Weekly blog – USPGA Tour stats analysis part one – Driving.

Hello all,

I hope that you are all fit and well. Here in sunny Kent we get by through gardening, dog walking and interactive quizzes. Did you know that the country with the longest coastline in the world is Canada? Of course you did. I am missing golf and other sports a lot. Watching re runs is no substitute.

This week we will start to dig in to the player stats for the main USPGA Tour. The tour is a fair bit different from the European Tour in that it is suited to home grown golfers who have come through the U.S. collegiate systems. They would have played competitively on the main tour courses as part of their scholarship events. Whereas in Europe there is more variety in regard to course design and the younger up and comers do not get to play on the championship courses anywhere near as much as they do in the U.S..

So, what better place to start than on the tee? Let’s pull out our drivers (the chief, the big dog) from our bags and see what we can find out. In the current season to date we will consider golfers who have played at least twenty tournament rounds on the tour. The top five golfers re average distance achieved off the tee in yards are (U.S. unless stated):

  1. Brandon De Chambeau                                                                  321.3
  2. Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland                                               320.2
  3. Cameron Champ                                                                              319.8
  4. Bubba Watson                                                                                  318.6
  5. Sergio Garcia of Spain                                                                    316.6

Now we will look at driving accuracy statistics. The top five golfers by percentage of tee shots hit on to the fairway to date this season are:

1. Ryan Armour                                                                                     80.38

2. Brendan Todd                                                                                    72.34

3. Brian Stuard                                                                                       72.33

4. Chez Reavie                                                                                         70.91

5. Kyle Stanley                                                                                         69.31

So no correlation between the two categories at the top but well done Ryan Armour for such consistency. Now we will look at our top five driving distance golfers to see where they rank in regard to accuracy off the tee?

Brandon De Chambeau                                                                           122nd

Rory McIlroy                                                                                             180th

Cameron Champ                                                                                       159th

Bubba Watson                                                                                           178th

Sergio Garcia                                                                                             105th

No one in the top one hundred! The guys are driving long but inaccurately. What would you prefer? Accuracy likely? If these guys are not hitting it straight then where is the ball going?

If we look at Bryson de Chambeau’s (BDC) drives, he missed the fairway 39.51% off the tee. The stats tell us that he finds the left rough 12.74% of the time off the tee. He ends up in the right rough 18.28% of the time. And he finds a hazard, mostly bunkers, 8.49% of the time. As BDC is a right hander, he slices more than he hooks. Maybe he needs to reduce his distance off the tee to be more accurate?

Rory McIlroy is a stellar talent. However his driving accuracy is very poor this season. He misses the fairway 44.51% of the time. He misses on the left 19.70% of the time and on the right 15.27% of the time. And he finds a hazard 9.54% with his tee shots. He does spray his drives around and hooks more than he slices. he finds hazards almost 10% of the time which may mean he hits too long on certain holes? For a player of his class these figures are very surprising and must be stopping him winning tournaments.

And now for Cameron Champ. distance good, accuracy bad. Cameron has won on tour previously but more has been expected of him than he has shown recently. He sits in a lowly 159th place for drive accuracy this season, missing the fairway 42.24% of the time. he does miss into the left rough 19.70% of the time. He misses to the right 15.27% of the time and he finds a hazard 7.27% of the time. So tending to hook more off the tee and not straight enough.

Bubba Watson is a lefty. He only finds the fairway 56.49% of the time off the tee and he is 178th for driving accuracy this season. He missed the fairway 43.51% of the time off the tee. His split is left rough 20.62% of the time and on the right 13.06%. He ends up in a hazard 9.83% of the time, which is high. As Bubba is left handed and likes to fade the ball, to end up in the left rough he must be not fading it back onto the fairway? This is what the percentages may tell us.

Finally Sergio Garcia of Spain, a veteran of the tour and a Spanish legend, second only to Seve in that regard. Sergio misses the fairway 38.04% off the tee, which is the best of these guys. Sergio can boil over on occasions when he misses a shot and can break clubs etc. This can continue onto the next tee as well. He misses on the left 16.36% of tee shots and on the right 17.27%. He finds a hazard on only 4.41% of his tee shots, which is pretty good for an inaccurate driver. So an even split re his inaccuracy off the tee.

To be fair to golfers, fairways do have cambers and undulations and dodgy bounces off divots not properly replaced. So some drives may not finish clean due to this. This type of stat is not measured and so we do not know what impact such an occurrence may have.

How do these guys driving stats impact their overall tournament performance? We will look at that next week. We will also take a look at those golfers who were top in accuracy for driving and see how they are doing.

Until next week stay safe.

Regards Martin