Golfweek.com’s 2010 Fantasy Guide (Pt. 3)

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In Part III of Golfweek’s 2010 Fantasy Golf Guide (you can read Part I here and Part II here), our stats man, Alex Miceli, had his computer working overtime to cull some interesting statistics from the 2009 PGA Tour season.

Some of these numbers might be just what you need to choose the right guy for your fantasy team.

photo

Jerry Kelly reacts to his winning putt at the 18th green during the final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

0: Number of winners to finish the week leading the driving-accuracy category. Three winners finished second in driving accuracy.

2: Number of players to win an event and lead the greens-in-regulation category that week (Jerry Kelly, Zurich Classic and Y.E. Yang, PGA Championship).

2.11: Increase in mph of Phil Mickelson’s clubhead speed in ’09. Lefty had the biggest increase of the season, from an average of 117.09 mph in ’08 to 119.2 mph last year.

5.25: Improvement in feet of the average distance from the pin for Sergio Garcia’s wedge game from 75 to 100 yards from 2008 to ’09. He averaged 18 feet, 5 inches in ’08 (139th) and 13 feet, 2.5 inches in ’09 (1st).

13: Average distance in feet from the hole that Steve Stricker (below) hit approaches when in the 75-to-100-yard range. He was the best in ’09 from that distance.

25: Fewest number of fairways hit by a winner in 2009 (Kenny Perry, FBR Open, out of a possible 56).

39: Fewest number of greens hit in regulation by a winner in 2009 (Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer Invitational).

44.44: Percentage of time Bubba Watson (above) drove the ball more than 320 yards.

68.05: Scoring average of Tiger Woods in 2009. Woods’ scoring was helped by his birdie average of 4.15 per round (best on Tour). He also led the Tour in birdie- or-better average on par 5s with 56.77 percent.

70.89: Percentage of greens in regulation by ’09 Tour leader John Senden. (He also led the Tour in GIR from the fairway at 81.55 percent.)

99: Fewest number of total putts by a winner in 2009 (Phil Mickelson, WGC-CA Championship).

100: Percentage of putts made from inside 10 feet by Steve Marino (Crowne Plaza Invitational) and Joe Ogilvie (Transitions Championship).

1,661: Combined number of putts made from 3 feet or less (out of 1,661 attempts) by Steve Stricker (662 attempts), Bob Heintz (557) and Ian Poulter (442).


STATS TO VALUE

Unlike pure mathematical statistics, golf stats are not just pure numbers but a caldron that mixes pure performance, the stress of playing professional golf and, of course, a little luck.

For example, a 160-yard 7-iron is different in Thursday’s first round than on Sunday afternoon when the player is under the gun and in the hunt. Taking that into account, here are my favorite statistics:

photo

Total driving: The top 10 players in total driving earned $30,843,585 in ’09 through the Tour Championship. The list, which includes Tiger Woods (seventh), Kenny Perry (fifth) and Lucas Glover (third), totaled 11 victories in 2009. Of the top 10, only Charles Warren didn’t earn more than $1 million. He also was the only player not to keep his card.

Going for the green: Certainly an esoteric stat, but not a bad indicator. Five of the top 10 in this category finished in the top 21 in earnings, including Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Birdie-or-better percentage: The top 16 on this list includes Woods, Anthony Kim, Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan, Nick Watney, Lucas Glover and Phil Mickelson.

In total, 14 winners through the Tour Championship.

And finally . . .

Here are some numbers to ponder:

• 24 of the 41 winners in ’09 were ranked in the top 10 in putting in the events that they won.

• 23 winners were ranked in the top 10 in greens in regulation in the events that they won.

• 11 winners were ranked in the top 10 in driving distance or fairways hit, with 19 winners ranked below the top 25 in fairways hit.

• Six winners in ’09 were ranked first in putting versus zero winners that were ranked first in fairways hit during the weeks when they won.

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