There’s a new putting stat making its debut this week on the PGA Tour: Strokes Gained — Putting. It will become the preeminent putting stat immediately, replacing putting average and putts per round. Here’s the description from the guys who developed the stat for the Tour:
Strokes Gained-Putting, however, takes into account putting proficiency from various distances and computes the difference between a player’s performance on every green — the number of strokes needed to hole out — against the performance of the other players for each round. This ultimately shows how many strokes are gained or lost due to putting for a particular round, for a tournament and over the course of a year.
The statistic is computed by calculating the average number of putts a PGA TOUR player is expected to take from every distance, based on ShotLink data from the previous season. The actual number of putts taken by a player is subtracted from this average value to determine strokes gained or lost.
For example, the average number of putts used to hole out from 7 feet, 10 inches is 1.5. If a player one-putts from this distance, he gains 0.5 strokes. If he two-putts, he loses 0.5 strokes. If he three-putts, he loses 1.5 strokes.
A player’s strokes gained or lost are then compared to the field. For example, if a player gained a total of three strokes over the course of a round and the field gained an average of one stroke, the player’s “Strokes Gained Against the Field” would be two.
I absolutely love the stat and think that if the broadcast networks can figure out a way to easily explain it to the viewers I think it’ll catch on quick.
Ernie Els, for example, who has gotten off to a horrible start in 2011 and has been putting atrociously, has “lost” nearly 31 strokes on the greens this year, according to that stat. Sounds about right, don’t you think?