of the questions I keep receiving with regards to my course management metric
research is ‘how do I avoid ‘blowup’ holes?’
I think it helps to
understand what holes are likely to be a blowup hole, why they may be a blowup
hole and what situations are conducive to creating a blowup hole.
holes are likely to be a blowup hole?
For players across the
board, usually the blowup hole will occur on a difficult driving hole.
Particularly when the tee shot does not fit the golfer’s miss. For example, at
last year’s FSGA Mid-Am at Old Marsh Golf Club, I was doing fine in the first
round until I hit the 17th hole, a fairly tight par-5 where there was almost no
room to the right and the wind was blowing to the right. At the time, that
really didn’t fit my ballstriking because my miss was typically to the right and
if I aim left to avoid it, I tend to over-do it and hit a dead-yank left.
And that’s what happened, a dead-yank hits a tree and actually kept the
ball in play on a small cart path meant for the grounds crew. I wound up going
from +1 after 7 holes to taking a 9 and being +5 after my 8th hole.
stated in my analysis of the WSJ Article on metrics and golf, as the scores get
higher in a round of golf, improvements off the tee will make the largest
improvements in that score. So, if a Tour pro shoots 82 on a course, he most
likely had a bad day with the driver and had some bad holes due to the driver
causing him issues. The penalty for bad shots with the driver is generally much
more severe than bad shots with any other club.
The other holes where
‘blowups’ tend to occur are on Danger Zone approach shots. Particularly if
there’s a hazard or O.B nearby. I would typically believe this happens on
par-3’s more than par-4’s because usually the par-4’s are designed with the idea
that they are very long (say, 450+ yards) and the purpose of the design is to
force the golfer to hit two shots a long ways more than having to be very
accurate with those shots. Furthermore, courses often design their par-3’s as
their ‘signature hole’ which is usually surrounded by water and if the hole is a
very long par-3, so be it.
I think the point here is that it’s good to
identify these blowup holes early on and focus your attention to playing these
holes well. If you’re playing a tournament, your practice round should probably
have you hitting a bunch of balls and different shots on this hole to figure out
the way you can most comfortably play the hole well. And when you’re on the
range, you should envision hitting shots on those possible blowup holes before
you go out and pla.
Why is a blowup
hole a blowup hole?
A blowup hole for one golfer may not be a
problem for another golfer. For instance, #3 at Olde Atlanta is a 200-210 yard
par-3 with not a lot of room if you miss the green. If you’re more than 15 yards
short of the green, you go into a small canyon that is a hazard. If you miss
more than 5 yards left, you’re likely in some bushes that are there to protect
the golfers on the 4th tee. There’s very little room right or long.
me, it’s a 4-iron. For one of my friends, he hits it so long that it’s a mere
7-iron for him. Now, he’s not the most precise ballstriker I ever came across,
but hitting a 7-iron is not a problem for him. And if I am a little offline with
a 4-iron on that hole, it can be a disaster.
As we make it to the 4th
hole, This hole is relatively easy for me. I can hit a driver right down the
middle and have about 80-110 yards into the green. However, my friend struggles
with it because he hits the ball so long that it requires him to hit a shot from
right-to-left and he’s a left-to-right player. He could take less club, but it
is one of those situations where less club will have the ball landing in an area
surrounded by fairway bunkers. This creates an overload of worry for him and he
often takes a poor swing on that hole and plays it poorly.
the 3rd hole is a potential blowup hole for me because of the pure level of
difficulty of the shot. And the 4th hole is a potential blowup hole for him
because the tee shot does not ‘fit his eye.’
It’s often easy to gloss
over the shot that does not fit your eye and assume that because the hole is not
difficult for most people that you’ll eventually ‘get it’ and play the hole
well. But in my mind, the hole that does not fit your eye is one of the holes
you should focus your efforts on the most.
What situations are
conducive to create a blowup hole?
Just because a hole ‘fits your
eye’ or is not considered overly difficult, that does not mean you will not have
a ‘blowup’ hole because of it.
Obviously, we already discussed those
holes with difficult and troubling tee shots are holes that usually are the
‘blowup holes.’ But what about the times you blowup on a hole when you don’t hit
your tee shot O.B. or in a hazard?
One of the big ones I’ve found is when
you are in the Danger Zone and in particular, with an impeded shot.
are ‘impeded shots?’
- Fairway bunker
- Trees that you have to hit around, under or over
- Lie in a
- Difficult lies in general that impede your progress towards the
If you’re in the ‘Danger Zone’ and your shot is impeded, your odds of
having a ‘blowup hole’ have increased dramatically. What’s really tricky is
let’s say you’re in the deep rough with a clear shot at the green, but 200 yards
Your brain will tell you to hit the shot and that it’s no big
deal. But what may wind up happening, even to a Tour player, is that disaster
happens at impact because of the club design and the tall grass. Then the face
is hooded at impact and you hit the shot so far dead left that it gets into even
worse trouble. Then what came off as a shot at hitting the green and making par
has now turned into a situation where you’ll be lucky to take a bogey. I am not
saying to not hit that shot, but it’s important to realize the possible dangers
of that shot and making sure that it doesn’t happen.
It’s very important
to understand that unless you have the magic of a Phil Mickelson or Bubba
Watson, often times you can bit off way more than you can chew.
currently the PGA Tour average proximity to the cup on Danger Zone shots from
the *rough* is about 57 feet. For those same shots from the fairway or teebox,
it’s about 38 feet. A difference of nearly 20 feet.
So in the end, if you
can spot the holes that are potential blowup holes, figure out why they are a
blowup hole and understand the situations which could potentially be a blowup
hole, you are now putting yourself in a position to avoid those big blowups that
kill a round.
originate more than 100 yards from the hole have twice the impact on score of
shots from inside 100 yards—including putting. Long-game results account for
about two-thirds of the variability in scores among golfers on the PGA Tour (the
short game is
glad to see that Mr. Broadie is coming out with a book in 2013. Broadie created
the metric ‘putts gained’ and has far more credentials when it comes to
statistics than I do. I plan on learning quite a bit from the
However, I think where Mr. Broadie may be at a disadvantage is his
golfing experience. I do not believe Mr. Broadie has a lot of experience as a
golfer, nor playing at a high level nor playing at the levels between a beginner
to a +2 handicap. I think that lack of experience will wind up raising some
questions about the applicability of his research.
We’ll have to see what
the book says, but I have issue with merely breaking down the game of golf into
shots from 100+ yards and less than 100 yards. In golf, the shots are really
broken down into much more categories than that.
1) Driving off the tee
on par-4’s and par-5’s 2) Fairway wood/hybrid approach shots 3) Long
irons/hybrid approach shots 4) Mid iron approach shots 5) Short iron
approach shots 6) Long wedge shots 7) Less than full swing wedge
shots 8) Shots from 0-40 yards around the green. 9) Putting
issue I take with the ‘long game sets up the short game’ and ‘shots from 100+
yards are twice as important as shots from less than 100 yards’ is that in the
end, it really doesn’t tell the golfer that much.
It may wind up getting
a golfer to focus their efforts towards 100+ yard shots versus chipping,
pitching and putting. Although I don’t think that’s the best way to go.
Furthermore, all shots from 100+ yards are ‘not alike.’ Let’s say we
measured two golfers from 100+ yard shots. I would rather have the golfer who
- Average on Tour off the tee - Top-10 from 175+ yards - 125th
from 100-175 yards
Than the golfer who is:
- Above average off the
tee (let’s say 75th in Advanced Total Driving) - 125th from 175+ yards -
Top-10 from 100-175 yards away.
Provided everything else being equal, I
believe the first golfer will wind up with a better ‘adjusted scoring average’
and likely have more victories. Particularly on the PGA Tour where the best on
Tour only hit it to about 15 feet to the cup on shots from the fairway at
100-125 yards and the worst are still within 30 feet, which is still enough to
come away with a par and a possible birdie.
Conversely, the best on Tour
from 200-225 yards from the fairway are hitting it to about 34 feet and the
worst are hitting it to around 53 feet. And at 53 feet, you’re most likely off
the green with a more difficult up-and-in. Furthermore, the average Tour player
hits about the same amount of shots from the fairway from those distances. The
only thing that changes are:
- Variance in proximity to cup on those
shots - The typical reward for a ‘good’ shot from those distances - The
typical penalty for a ‘poor’ shot from those distances.
As I mentioned in
my 2011 Pro Golf Synopsis, at a most basic level, the different comes from the
fact that the reality is that the ‘best’ a golfer can do on those approach shots
is to make a birdie (-1). But, there is no limit in how poorly they can play the
hole. They can take a bogey (+1), double bogey (+2), triple bogey (+3), etc.
That’s why all shots from that range are not created equal.
Furthermore, most golfers on Tour do not hit every type of shot longer
than 100+ yards well. The same goes for shots under 100 yards.
Snedeker is a pretty good example: Take a look at his rankings in certain areas
And we’ll use my
metric ‘Advanced Total Driving’ where he currently ranks 81st.
actually quite typical of Tour players. One the few can stay in the top-1/2 from
these 3 distances and with the driver. And that’s reserved for players like Kyle
Stanley and Jason Dufner, who already have 3 wins between them.
to see why more golfers don’t excel at all facets of ballstriking. If they did,
they would be one of the top players on Tour. For a lack of better term, it’s
just ‘plain hard’ to do.
That’s why I created the different
Birdie Zone (75-125 yards) Safe Zone (125-175 yards) Danger
Zone (175-225 yards)
Along with creating a metric to determine what
statistics most strongly correlate with being the most effective driver of the
I think it gives a more accurate depiction of the golfer’s
‘game’ and helps us better understand on what the key factors of the game of
golf are and thus be able to better determine where golfers ‘lost’ or ‘gained’
their shots. As far as the Tour goes, here’s what I have in order of
1. Danger Zone Play 2. Putts Gained 3. Advanced Total
Driving 4. Short Game Play (0-20 yards) 5. Safe Zone Play 6. Birdie
Zone Play 7. 225-275 yard shots 8. Clubhead Speed
From there, the
Tour players, caddies and coaches I work with can better prioritize what to
focus their efforts on. There’s a real dropoff in importance from #2 to #3 and
then another big dropoff from #5 to #6.
you do see that putting is quite important once things are broken down more. The
problem with the ‘Less than 100 yard shots are less important’ argument is that
it lumps in putting with shots from 21-99 yards, which are largely unimportant.
As I stated in 2011 Pro Golf Synopsis, the ‘Adjusted Short Game Play’
only takes into account shots from 0-20 yards from the edge of the green. Why?
Because shots from 21-40 yards from the edge of the green show no statistical
correlation to Adjusted Scoring Average. My guess is that from that distance,
those are usually on such poor approach shots that being able to stick it close
is more or less potluck. And typically you do not see any player from 21-40
yards do consistently well from year-to-year. Unlike from 0-20 yards where some
players like Brian Gay, Briny Baird and Chris Riley are consistently among the
Tour’s best. Thos shows that those shots are more about skill and proficiency
because these players are not just getting lucky from that distance each
Lastly, I think it’s incorrect to assume that what is good for the
Tour pro will automatically translate into being good for the amateur.
Particularly if you want to do it with any detail.
From my research, my
current conclusions are that as golfers get closer to a scratch handicap,
Putting and Danger Zone play become increasingly important for them to take the
leap into reducing their handicap and playing better in competitive situations.
Surely, improving off the tee could help, but to make that major jump the golfer
that is closer to scratch should focus more on Putting, Danger Zone play and
shots from 0-20 yards around the green. Of course, there is always the chance
that a golfer may be close to scratch while being excellent with the putter and
Danger Play, but awful with the driver. But on average, I do not believe that
will be the case.
In fact, I believe the better golfer…even the Tour
player…who shoots the occasionally poor round of golf will almost likely have
done so thru poor driving over poor Danger Zone play or poor
This is significant because it gives an indicator as to what
happens when golfers shoot higher scores…the penalty for a terrible shot off the
tee is generally far greater than the penalty for a poor putt or poor approach
Hit one poor off the tee, you can go O.B., into a hazard, into a
fairway bunker, deep into the woods where you have to punch out or perhaps incur
a lost-ball penalty. You won’t get those penalties on the greens. And your
chances of getting those type of severe penalties in the Danger Zone are far
So, it really doesn’t matter if you’re a Tour pro who has a
terrible day and shoots 85 on a course or a 15 handicapper who has a good day
and shoots 85 on the course; in all likelihood a big part of those 85 strokes
came off the tee shots for both golfers.
In the end, the further away the
golfer is from a scratch handicap, the more they need to improve their tee shot
play in order to make a significant dent into that handicap. Things like Short
Game play, Putting and Danger Zone play are still very important (even though
the distance range for the Danger Zone will alter if the golfer plays on a
course shorter than 6,700 yards). It’s just as the handicap is higher, they need
to improve more off the tee from a distance, accuracy and consistency standpoint
to legitimately cut off a lot of strokes off their
As a teenager,
my dream was to one day win the US Open. While most golfers grow up wanting to
win the Masters, to me the US Open was the real deal. Not only is it our
country’s championship, but I just felt that if you could win the US Open, you
were the ‘baddest golfer on the planet.’
I started to formulate this
back in 1992, when I saw Dr. Gil Morgan dominate a field at Pebble Beach, only
to lose the lead immediately after a few offline shots. It’s not that I think
every tournament should be a US Open style. In reality, once a year is probably
good enough. But if you can win the US Open, you have some incredibly thick skin
to deal with the ups and downs of that style of setup.
This was also the
tournament where I became a major fan of Payne Stewart. No, not the ’99 win at
Pinehurst. Instead, the 2nd place finish in ’98 at…The Olympic Club.
the back nine in the last round Stewart found the fairway, but wound up in a
divot. While it was a cruel fate, he still had a make green in regulation. I
remember the NBC announcers were embarrassing to listen to, acting like Stewart
should get a free lift from the spot. The fact of the matter was that Stewart
hit a poor shot that wound up in the greenside bunker because it was a poor
shot, not because it was a bad lie.
Afterward, the NBC announce team
tried to convey the point that Stewart was ‘robbed’, but Payne put that nonsense
to rest and quickly stated ‘I did not play well enough to win this tournament’,
and left it at that. And as true champions do, he came back to win the US Open
the following year at Pinehurst.
While I was glad that Rory won the US
Open last year, after a crushing blown lead at the Masters 2 months before, I
despised the way the course was setup. Another gaffe by the USGA. You know it’s
pretty bad when you see far thicker rough at the Wegman’s LPGA Championship this
past weekend than what we saw at Congressional for the US Open last year. My
guess is that the US Open will be ‘back’ at Olympic Club this
Here’s a look at ’15 golfers I like’ at the US
MATT KUCHAR 28/1
a particularly long hitter (t-113th) and may be still coming off the ‘hangover’
from the win at the Player’s Championship.
Strengths: Very strong
ballstriker, ranking 16th from the Safe Zone and 14th from the Danger Zone.
Hasn’t putted as well as he has in the past, but it still 9th in 3-putt
avoidance in a tournament where you have to do what you can to avoid
WEBB SIMPSON 66/1
Driving Accuracy has really hurt his 2012 season, as he’s currently 125th in
fairway percentage and 112th in Distance to Edge of the Fairway. His driver has
been shaky all season long.
Strengths: He would be having another
great season if he could get his driving fixed. He’s 17th from the Safe Zone,
12th from the Danger Zone and 39th in 3-putt avoidance.
VAN PELT 50/1
Weaknesses: He’s currently ranked 179th
in Short Game play, so when he misses a green he puts himself in tough position
to get up and in. He’s also been inconsistent and had some struggles on opening
rounds, sometimes taking himself out of contention
Strengths: How good is this? 15th in Advanced Total
Driving, 18th from the Birdie Zone, 7th from the Safe Zone and 4th from the
Danger Zone. He has never been a good putter. He currently ranks 74th in Putts
Gained, but that’s a massive dip from just a month ago where he ranked 1st.
TIGER WOODS 7/1
Weaknesses: He’s had
issues with 1 part of his game hamstringing him in tournaments. I think he is
also still learning his swing with relation to some of the mishaps that can
happen and that slows his ability to correct them in the tournament. I also
think he tends to press too much when some of his shots do not go his way. Plus,
he’s Tiger. Whatever he shoots will be plastered and questioned
Strengths: I think his current game will be geared
more to win the US Open than the Masters because his accuracy and precision has
improved by multifold and he’s now one of the premier, if not THE premier,
‘long, but not a bomber’ who hits it with extreme accuracy and precision. And
he’s recently improved his Birdie Zone ranking, now ranking 63rd in the
category. It’s really a question if he can put it all
JOHN SENDEN 125/1
the greatest putter in the world (142nd in Putts Gained), but not the worst
either (60th in 3-putt avoidance). Birdie Zone gives him trouble (147th) as well
as his short game play (167th).
Strengths: Get him outside of 125
yards and he may be the best in the world. 19th in Advanced Total Driving, 46th
from the Safe Zone and 25th from the Danger Zone. He also had the lead midway
thru the 3rd round of last year’s PGA at Atlanta
Weaknesses: Putting. Currently ranked 116th in Putts
Gained and was ranked 150th just a month ago in the category. Very much a roller
Strengths: He’s been on fire lately and despite
his putting woes, he does a decent job at avoiding 3-putts (87th). Has struck
the ball extremely well, which includes ranking 15th in Advanced Total Driving
and 41st from the Danger Zone. He also has that first victory under his belt,
which should make him feel a little more comfortable going into the Olympic
JUSTIN ROSE 28/1
Putting and wedges. 123rd in Putts Gained and 121st in 3-putt avoidance. 131st
from the Birdie Zone. Has not logged in a lot of rounds
Strengths: Strikes the ball extremely well from the
longer distances. He’s 22nd in Adv. Total Driving, 21st from the Safe Zone and
6th from the Birdie Zone. He’s also 10th in Short Game play.
HUNTER MAHAN 40/1
Inconsistent with his long approaches. Ranks 93rd from the Danger Zone and has
usually been all over the place in this zone, some weeks doing really well,
other weeks playing poorly from that distance. He’s also poor around the green,
ranking 141st in Short Game play. So the long distance approach shots may cause
him some real problems. Putter has also cooled off as of
Strengths: Great driver (9th) and a real good Safe Zone
player (24th). Typically, the Safe Zone is where the most approach shots come
from. So, if he can continually get it inside the Safe Zone on the 7,170 yard
Olympic Course, he could be difficult to beat. And while his Putts Gained
ranking is rather average, he is 34th in 3-putt
Weaknesses: May not have the mentality for it.
After the Masters he claimed that he would never win a major and didn’t seem too
convincing in an interview yesterday. Still has the attitude that he is the only
one that gets bad breaks and that good putts do not fall for him. Not as good of
a driver as many think, currently ranking 86th in Advanced Total
Strengths: His real standout metric is his 3-putt
avoidance. Despite his complaints about his putting, he’s 3rd in 3-putt
Avoidance. He’s also great from the Birdie Zone (11th) and very good from the
Danger Zone (54th)
Weaknesses: Might be at that stage in his life
where he’s looking to comfortably keep his Tour Card, but doesn’t have enough
gas in the tank to really contend in a Major. Putting is much better (69th in
putts gained), but may still be shaky under the highest competitive level of
Strengths: Solid, all-around game. 51st in Adv. Total
Driving, 71st in Short Game play, 77th in the Safe Zone and 61st from the Danger
JASON DUFNER 28/1
Weaknesses: Suspect putter,
ranking 95th in Putts Gained and 141st in 3-putt Avoidance. Even though he has
gotten 2 wins in the past month or so, still seems shaky with the
Strengths: Great ballstriker. 2nd in Adv. Total Driving,
26th in the Birdie Zone, 9th in the Safe Zone and 17th in the Danger Zone. He’s
also 5th in Short Game play. Meaning, he hits a lot of fairways and greens and
when he does miss a green, he can get up and down quite often. Did lead the PGA
Championship last year until the 15th hole.
Weaknesses: May be suffering from a Masters
‘hangover.’ His putting has been atrocious (166th in Putts Gained), but he’s
been respectable with his 3-putts (106th). Some of his rankings in the metrics
may not be as good as they appear since he has not logged many rounds since the
Masters. His wildness off the tee, may not suit the US
Strengths: Bubba plays a different game from the other
bombers and is unafraid to take out the driver on every non-par 3 if he feels
like it. Many times this works in his favor because he adds so much distance by
hitting driver that even if he finds the thick rough, he can find a way to get
out of it. Where Bubba has really stepped up his game is in the Danger Zone
(2nd) and around the green (14th). You can start to see why he’s so effective
here. He typically avoids Danger Zone shots because of his length, but if he
finds himself there, it usually means the rest of the field will be there as
well. And it doesn’t matter because he’s 2nd in Danger Zone play anyway. And if
he misses the green, his adept short game will lead him to getting up and
Weaknesses: He’s coming off an injury plagued
season and had to play in the FedEx to get some rounds in. So the turnaround
time may be a little too much for him. He’s putting much better this year, but
still struggling with the Short Game (170th).
developing a solid all-around game and is putting quite well (50th in Putts
Gained). If he had putted that well last year, he may have won 2 majors. He’s
also ‘been there, done that’ before with being in contention at a Major more
than once before.
Weaknesses: Weird putter in that he’s ranked 37th
in Putts Gained, but 126th in 3-putt avoidance. Has also struggled from the
Birdie Zone this year (162nd) and is a very average at best ballstriker.
Strengths: He’s normally a great putter, so that may curb the
3-putts sooner or later. He’s also 26th from the Danger Zone and 65th in Short
BRIAN HARMAN 600/1
Strengths: Drives the ball well (42nd) and is ranked 44th
from the Danger Zone. His putting has been poor, ranking 150th in Putts Gained.
But, he’s 80th in 3-putt avoidance. I could see him creeping into contention and
finishing inside the top-20.
Friday, after the 2nd round of the Memorial, The Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee
remarked that a problem he saw with Tiger Woods’ game is that he didn’t give the
ball a free rip on par-5’s anymore and that didn’t allow him to go after par-5’s
in 2 shots.
This has been one of the criticisms of the ever ongoing
criticism of Tiger’s game as of late, a lack of aggressiveness off the tee.
However, as I’ve shown in previous posts using ShotLink data, his frequency of
keeping his driver in the bag has NOT been abnormal by Tour standards. In fact,
I think it more or less looks less aggressive because:
1. Tiger typically
plays more difficult course setups
2. The TV almost always shows every Tiger
tee shot and not the tee shots of everybody else.
3. He’s still generating
121 mph of clubhead speed
While I’ve disagreed with Chamblee on many
things in the past, I do like that he tries to investigate the ShotLink data
when analyzing tournaments and players. He has made some faulty conclusions like
saying that shots from 50-125 yards are the ‘money zone’, which is very
inaccurate depiction of the Tour. I think Chamblee made the common mistake that
people not involved with statistics make, small sample size and never bothering
to see the statistical correlation between that area and Adjusted Scoring
However, Chamblee does notice something very important here.
There’s a strong correlation between Par-5 scoring average and the percentage of
‘Go For Its’ a player has on par-5’s. The Tour labels a par-5 ‘Go For It’ as
anytime the 2nd shot is within 30 yards of the edge of the green. As I
mentioned in 2011 Pro Golf Synopsis, this is one of the reasons why I
feel power has its advantages along with why I feel the 3-wood is the most
underrated club in the bag. If I can get within that 30 yards from the edge of
the green on a consistent basis, over time my par-5 scoring average will likely
Many golfers, even Tour pros, don’t quite understand this. But,
if you have 300 yards to the pin, but 280 yards to the edge of the green, if you
can hit your 3-wood 250 yards…even if you’re not truly ‘going for it’, that’s
often the better play for the golfer if they want to lower their expected score.
Often times, golfers think they would be better off having 100 yards and a full
swing into a pin than say 50 yards. That’s actually very false. If you want to
lay-up on a par-5, it should really be done to avoid trouble like deep rough, a
tough bunker shot, water, O.B., trees.
I didn’t watch the entire 2nd
round of Tiger, but he did lay up on the back nine on one par-5. The wind was
blowing heavily in his face. He had 261 yards to the pin. They didn’t give the
yardage to the creek that ran across the fairway up by the green, but I’m
assuming it was probably 220 yards to carry. Perhaps Tiger was a bit too
conservative on this shot, but I think if he misses the green badly, but clears
the creek, he could be left with a very difficult shot because the rough was
very thick at Muirfield Village. In the world of Tiger, everything gets
here’s a look at Tiger’s par-5 Go For It percentage and his rank in that
category over the years:
Two things stand out here. One
is that Tiger’s percentage of ‘Go For Its’ is pretty much at his career average.
However, his ranking is pretty low compared to previous years (outside of 2004).
We can’t just leave it at ‘Brandel is wrong’ because the ranking is of
Unfortunately, there is no data that I can use to
figure out the percentage of Go For Its on each Tour course. This would be nice
because we could make some sort of year-end Go For It percentage projection for
Tiger. Perhaps he would typically be at 75%+ at this time of the year. Thus, his
69.1% may project to something lower like 62% by the end of the year as the
courses may get longer and be more difficult to ‘go for.’
We can’t answer
that, but I would like to take a look at his Driving Distance, fairway % and
distance to edge of fairway ranks over the years, combined with his Go For It
Year……Drive Distance…...Fwy %.......Dist. 2 Edge
of Fwy…Go For
Obviously, Tiger does not hit it quite as long as he used to.
We also don’t have Distance to Edge of Fairway data prior to 2008. However,
Tiger’s fairway % has gone wayyyy up. And I think it’s safe to assume that his
Distance to the Edge of the Fairway (extremely important for effective driving)
has improved greatly this year as well. There’s a very strong correlation
between fairway % and Distance to the Edge of the fairway, so if Tiger was
finishing no better than 139th in fairway percentage from 2004 to 2007, you can
bet that his Distance to the Edge of the Fairway rankings were lousy as
Now, let’s look at the rankings on approach shots from the fairway,
on 225-250 yard and 250-275 yard approach
The 225-250 yard range is a good range to
Go For a par-5 in two shots. For Tiger, this will likely be anything from a
3-wood to a 4 or 5-iron. I would say that typically he would probably hit his
2-iron (or 5-wood) thru 4-iron here. He’s currently ranked 70th, which is still
above average. It’s also the worst he’s ranked since 2002.
we are now talking about the 3-wood range. He’s been spectacular there outside
of 2002, his last year working with Butch. That was also the same year than his
highest ranking from 225-250 yards occurred. This may be one of the big reasons
why Tiger decided to leave Butch as his long game was not where he wanted it to
If we were to use the American court system of ‘being
innocent until proven guilty’ and Chamblee was the District Attorney, I don’t
see him having much evidence to stand on. He would probably have to wait on the
case before going to trial and see if he could get some better evidence. He does
have the lower ranking in driving distance and Go For It percentage in his
corner. But, the actual metrics point to a different story.
My feeling is
that at the very worst, Tiger is ever so slightly less aggressive on par-5’s
than he once was. However, my metrics show that he’s coming up a more effective
way of driving the ball to lower his score. A little less power versus the rest
of the Tour, but much more accuracy and precision, which has plagued him in the
I think what has happened is that the Tour have taken in more
reckless bombers over time. Let’s look at the guys that currently have a higher
percentage of Go For Its than Tiger:
1. Bubba Watson (80.6%)
3. Rory McIlroy (76.8%)
4. Robert Garrigus (76.4%)
Lee Westwood (75.0%)
6. Keegan Bradley (74.3%)
7. Martin Laird
8. Henrik Stenson (71.1%)
9. Gary Woodland (70.6%)
All of these players are very long off the tee. And almost
all of them are likely to see their par-5 ‘Go For It’ percentage go down a bit.
Usually the leader is about 71-74%. While Bubba’s 80.6% is outrageous, he’s
taken a lot of time off after winning the Masters and should regress a
Also, Tiger currently ranks 8th in par-5 scoring average.
think what has happened is that the Tour simply does not grow much rough on
par-5’s anymore. Either they stopped growing rough on par-5’s or the bombers
started to take advantage of it. The 2 tournaments Tiger has won this year, Bay
Hill and the Memorial, both featured probably the longest rough on Tour so far
this season. That’s why the bombers who eat up par-5’s didn’t contend last week,
they couldn’t deal with the rough. And perhaps that is what the Tour can do to
give the shorter hitters a chance.
I think what all of this may mean is
that Tiger’s chances at Augusta may be worse. No rough on the course, so bombers
can just out-bomb him. But, he may have increased his chances at winning at the
US Open and the PGA Championship. I think that may actually hurt his major
victory odds in the end since the Masters is a limited invitational. So if you
can be invited to that, your odds of winning increase automatically over the
most democratic tournament in the world, the US Open.
The game has
changed for Tiger, the fans and the media just need to accept
I will have a post
tomorrow regarding Tiger and his metrics. I will say that I noticed at the
Memorial, he was not getting ‘laid off’ at the top of his swing, except when he
was purposely hitting a sizeable fade ball. I think that he should probably look
to get rid of the laid off move from his swing, regardless of the shot. It’s
obvious to me that he can hit it fantastic even if he’s across the line at the
top of the swing, but once he starts laying the club off at the top, he starts
to struggle. He didn’t do that at the Memorial and in his words he ‘put on a
stripe show.’ Something to watch out for at the US Open.
Here are the
ADVANCED TOTAL DRIVING
1. Bubba Watson
3. Graeme McDowell
4. Tiger Woods
5. John Rollins
7. Boo Weekley
8. Roberto Castro
9. Hunter Mahan
173. Tommy Biershenk
174. Tom Pernice Jr.
176. Joe Ogilvie
177. Matt Bettencourt
179. Derek Lamely
180. Ryuji Imada
181. Stephen Gangluff
182. David Duval
Biggest Improvement: Ryo
Ishikawa Biggest Decline: Dustin Johnson
GAINED (VIA PGATOUR.COM)
1. Ben Curtis
2. Aaron Baddeley
3. Luke Donald
4. David Duval
5. Bo Van Pelt
6. Michael Thompson
7. Zach Johnson
8. Brian Gay
9. Martin Flores
10. Ryan Palmer
173. Arjun Atwal
174. Chad Campbell
175. Nick O'Hern
176. Ricky Barnes
177. Greg Owen
178. Robert Allenby
180. Scott Stallings
181. Heath Slocum
Biggest Improvement: Ryo Ishikawa Biggest
Decline: Louis Oosthuizen
ADJUSTED SHORT GAME
1. Kevin Kisner
2. Sean O'Hair
3. Bob Estes
5. Mark Anderson
6. Jason Dufner
7. Stuart Appleby
9. Rory McIlroy
10. Brian Gay
173. Jeff Maggert
174. Steve Wheatcroft
176. Michael Thompson
177. Harris English
178. Bo Van Pelt
179. Robert Garrigus
180. Dustin Johnson
181. Cameron Beckman
Biggest Improvement: Ryan Moore Biggest
Decline: Steve Stricker
1. Steve Stricker
3. Jeff Maggert
4. Jason Bohn
5. Nick O'Hern
7. Brendon de Jonge
8. Garth Mulroy
9. Sergio Garcia
173. Sang-Moon Bae
174. Brandt Jobe
176. Stephen Gangluff
177. Aaron Baddeley
179. D.J. Trahan
180. Jamie Lovemark
181. Billy Hurley
182. Edward Loar
Biggest Improvement: Dustin
Johnson Biggest Decline: Kyle Stanley
1. Lee Westwood
3. Robert Allenby
4. Steve Wheatcroft
5. Nick O'Hern
7. Bo Van Pelt
8. Bud Cauley
9. Jason Dufner
11. Angel Cabrera
173. J.B. Holmes
175. Derek Lamely
176. Henrik Stenson
177. Briny Baird
Billy Hurley III
179. Jamie Lovemark
180. Edward Loar
182. Troy Kelly
Biggest Improvement: Ryo
Ishikawa Biggest Decline: Carl Pettersson
1. Louis Oosthuizen
2. Bubba Watson
3. Chad Campbell
4. Bo Van Pelt
5. Steve Stricker
7. Jim Furyk
8. Graeme McDowell
9. Brandt Jobe
173. Ted Potter, Jr.
174. Joe Ogilvie
176. Blake Adams
177. Edward Loar
178. Steve Wheatcroft
180. Richard H. Lee
181. Nick O'Hern
182. Ryuji Imada
Here's a video from Steve Elkington (www.secretinthedirt.com) of him
playing with friends at the Bel Aire CC in Los Angeles. Bel Air CC has been
given high praise by the Top 100 Golf Course blogger
(http://top100golf.blogspot.com). I also hear that it's the home course of
This video was taken 1 week before Elkington won the 1995