, but it’s another to be able to back that assumption up with real data. When it comes to 10-15 foot putts, Park is pretty darn close to making everything. On the LPGA Tour, Ray says players make putts in that range 28 percent of the time. He compares that to the PGA Tour, where the number is similar at 30 percent. Park is not similar. She’s making putts that length 64 percent of the time. Ray puts it into context: That percentage is better than the PGA Tour’s average from 5-10 feet.
So, if you’ve watched an LPGA Tour event and felt like Park was making everything, the data says you weren’t exactly wrong.