Another edition of Nuggets for this week's The Numbers Game. I've stuffed the column full of numbers and tidbits I collected while perusing stats and columns around the web. From majors to the "other" Singh, this week should provide even a golf nut with a couple facts they weren't aware of.
World Golf Rankings
A quick check at the world golf rankings show that Tiger Woods is still waaaaay out in front. He has 2.41 times more points that his next closest competitor, Jim Furyk. The person with 1/2.41ths the points of Jim Furyk is all the way down in 21st place… Angel Cabrera.
Only 9 players made the cut in all four majors:
- Phil Mickelson
- José Maria Olazabal
- Mike Weir
- Geoff Ogilvy
- Robert Allenby
- Jim Furyk
- Adam Scott
- Ernie Els
- Luke Donald
Of those players, Phil had the best average finish position at 10.25 with Geoff Ogilvy close behind at 10.5. José Maria Olazabal had the highest at 33.75 thanks to his 56 and 55 at the British Open and PGA Championship respectively. Tiger, even with his missed cut at the U.S. Open, was the only player to finish in the top 10 in three of the four majors.
Looking a bit more at the scores from the majors, I thought it would be good to look at how the big guns finished at the majors and who was able to close out better than anyone else. Here's how a few of the bigger names fared in the final round:
Name Masters US Open British PGA Avg -------------- ------- ------- ------- --- ----- Tiger Woods 70 MC 67 68 68.33 Adam Scott 71 74 72 67 71.00 J.M. Olazabal 66 71 72 77 71.50 Phil Mickelson 69 74 70 74 71.75 Ernie Els 76 72 71 69 72.00 Sergio Garcia 73 MC 73 70 72.00 Vijay Singh 71 73 MC MC 72.00 Geoff Ogilvy 71 72 72 74 72.25 Retif Goosen 69 MC 73 75 72.33 Jim Furyk 75 70 71 74 72.50 Tim Clark 69 MC 79 70 72.67 Luke Donald 74 72 71 74 72.75
What's-his-name is back on top. Scott and Olazabal were strong performers when it mattered most, save for José Maria's 77 in the PGA. It wasn't enough to overcome some struggles in earlier rounds though. Phil was average with his lone sub-70 round coming at Augusta. As bad as Tiger putted in the final round at the Masters, Phil only bettered him by one shot.
The surprise is Furyk to me. He's known as a gritty bulldog… a guy that will grind it out when it matters most. His final round in the U.S. Open was great except for the missed putt on 18. Other than that, he never put a great final round together.
The "Other" Singh
Singh won the Volvo Masters in October. Jeev Milkha Singh, that is. After struggling earlier this decade, Singh put a strong year together winning two tournaments on the European tour in 2006. That's one more than the "other" Singh won on the PGA Tour.
Even the Best Ball Strikers
Chris Smith was in the top 10 in GIR, second in total driving, and second in ball striking. Even hitting the ball that great he couldn't overcome his 165th position in putting average or 185th in scrambling.
Work on your short game kids. You might be able to hit that pretty draw, but the Tour is filled with guys that can hit pretty draws. There aren't many that can putt it lights out though.
Instead of the Best
The official bottom feeder in stats go to:
- Putting Average - Thomas Levet - 1.851 putts per GIR
- Greens in Regulation - Todd Hamilton - 56.87%
- Driving Accuracy - Jimmy Walker - 49.75%
- Driving Distance - Corey Pavin - 265.9 yards
- Scrambling - Chris Couch - 49.02%
What's the fun fact about the group above? The only bottom feeder to win a tournament this year was the person (Corey Pavin) ranked last in Driving Distance. Pavin was also the only one to lead one of the other stats (scrambling).
I told you you'd learn something.
Anyone want to guess who had the highest percentage of top 10s after Tiger? My first thought was Phil, but that was wrong. It wasn't Toms or Els either. It was Luke Donald. Tiger finished in the top ten 73% of the time. Donald was second at 56%. The only other two golfers over 50% were Furyk and Scott.
The PGA Tour's website has a nugget related article up detailing the players that keep coming back for attempts at Q-School. Steve Haskins struck out in 11 tries and hasn't been back since 2004.
After the first round, 12-timer Michael Allen was tied for 103rd at four over par. He may be back for one more try if he doesn't get things turned around quickly.
On An Amateur Note
To finish it off, look at some of the past few champions of the U.S. Amatuer. In 2003, Nick Flanagan was the first Australian to win the U.S. Am in 100 years. Last year, Edoardo Molinari was the first Italian ever to win. This year, Richie Ramsay was the first Scotsman since 1898 that was left standing.
With the international flavor the U.S. Amateur has seen over the past few years it just makes you wonder what's next… the first champion from Poland? Jamaica? Nepal?