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PGA

Strokes Gained Analysis for the Charles Schwab Challenge

Jason Rouslin

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PGA DFS Picks for the ZOZO Championship. FREE DraftKings + FanDuel daily fantasy golf advice and more on Wednesday, 10/20/21.

Every fantasy sport has their set of data that helps to try to project what’s going to happen. In professional golf, that’s done by a metric called Strokes Gained. Created by Mark Broadie, a professor at Columbia, it measures a golfer against others on a shot-by-shot basis. That’s compiled then for daily, weekly and yearly stats, or however long your database goes for. The database we will be working with for PGA DFS covers about 18 months worth of tournaments. While golf is typically about recent form, we like to understand players’ strengths and weaknesses to better understand where they might perform best. Let’s dig in.


Check out our new Strokes Gained Tool, where we give out the averages of all the Strokes Gained metrics for the last 10 events! Click here.


Analysis

Strokes Gained Total

Criteria: at least two strokes gained

  • Rory McIlroy has been absurdly consistent over the last 16 events, gaining at least two strokes total in 13 of them. The next best is Jon Rahm at 50%, followed by Justin Thomas at 44%. Webb Simpson gained at least two strokes total in seven of 19 events, while Matt Wallace has done it in four of 11.
  • It’s been a rough go of it for Patton Kizzire and Jimmy Walker. Both have failed to eclipse two strokes gained total in over 25 events. Kramer Hickok isn’t far behind, playing in 22 events without gaining at least two in any.

Strokes Gained Tee to Green – Combination of Off the Tee, Approach and Around the Green

Criteria: at least 1.5 strokes gained

  • Justin Thomas eclipses McIlroy here, meaning that Thomas’ short game/putter has been bad over the last 18 months or so. He’s gained at least two strokes tee to green in 72% of his starts to McIlroy’s 69%. Scottie Scheffler, Byeong Hun An, Xander Schauffele and Dustin Johnson have accomplished the feat at least 40% of their starts.
  • The most shocking name to me on the flip side of this is Justin Rose, who hasn’t gained more than 1.5  strokes tee to green in 14 measured starts in the dataset. He joins 16 other golfers in that regard, including Patrick Rodgers, Cameron Smith and Beau Hossler. You might also see Brendon Todd‘s name on there, but he won two events that did not have strokes gained data, so I didn’t include him here.

Strokes Gained Ball Striking – Combination of Off the Tee and Approach

Criteria: at least one stroke gained

  • Viktor Hovland has been lights out ball striking since joining the Tour, gaining at least one stroke in 92% of his events. Next is McIlroy, Thomas and Emiliano Grillo, who are the only ones to accomplish this in at least 65% of their starts. Eight more golfers have done it at least 50% of the time, including Schauffele, Sheffler, Collin Morikawa, Corey Conners and Matthew Fitzpatrick. 
  • Four golfers have never reached this mark: Smith, Zac Blair, John Senden and Peter Uihlein. 28 other golfers have accomplished this feat less than 10% of the time. Some of those names include Andrew Putnam, Jordan Spieth, Wyndham Clark, C. T. Pan, Charles Howell III and Si Woo Kim. 

Strokes Gained Short Game: Combination of Around the Green and Putting 

Criteria: at least one stroke gained

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  • Jordan Spieth has at least one stroke gained with the short game in 52% of his starts, joining Webb Simpson (58%), Denny McCarthy (52%) and Shane Lowry (50%) as the only golfers to gain at least one in half their starts. Twenty-four more golfers have done this in at least a third of their starts, including Putnam, Smith, Rahm, Sungjae Im, Jason Day and Bryson DeDhambeau.
  • The three young studs, Hovland, Morikawa and Matthew Wolff, have not been able to put their entire short game together yet, as none of them have been able to gain a total of one stroke. They, along with Grillo and Tom Lewis, are the only five to have a goose egg. Twenty-two others have done it less than 10% of the time in their starts, including Conners, Gary Woodland, Keith Mitchell, Cameron Champ, Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner.

Strokes Gained Off the Tee

Criteria: at least one stroke gained

  • Only McIlroy has gained at least one stroke off the tee in at least 50% of his starts, while Hovland, Conners and Bubba Watson have all done it at least 40%. Schauffele and Champ are the last two golfers to have accomplished this in at least one-third of their starts.
  • Incredibly, Morikawa is one of the 44 golfers in the field that has not gained at least one stroke off the tee in this data set. Some of those other names include Day, Rose, Spieth, Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Alex Noren.

Strokes Gained on the Approach

Criteria: at least one stroke gained

  • Contrary to off the tee, Morikawa leads this statistic, along with Hovland, Grillo and Thomas, all who have gained over one stroke in at least 40% of their starts. Only six other golfers have done it in at least a third of their start, including McIlroy, An and Jim Furyk. 
  • Ten golfers have struggled with their approaches in this data set and haven’t gained at least one stroke on the approaches, including Howell, Jim Herman, Scott Brown and Rickie Fowler. 

Strokes Gained Around the Green

Criteria: at least one stroke gained

  • Gaining strokes around the green seems to be the toughest, as no one has done it in more than 30% of their starts. Day leads with 28% of their starts, followed by Steve Stricker at 27%, Spieth 23% and An, Dylan Frittelli and Bud Cauley all coming in above 20%.
  • Fifty golfers in the field haven’t gained at least one stroke around the green in this data set, including Kisner, Putnam, McIlroy, Morikawa, Doug Ghim, Nate Lashley, Adam Hadwin  and Adam Long.

Strokes Gained Putting

Criteria: at least one stroke gained

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  • Not even Spieth could eclipse the 50% mark in terms of gaining at least one stroke in those starts, but Denny McCarthy did. Spieth was next just under 50%, followed by Clark, Lanto Griffin, Marc Leishman and Billy Horschel, all who accomplished this in at least 35% of their starts.
  • Twelve golfers haven’t been able to find their putter over the last little bit, including Morikawa, Garcia, Lewis, Wolff and Grillo.

For more info on this, check out my “Fit& Form Podcast” coming out tonight!


 

Click here for the full sheet! 

Jason established his roots in the littlest state that could...Rhode Island. But after 29 years of bitter cold, and only being able to play golf 4 months a year, upended those roots and moved to Florida. Now two years later, Jason is a husband to Sarah and father of James as well as two Labradors (Choco and Bella) and he dedicates his time to serve as the lead of PGA content at Awesemo.com. In the time he is not diving into the PGA stats and covering this week's current tournament, you can find him researching and trading stocks, on the golf course, or somewhere hopefully lost in nature with his dogs guiding him along the way. Want to chat? Have a question about Golf/Stocks or anything else? Hop on twitter and give him a message @dfsgolfer23. You can also contact Jason by emailing [email protected].

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