One of the golf categories areas I plan to regularly discuss on DailyGolfFix will be PGA tour statistics. Over the years we have seen the volume of PGA tour statistical data grow exponentially. With the advent of Shotlink, a player can now analyze every aspect of their game when looking for areas to improve. We will also discuss the “Strokes Gained” statistic developed by Mark Broadie in his book “Every Shot Counts.” It is interesting how thoughts on importance on certain statistics have been questioned since shotlink and strokes gained data have become available. It is also interesting how many top PGA tour players now employ a “stats” person to help them analyze where to focus their practice to maximize their improvement.
Today we will look at the top level “Stroke Average” statistic. This is an adjusted average based on the difficulty of the course. For example, if a player shoots a 65 on a course where most players shoot under 70, that score will be adjusted upwards compared to a course where most players shoot over par. This is quite similar to the course rating and slope rating you see for your home course.
Through the British Open, Jordan Spieth is leading the Stroke Average statistic with an adjusted scoring average of 69.080. His average is about 0.9 strokes better than the number16 player Charles Howell III at 69.930. This becomes 3.6 strokes better over a 4 day tournament. If you look at the number 100 Scott Brown at 71.016, that is almost an 8 stroke per tournament difference.
So on one hand, we see 16 players with a stroke average in the 60s which is very impressive and shows the deep competition on the PGA tour. On the other hand, if the number 100 golfer is averaging 8 strokes higher over a four day tournament, that is a huge handicap to overcome.