Nuggets, Volume Two

Volume two of Nuggets gives us some insight into a couple injured players trying to recover, interesting facts about Tiger and sheds some light on the Euro Ryder Cup selection.

The Numbers GameI always make a few notes as I thumb through the stats pages and other websites as I compile my column. Some things aren’t worth an entire article, but together they make for a good read.

This week in The Numbers Game, it’s the second installment of those little bits of information I find interesting. Read on to see if you do too.

Els’ Earnings
The Big Easy is not so big in the wallet this year. Not from his official prize money, anyway. He’s only managed to climb to 30th on the money list. If you were wondering how he would come back from his knee injury, here are some numbers from 15 events each before and after his injury:

             Earnings    Top 10s    Wins
Pre-Injury    $3.28M        8        1
Post Injury   $1.68M        5        0

Ernie earned nearly twice as much in the 15 events before his knee injury than after. Ernie has shown signs of getting his game back on track, but you have to wonder if he has the stamina. Take a look at his scoring average before and after the cut:

              Average   Place
Before Cut     70.00     9th
Third Round    71.46    114th
Final Round    72.46    159th

How can you not look at that and think that Ernie is loosing a bit of his game as he grinds through the weekend? He’s had his four worst rounds on the final day of competition and five of his best six rounds before the cut.

I just can’t think that Ernie is back. The good news is that when he’s playing well, he has had some of the best rounds of the year… flashing some of the brilliance we’ve come to expect. When his conditioning improves to where it was, I think everyone will know that the Big Easy is back.

Kenny Perry
Perry had his knee scoped earlier in the year and was unable to defend his title at Bay Hill. He also had to sit out the Masters as well. Talk about lousy timing.

Kenny had a great year in 2005, but an even better one in 2003. Of course the years sandwiched around those great years were pretty good. Both years he netted nearly $2 million in earnings (but had no victories).

Year   Events   Top 10s   Wins   Earnings
2002     27        13       0     $1.93M
2003     26        11       3     $4.40M
2004     23         7       0     $1.95M
2005     23         7       2     $3.61M
2006     20         0       0     $0.82M

This year, even if you project a 23-event year for Perry, he’ll still be under $1 million for the year. Missing those tournaments hurt him, but he hasn’t been in a position to win all year. Finishes like T-11 and T-12 just aren’t what you come to expect from Kenny over the past few years.

The question is, will 2007 be another great “odd” year for Kenny Perry? Looking at his stats, if he gets his putting to come around, it certainly will be.

Aussie Aussie Aussie!
No, this one isn’t injured. Adam Scott is just fine, but looking at his career numbers, I was a bit surprised. Do you know how many PGA Tour wins Scott has?


He has five European Tour wins, but you would think that Scott had more than three based on his popularity and being ranked 6th in the World Golf Rankings. This year has been good even without a win. Finishing second and third a few times and two top 10’s in the Majors.

I’m not knocking the 26 year old, but I just expected to be a bit more wowed. Sergio has twice as many victories than Scott and I consider Adam to be a much better golfer over the past few years. I don’t know about you, but I think Scott needs to win more than one, or zero tour events in a year.

53 and Counting
Tiger won his fifth in a row and 53rd career PGA Tour event. To put things in perspective, Tiger has as many victories as these guys put together: Ernie Els (15), David Toms (11), Jim Furyk (11), Justin Leonard (10), Retief Goosen (6).

That’s impressive. Some other impressive numbers about Tiger:

  • He is averaging almost -17 in his victories this year.
  • He is more than a half shot better in scoring average than the next person.
  • He only has four rounds above 70 in his last 24.
  • On longer and tighter courses he is hitting nearly 73% Greens in Regulation, one of his best.
  • He makes birdie or better nearly 27% of the time.

I don’t think Tiger is done adding to his win total this year. I would expect to see him in at least three more tournaments this year: the WGC-American Express Championship, the Funai Classic at Disney, and the Tour Championship. That could give him eight in a row if he’s able to finish the year off strong.

He’s creeping closer to Arnie’s 62 every weekend… and he’s only 30.

Here are some strange (and interesting) numbers I found while thumbing through the stats pages:

  • Steven Bowditch has been disqualified from four tournaments this year and withdrawn from two. This tour rookie’s career is off to a bad start.
  • If you find Hidemichi Tanaka’s game, please let him know. He went from a decent ball striker making at or just under $1 million a year to golfer that can’t do anything well. His idol might be David Duval.
  • Eight of the 12 longest drivers on Tour are Q-School or Nationwide tour graduates. Some have found success (Brett Wetterich & Camilo Villegas) and some have not (Aragon & Hietala).
  • One of the 20 most accurate drivers are Q-School or Nationwide Tour graduates. The lone player, Daisuke Maruyama, has had a steady year pulling in nearly $850K with four top 10s.

Last Thought
There wasn’t a snubbing on the U.S. side of the Ryder Cup, but apparently there was on the Euro side. At least according to Thomas Björn there was.

The whining Björn has a higher stroke average than Lee Westwood and has not won much more money per tournament (€50,966) than Westwood (€48,666). Westwood was higher on the Ryder Cup Points list as well. Also, Lee became only the sixth European player to go undefeated at a Ryder Cup in 2004.

So tell me this, how was Björn snubbed? The numbers don’t indicate that he was.

1 thought on “Nuggets, Volume Two”

  1. I would add Kevin Na to the strange column. He was an up and comer after leaving school in his teens to play in Asia, finishing high in Q-school and having a million dollar year as a 21 yr old rookie … then POOF – he just left the tour with no explaination this summer after only a handful of starts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *