This weeks blog – European Tour player metrics continued.

Hello there,

yet another week of battling against the Covid 19 virus. Most of the jobs in and around the house have now been done and we await things to grow in the garden again so that we can give them yet another trim. I see that they are now looking to stage The Masters in November this year. The weather and course conditions will be certainly different in November than in April. I did miss not having The Masters this past weekend. I have been watching re runs of the past three running’s of the tournament to see what further knowledge I could gain. I have also been tweeting about it and you can follow that @golfbetsgold on Twitter. The USPGA Tour is also planning to recommence tournaments in June, initially behind close doors. Hopefully this will happen. No news from the European Tour but they have cancelled tournaments going into July so far.

Last week we looked at golfers on the European Tour that had good putting metrics so far in 2020. We then moved on to look at the figures for ‘Stroke Average’ and the separate metrics that go towards  calculating it. We considered the metrics of ‘Birdies’, ‘Eagles’ and ‘Bogeys’ on the tour to see what it told us. We discovered that Tommy Fleetwood was in the top five for both Birdies made and Bogeys avoided. We also found out that Thomas Pieters was top of the Birdies metric table and that Branden Grace was top man at Bogey avoidance.

We will start this week by looking at these three golfers overall performance metrics and start with Tommy Fleetwood. Tommy is ranked tenth in the world rankings at present. He is 29 years old and has been a professional golfer since 2010. He was crowned European Tour number one in 2017 and was the winner of the Race to Dubai at season end. That year Tommy also finished fourth in the U.S. Open. He has won five times on the European Tour from two hundred and twenty starts. In 2020 Tommy has played in three tournaments on the European Tour. His best finish was in Abu Dhabi where he finished as the runner up. He also had top twenty finishes in Dubai and WGC Mexico.

Looking at Tommy’s 2020 performance metrics he is in the top twenty for sand saves/chipping and greens in regulation . He is in the top fifty for putts per greens in regulation and average putts per round. His one weakness has been his driving. His accuracy has been poor and even more surprising, his distance achieved figures are weak. Tommy is four yards behind the tour average. If we look back to previous years driving was one of his strengths and so something has been amiss this year off the tee and needs to be worked upon in this current break from play. Obviously accuracy is more important than distance, as you need to be on the fairway most of the time to keep your score low. As Tommy now competes at the top end of the game on both sides of the Atlantic and is looking to challenge in the Majors, his driving performance needs work.

Now we will take a look at Thomas Pieters. The Belgian turned pro in 2013 and is currently 73rd in the world rankings. The twenty eight year old played in the European Ryder Cup team in 2018 and was their best ever rookie in scoring, taking four points from a possible five. Thomas has four European Tour wins from one hundred and forty eight tournaments played. In 2020 Thomas has played in five tournaments on tour. His best finish was a tied third in Saudi Arabia and he has had three other top fifty finishes, his only poor effort being in Oman. When we look at his current year stats we see an inconsistent picture. His driving length is top twenty at 325 yards against a tour average of 308 yards. However his driving accuracy metric is very poor. So he is hitting the ball long off the tee but not onto the fairways it seems. His greens in regulation figure is good and so he is still managing to find the green with his approach shots. But when he does miss the green he struggles. Thomas’s sand saves/chipping figures are terrible. When he does get on to the green he struggles further and his average putts per round figure is very poor. However his stroke average figure is good?

The Birdies are to an extent negated by Bogeys? Well yes, as he is ninety sixth in Bogeys avoided at 2.91 per round. So wayward driving, but able to make the green mostly. Not so good around the green and taking too many putts but still making Birdies. A mixed bag and not good enough to contend for further tournament wins at present.

Now we will take a look at Branden Grace. The thirty year old turned pro in 2007. He is ranked seventy fourth in the world. Branden made major championship history in 2017 by shooting a third round sixty two at the Open Championship to break the record for lowest round in a major. Branden has a stellar nine tour wins from two hundred tour appearances. He has played in four tournaments in 2020, winning the South African Open. He has two other top twenty finishes and was forty second at WGC Mexico. So a good start to the current season.

Apart from being top bogey avoider. Branden is tenth overall in regard to stroke average. His putting metrics are good, both putts in regulation and putts per round are top twenty. His greens in regulation figures are good, thirty second overall. His sand saves/chipping is average. yet another golfer who putts well, who can find the green in regulation mostly but does struggle a bit off the tee. Despite some faults Branden was going well in 2020 until it all ground to a halt. What is strange about his driving is that he was fourth for distance gained off the tee in the previous year, yet he has now dropped to one hundred and forty seventh in 2020. He has actually gained two and a half yards off the tee this year, but the average has increased by thirteen yards overall. His accuracy has never been good when we look back, but it seems to be getting worse. What a player he may be if he can correct this?

Getting back to stroke average, we can now look at the other three metrics that form part of the overall figure. ‘Par 3 Scoring’, ‘Par 4 Scoring’ and ‘Par 5 Scoring’. if more than one golfer has the same metric score in a category, the one who has played most holes is rated higher.

Par 3 Scoring top five in 2020 to date:

        1. Nino Bertasio of Italy                  2.85
        2. Martin Kaymer of Germany       2.92
        3. Jordan Smith of England            2.92
        4. Andy Sullivan of England           2.92
        5. Justin Harding of South Africa 2.95

Also, placed joint seventh are three players that we have already highlighted in Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen and Chris Paisley. So whether it be putting or bogey avoidance, it pays off on par threes.

On ‘Par 4’ scoring our top five for 2020 are:

        1. Victor Perez of France                       3.90
        2. Tommy Fleetwood of England        3.90
        3. Abraham Ancer of Mexico                3.91
        4. Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa   3.93
        5. Branden Grace of South Africa        3.94

So again we pick up on golfers that we have previously highlighted.

Finally ‘ Par 5’ scoring by average scores:

        1. Benjamin Hebert of France              4.48
        2. Thiomas Pieters of Belgium             4.49
        3. Gavin Green of Malaysia                   4.50
        4. Zander Lombard of South Africa     4.52
        5. Thomas Detry of Belgium                 4.52

Pieters is highlighted for par fives. If you remember, he was the current ‘Birdie’ king and they are more likely on par fives than fours and threes.

So, using European Tour metrics we have highlighted key aspects of the professional golfers game. We have also identified that there are very few golfers who can string together all facets of the game at any one time and that do not have a significant weakness. Those who play well enough from tee to green can and do struggle on and around the green. The reverse is also be the case and we have highlighted examples of both.

Next week we will move on to the USPGA Tour and use their stats databases to see what we can discover about the golfers who play on that tour.

Do not forget to let me know your thoughts on all things professional golf by emailing me at [email protected] or on Twitter @golfbetsgold.

Until next week keep fit and healthy.