Why Conventional Wisdom Gets It Wrong about Putting – Part 2 – Putting’s Contribution to Victory

Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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This is Part 2 of my ongoing series surrounding Strokes Gained. The ideas in this tip put forth surround the Strokes Gained statistic, which uses PGA Tour ShotLink data across millions of shots to determine a player’s performance against the field in each category of play. Instead of trying to quantify your performance against fairways hit, greens in regulation and putts, which by the way isn’t at all an indicator of good or bad play, Strokes Gained quantifies fractional gains and totals them for Total Strokes Gained.  

Summarizing part 1, putting contributes to only 15% of a players total scoring advantage, while off the green shots contributed to the other 85%.  What about when a player wins? Is the overall contribution of putting significantly more or less?

How Important is Putting to Victory?
The numbers show that it’s possible to win with below-average putting, but victories on Tour almost NEVER happen with below-average ball striking.  In Part 1 we introduced “PCS” (Putting’s contribution to scoring) and in Part 2 we are introducing PCV or “Putting’s Contribution to Victory.

These stats were from 2004 through 2012, and is across at least 200 rounds of play. In the graph, you can begin to see the breakdown of PCV across all the victories on the PGA Tour between 2004 & 2012. On average, PCV is 35%, where off the green shots account for the remaining 65%. You can also see that there are quite a few victories where PCV is a very small % but also a very large %. 

This next image, the ranking chart is one of my favorite pieces of statistical knowledge. Every one of these players won a PGA event and are ranking by the PCV, which is the far-RIGHT column. There are 3 groupings. The first 8 are players who won BECAUSE of their putting. The middle 8 is an average representative of PCV and players won due to superior Off green strokes & better than average putting. The last 8 are players who won with poor putting. The two poles of this chart are Bill Haas, who won the 2011 Tour Championship with a PCV of 114% and Vijay Singh, who won the 2008 WGC-Bridgestone with a PCV of -37%. 

Moral of the story is that putting contributes to about 1/3 of a player’s advantage against the field when winning on the PGA Tour.

Stay tuned for Part 3 on Strokes Gained. 

Follow Scott on Instagram @scottsackettgolf.  Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher the past 14 years. Voted as one of Golf Digest’s Best Teacher in the State the past 21 years. Trackman Master Instructor. Titleist Certified Club Fitter. Director of Instruction at Park Meadows CC in Park City, Utah and while in Scottsdale, he teaches private lessons at McCormick Ranch Golf Club. The Scott Sackett Signature Schools take place at SunRidge Canyon Golf Club. Email: scott@scottsackett.com Site URL: https://www.scottsackett.com.