If you are a golfer over the age of six, you will have undoubtedly heard the phrase:
“Drive for show, putt for dough”
After research, I would like to propose we alter this advice and make it:
“Drive for show, putt for dough…and hit greens for wins”
What gives me the right to alter one of golf’s commandments? Nothing really. I am just the only one who puts the time in to research the statistics and note my conclusions.
My first argument for the change begins by looking at the top-10 players in the following statistical categories and the money they earned in 2013:
Greens In Regulation: $26.3 million
Driving Distance: $24.2 million
Strokes Gained Putting: $22.7 million
Driving Distance: $13.4 million
So whilst putting importance appears to > driving distance, greens in regulation would appear > than both putting and driving distance.
I didn’t think so, so I dived deeper.
I looked at all the 2013 PGA Tour events that used ShotLink data (PGA Tour’s leading statistic tracking technology).
Of the 40 events on the schedule, 34 of the events have published metrics including Driving Distance, Driving Accuracy, Greens In Regulation (GIR), Proximity To The Hole, Strokes Gained Putting and Putts Made Distances. The four majors, WGC Matchplay and Puerto Rico Open did not publish full statistics from their events.
Of the 34 events measured:
0 were won by players leading the field in Driving Distance
0 were won by players leading the field in Driving Accuracy
2 were won by players leading the field in Strokes Gained Putting
5 were won by players leading the field in Greens In Regulation
Looking deeper still, I wanted to see how ranking inside the top-10 in each statistical category, for an event, impacted your results.
74.3 % of winners ranked inside the top-10 in Greens In Regulation
61.8% of winners ranked inside the top-10 in Strokes Gained Putting
31.4% of winners ranked inside the top-10 in Driving Accuracy
17.1% of winners ranked inside the top-10 in Driving Distance
Ladies and gents, I rest my case: Greens In Regulation > Putting > Driving Distance/Accuracy.
In case you are wondering if this will remain true during the 2014 season, which began last week, it will. Jimmy Walker won his first PGA Tour event in 188 attempts at the Frys.com Open Sunday.
Walker ranked last in the field in driving accuracy.