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  • 9:48 AM Mental Game: Walker's 'Moneyball'

  • Jimmy Walker ranks third in par 4 scoring on the PGA TOUR in 2014. (Gross/Getty Images) Jimmy Walker ranks third in par 4 scoring on the PGA TOUR in 2014. (Gross/Getty Images)

STATS: Jimmy Walker on TOUR in 2014

By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM

Jimmy Walker pulled a method straight out of 'Moneyball' -- he used statistics to make him a much better player. Walker mentioned that statistics showed him he was about 60 over par on the par 4s and 40 over par on the par 3s on the previous year on the PGA TOUR. This analysis allowed him to see that he was playing too aggressively.

He knew he would be a winner on TOUR if he could get those stats to around even par on those holes. Walker took advantage of that knowledge and now has won three times in his last eight starts.

You can also use statistics to make you a better player. Ultimately, this 'Moneyball' tactic allows you to become aware of what you really need to practice. Stats will give you a guide to what is important for you to become a better player. Here are some suggestions that you can employ into your practice game plan:

1. Discover your putting stats. After the round, calculate how many right-to-left breaking putts you made vs. missed, and then compare that same stat with left-to-right breaking putts. You will find that you have more expertise with one type of breaking putt and struggle with the other. Then, with this knowledge, go practice those breaking putts you struggle with so that you can improve your score.

2. Discover your short game stats. To develop a short game profile, keep stats for five rounds on your up-and-down percentages from 10-30 yards, 30-50 yards and 50-80 yards. As an example, you might find that you get up and down from 50 to 80 yards as well as you do from 10 to 30 yards. Your worst yardage is from 30 to 50 yards. This knowledge helps you to set up an effective practice session. More specifically, you should spend most of your time practicing your 30-50-yard shots, and this will ultimately help your score.

As Walker discovered, stats help guide you into creating a plan of attack for improvement. Practicing the right shots will make you money under pressure.

Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a regular guest every Tuesday on “Talk of the Tour” heard on the Sirius/XM PGA TOUR radio. He is a tenured professor of sports psychology and has been the mental game coach for many PGA TOUR players.  Dr. Gregg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf. Inquire about coaching as well as get your autographed copy at www.drgreggsteinberg.com

 

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