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Table 6-5 (Tiger Woods Strokes Gained)
 
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Credit Mark Broadie, Every Shot Counts

Table 6-5 (Tiger Woods Strokes Gained)

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4 minutes ago, Herkimer said:

As Churchill said, "There's three kinds of lies: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics."  

No.

Not in this case.

Lots for you to learn here on this @Herkimer.

Please do yourself the favor of being open-minded here. I’ve spent thousands of hours studying this stuff. The math is sound.

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I'm not buying what you're selling.  Those numbers don't tell you how many times a tournament is won or lost by great putting on the final holes.  My money is going on the best putter.  Tiger hit so many bad drives.  It was his putting that saved him.  Lousy putters on tour won't be winners.  

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2 minutes ago, Herkimer said:

I'm not buying what you're selling.  Those numbers don't tell you how many times a tournament is won or lost by great putting on the final holes.  My money is going on the best putter.  Tiger hit so many bad drives.  It was his putting that saved him.  Lousy putters on tour won't be winners.  

You really think guys who are driving it poorly or hitting poor approach shots are winning? Putting is important. No one said that wasn’t. It’s part of the game and can make a bad ballstriking round an average scoring day or a good ballstriking round a great one. But on average it still has the lowest impact on what separates winners from the guys barely making the cut. Or good players from the great. Or a bogey golfer from a scratch golfer....and so on and so on. 

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I'm talking about touring pros here.  I know that every shot counts.  But it's the putter in your hand that finishes every hole.  Spieth proved it a few years ago in spectacular fashion.  Look at him now.  

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1 minute ago, Herkimer said:

I'm talking about touring pros here.  I know that every shot counts.  But it's the putter in your hand that finishes every hole.  Spieth proved it a few years ago in spectacular fashion.  Look at him now.  

The best of the best do it all well man. But the greatest thing about Tiger, jack, Arnie, or whoever you wanna talk about on tour wasn’t their putter. The guys who play well and win on tour are routinely great ball strikers. Do they close it out with putting? Sure. But they make more putts than their opponents because they hit it closer to the hole. 

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Just now, iacas said:

@Herkimer nobody is selling anything. This stuff doesn’t need to be sold. You’re denying a truth.

Do some reading. Keep an open mind. You only stand to gain.

I know what I've seen over the years and what I've experienced myself in my own game. So I really don't need to read anything about it.  Obviously, it's important to make great shots with all your clubs. But it comes down to sinking your putt.  "Clutch putting" is what wins tournaments.  Johnny Miller said that it was his putting that kept him off the tour.  I've heard him say that many times over the years on air.

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3 minutes ago, Herkimer said:

I know what I've seen over the years and what I've experienced myself in my own game.

You’re wrong. The top guys are the top guys because of their ballstriking.

Don’t take it personally.

You’re not bothering to actually discuss this though, so until you take a little time to see what we are saying and attempt a rebuttal or something relevant… this is going nowhere fast.

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11 hours ago, Herkimer said:

I know what I've seen over the years and what I've experienced myself in my own game. So I really don't need to read anything about it.  

Such a shame. That attitude limits your learning so much. Ball flight laws were wrong for years. It’s completely fine to be wrong. Be enthusiastic to learn and open to accept data and facts. A council of leaders once believed the earth was flat, that the sun orbited the earth, as the earth was the center of the universe. There were religious influences and philosophical debates that many felt were blasphemous to even discuss. This is just golf. It does no injury or insult to your intelligence to read the data, the books that clearly show what @iacashas stated as being true. The only insult is to yourself by refusing to even acknowledge the data and realize the truth. Your refusing to read discounts any point in discussing this with you. If you’ve read and don’t comprehend, yet remain in your thinking, then it’s your choice to either question and gain comprehension or bury your head and find a crowd to be wrong with for your comfort. 

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If you play golf perfectly, ie. hit every green in regulation, two putts for par, on a 72 par course you will have taken 36 shots with the other 13 clubs combined and 36 putts. This alone highlights the importance of the putter.

Now obviously, it is not quite as straightforward as that as it is rare for any golfer, even the top professionals to hit every green. However, around 27 putts a round is considered good for a pro and that would probably result in a scoring average of perhaps 68? So, not half, but still a considerable percentage of the overall shots would be with the putter.

The second point I want to make is more about confidence. Having confidence with your putter takes the pressure off the rest of your game. If you are out of position off the tee you are less likely to try something desperate to get to the green wth your next. You will probably be confident to play conservatively, putting the ball pack into play knowing if you put in on the green for your next shot you will fancy holing a putt to make your par.

Tiger Woods made a pretty decent career (understatement) by missing fairways by a considerable amount on a regular basis then making a ten footer for par to keep in touch with the leaders. Confidence in his putting placed, pretty much, no limit to how many times he could get up and down in a round. How many times did he come in with a one under 71 or whatever, and the commentator said ‘that was a 78 in anyone else’s hands."

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5 minutes ago, Herkimer said:

Tiger Woods made a pretty decent career (understatement) by missing fairways by a considerable amount on a regular basis then making a ten footer for par to keep in touch with the leaders. Confidence in his putting placed, pretty much, no limit to how many times he could get up and down in a round. How many times did he come in with a one under 71 or whatever, and the commentator said ‘that was a 78 in anyone else’s hands."

If you look at the chart (Table 6.5), you'll see that Tiger Woods was the best or one of the best in his approach shots.

Talking about the 36 putts, how many were tap in?   That doesn't require any skill at all.    Nobody is discounting that putting is/isn't important, just that it's not as difficult as driving and approach shots.  

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44 minutes ago, Herkimer said:

If you play golf perfectly, ie. hit every green in regulation, two putts for par, on a 72 par course you will have taken 36 shots with the other 13 clubs combined and 36 putts. This alone highlights the importance of the putter.

That's an fairly bad way of looking at that. You'll find that "counting" stats are often bad, and this is one of those times.

In Lowest Score Wins we defined something we call "Separation Value." It's the measure of a skill's potential to affect your score.

Putting has a fairly low Separation Value. From 20 feet, the game's best players (PGA Tour players) take about 1.86 putts. A scratch golfer takes… about 1.89. A guy who shoots 90 takes about 2.02. So, over 18 holes, a full round of golf, the guy who shoots 90 will lose a whopping 2.88 strokes to the PGA Tour player if you put them at 20 feet on every green. He's lost 15+ shots elsewhere!

Putting has a low Separation Value®. It's not where PGA Tour players separate themselves from other PGA Tour players, and it's not where PGA Tour players separate themselves from amateur golfers. It's the area (of the four: approach shots, driving, short game, putting) of the game that has the least separation, in fact. They go in the order I listed: the greatest separation occurs with approach shots, with driving second.

It makes sense. My grandma (before she died) could make a twenty-foot putt. She'll never flush a 4-iron from a hanging lie to 25' on two-tiered green over a water hazard from 225 out. PGA Tour players get to the PGA Tour because they're the best ball strikers.

Counting stats are bad. A PGA Tour pro taps in nine times per round. Let's say they shoot 72. Those nine tap-ins count for 12.5% of their strokes. Yet virtually anyone in the world could have faced those same putts and taken… nine putts, same as the PGA Tour player. No separation there.

Please read this and let me know what your answer is, @Herkimer.

44 minutes ago, Herkimer said:

Now obviously, it is not quite as straightforward as that as it is rare for any golfer, even the top professionals to hit every green. However, around 27 putts a round is considered good for a pro and that would probably result in a scoring average of perhaps 68? So, not half, but still a considerable percentage of the overall shots would be with the putter.

I'm a better putter than all but about five players on the PGA Tour (and that's not a hypothetical), yet I don't have a chance of competing on the PGA Tour. Why? Because my ball striking is nowhere near good enough, even as a +1. And when I say "nowhere near" I mean NOWHERE. And yet I'm a pretty darn good ball striker, all things considered.

Putting is the area of lowest separation, and counting shots is one of the worst ways to assess the value of a shot.

44 minutes ago, Herkimer said:

The second point I want to make is more about confidence. Having confidence with your putter takes the pressure off the rest of your game. If you are out of position off the tee you are less likely to try something desperate to get to the green wth your next. You will probably be confident to play conservatively, putting the ball pack into play knowing if you put in on the green for your next shot you will fancy holing a putt to make your par.

I'm not going to debate the idea that being confident is a bad thing, but… this is just a bad way to look at that in two ways:

  1. PGA Tour players who often putt for par don't last very long.
  2. You're better off trying to get near the green, not laying back or merely "putting the ball back into play." Shorter shots are easier shots, and proximity is important.
The best players aren't putting themselves into position where they need to scramble and make a 10-footer for par very often. Those players don't last on the PGA Tour for very long.
 
44 minutes ago, Herkimer said:

Tiger Woods made a pretty decent career (understatement) by missing fairways by a considerable amount on a regular basis then making a ten footer for par to keep in touch with the leaders.

This is where your perception isn't really going to line up with reality. Yes, he occasionally did that, but what Tiger did best was drive the ball well enough, but hit his approach shots phenomenally well. Look at the chart above: outside of one year, Tiger never finished lower than fourth in Strokes Gained approach shots.

The year he finished outside of fourth… he was fifth. Yet his short game went as low as 89 (twice) if you exclude the year he was 160th, and his putting was 18th, 21st, 91st, 49th, and 27th.

Look at how the numbers in the "Total" column compare to the numbers in the other columns. Tiger was first in strokes gained total 7 years, and second once. Because… of his ballstriking. When his driving suffered in 2010-11, he finished lower in total strokes gained.

This isn't atypical.

44 minutes ago, Herkimer said:

Confidence in his putting placed, pretty much, no limit to how many times he could get up and down in a round. How many times did he come in with a one under 71 or whatever, and the commentator said ‘that was a 78 in anyone else’s hands."

This is part of the problem: you're believing your own experiences or what you think someone else may have said over actual data.

The data isn't biased. It just "is."

Open your mind.

There's another topic that'll probably blow your mind.

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12 hours ago, Herkimer said:

If you play golf perfectly, ie. hit every green in regulation, two putts for par, on a 72 par course you will have taken 36 shots with the other 13 clubs combined and 36 putts. This alone highlights the importance of the putter.

Now obviously, it is not quite as straightforward as that as it is rare for any golfer, even the top professionals to hit every green. However, around 27 putts a round is considered good for a pro and that would probably result in a scoring average of perhaps 68? So, not half, but still a considerable percentage of the overall shots would be with the putter.

The second point I want to make is more about confidence. Having confidence with your putter takes the pressure off the rest of your game. If you are out of position off the tee you are less likely to try something desperate to get to the green wth your next. You will probably be confident to play conservatively, putting the ball pack into play knowing if you put in on the green for your next shot you will fancy holing a putt to make your par.

Tiger Woods made a pretty decent career (understatement) by missing fairways by a considerable amount on a regular basis then making a ten footer for par to keep in touch with the leaders. Confidence in his putting placed, pretty much, no limit to how many times he could get up and down in a round. How many times did he come in with a one under 71 or whatever, and the commentator said ‘that was a 78 in anyone else’s hands."

Here is a way of looking at it. At the end of the week, the guy who wins probably had a good week putting. There is a lot of randomness in putting. A machine won't hole every putt even if you get hours to calibrate it over a 20 foot putt, it won't hole them all. People hole 20 foot putts, but they also miss them. They miss them a lot more than they hole them. Even the best. If they have a week where they hole more than their fair share they have a decent chance of winning. But no one holes more than their fair share every week. 

It's a lot more common for a player to have a day where they have a +4 strokes gained putting than it is to have a +4 strokes gained driving. But it's a lot more likely that the guy who averages +1 strokes gained driving will be at +1 strokes gained driving every week. That guy who does that and gets on a hot streak with the putter is going to win a lot more often than the guy who averages -1 strokes gained driving and gets hot with the putter from time to time. 

The reason that Tiger was so good for so long is because he was +0.7 driving and +2.5 approach every round. He could just putt average and be in contention, because he was beating everyone so hard from tee to green. Then when he had his good days on the greens, he'd obliterate the field. That wasn't because he was the best putter though. It's because he hit it close more than anyone else and gave himself the most opportunities. 

The problem with thinking back on your own rounds is that you remember the days when your putting was lights out, because those coincide with the low scores. But you can't putt lights out every time. 

Your putting on a given day dictates where in your typical range of scores you are going to wind up. Your long game dictates where that range of scores is. 

Take a scratch golfer. One who is a mediocre putter and pick anyone in the world to putt for them. They're not going to make it on the PGA Tour. Not a chance.

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13 hours ago, iacas said:

A guy who shoots 90 takes about 2.02. So, over 18 holes, a full round of golf, the guy who shoots 90 will lose a whopping 2.88 strokes to the PGA Tour player if you put them at 20 feet on every green. He's lost 15+ shots elsewhere!

@Herkimer That’s pretty straightforward no? You’re not reading nor making any effort to think reasonable about this. Why are you doing that? What’s your concern about putting be the Holy Grail of golf? 

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33 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

@Herkimer That’s pretty straightforward no? You’re not reading nor making any effort to think reasonable about this. Why are you doing that? What’s your concern about putting be the Holy Grail of golf

Calm down man. We're talking here, and until @Herkimer stops talking*, we're all still in it.

* Though that may have already occurred, who knows…?

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4 hours ago, Ty_Webb said:

Your putting on a given day dictates where in your typical range of scores you are going to wind up. Your long game dictates where that range of scores is. 

Take a scratch golfer. One who is a mediocre putter and pick anyone in the world to putt for them. They're not going to make it on the PGA Tour. Not a chance.

Couldn´t agree more!

I´m a good example of the second paragraph. Last tournament (72 holes - 6700 yards, par 70, rating 72, fast greens) I lost 20 strokes against a pro.
Drive: 5 (i´m a short hitter)  
Appr: 1 
Short: 1
Putt: 13 (just holed one 15 footer outside 10 feet in 4 rounds)

You could say that i just need to improve my putting to compete on PGA tour.. but no.. That´s my stats on a 6700 yards course. On a 7500 yards course set up for a PGA venue with a rating of 76 my stroke gained Driving and Appr will rocket to the sky, above my poor putting stats. 

  

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