More than a few myths and misunderstandings have recently crept into the golf conversation, especially Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson. Let’s use Strokes Gained data to shed light on some of the “facts” I’ve been hearing.
Jordan Spieth isn’t “great” in any one facet of golf.
I hear a familiar refrain regarding the reigning Masters and U.S. Open champion: Sure, he’s a well-rounded player, but he isn’t great in any area. Indeed, through mid-July, Spieth’s performance in traditional categories wouldn’t make a stat lover’s jaw drop. He was 76th in driving distance, 85th in driving accuracy, 49th in greens in regulation, and 40th in total putting. Statistically, that’s average—but it’s utterly misleading.
Why? Because traditional stats are flawed. Strokes Gained reveals a much clearer snapshot of Spieth’s performance this year. Entering the British Open, he ranked first in overall Strokes Gained (gaining 2.6 strokes per round on the field), 12th in driving (0.6 strokes per round), seventh in approach shots (0.8 strokes), sixth in the short game (0.6 strokes), and seventh in putting (0.6 strokes). Spieth is outstanding in every key area. That sounds “great” to me.
Dustin Johnson is an elite putter.
Midway through 2015, Dustin Johnson was second in putts per green in regulation and 13th in putts per round, suggesting that he’s among the Tour’s best on the greens. But those two categories can be misleading because neither accounts for the initial putt distance. Johnson takes fewer putts because (in large part due to his incredible driving) his putts start closer than average to the hole, not because he’s a good putter. Strokes Gained accounts for the initial putt distance and give a very different result: D.J. ranked 125th in putting. Watch him, and you may be convinced that Strokes Gained is a more accurate measure of pure putting skill.
Source: GOLF Mark Broadie
Thanks for watching – Fact or Fiction – Spieth isn’t “great” in any one facet of golf.
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