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Top 10 Stats of the Year

6 Min Read

Stats Report

Top 10 Stats of the Year

PGA TOUR on-course numbers that shaped a memorable 2022

    Written by Justin Ray, @JustinRayGolf

    Perhaps the most difficult part of coming up with a year-end list of the best stats in golf is narrowing them down to a palatable, round number.

    It’s a testament to the quality of play fans enjoyed all year long in 2022 – from the scoring bonanza to open up the year in Hawaii, to Viktor Hovland’s clutch putt to seal back-to-back wins at the Hero World Challenge.

    In between, history was made seemingly at every turn of this fascinating, tumultuous 12 months in golf.

    10. Russell Henley posted the lowest 72-hole total in PGA TOUR history by a player to not win.

    For most of the 2022 Sony Open in Hawaii, it looked like Russell Henley was going to pick up his second Waialae win, site of his maiden title nine years prior. His opening 36-hole total of 125 (62-63) gave him a three-stroke lead entering the weekend. That advantage was two strokes with one round to play after Hideki Matsuyama’s Saturday 63.

    Henley shot 65 in the final round, but was defeated by Matsuyama in a playoff. In the history of the PGA TOUR, there have been 23 instances of a player recording a 72-hole score of 258 or lower. Henley – who finished regulation with 257 – is the only one of those players not to win.

    9. Sebastián Muñoz became the first player in TOUR history with two rounds of 60 or lower in the same season.

    On a TOUR with such rich history, it’s difficult to etch your name into the record books. It’s exceedingly rare to do something no player has ever done. When Muñozfinished an opening round 60 at the AT&T Byron Nelson, he became the only player in TOUR history to record multiple rounds of 60 or lower in the same season. He had also opened with 60 at The RSM Classic in the fall.

    How rare is it to go that low? Only 7 players in TOUR history have recorded multiple rounds of 60 or lower in their careers. Some of the greatest champions in the TOUR’s history have never carded 60 or lower in an official event – among them Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods. Muñoz capped off his historic season with his first Presidents Cup appearance at Quail Hollow.

    8. Cameron Young had seven top-three finishes in the 2021-22 season, but no wins – a first on the PGA TOUR since 1993.

    Cameron Young seemingly did everything in his rookie PGA TOUR season except get into the winner’s circle. His consistently great performance netted him $6.5M in official earnings, the most all-time by a player in his rookie season, and the most by any player in a season without a win. Buoyed by a powerful driver (2nd on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee), Young finished the season sixth in birdie rate and in the top-20 in both Strokes Gained: Total and scoring average.

    In 2022, Young became the first player to have a season with seven top-3’s and zero victories since Hall of Famer Payne Stewart in 1993.

    7. Will Zalatoris had six top-eight finishes in his first nine career majors – something no player had done since 1957.

    In recent years, no player has knocked on the door in major championships without barging into the winner’s circle quite as often as Will Zalatoris. Since the beginning of 2021, Zalatoris has averaged 2.51 Strokes Gained: Total per round in the majors, the best of any player in that span. At this year’s U.S. Open at Brookline, Zalatoris finished tied for second, already his third career runner-up finish in a major.

    Most Strokes Gained: Total Per Round - Majors Since 2021
    PlayerStrokes gained
    Will Zalatoris2.51
    Scottie Scheffler2.38
    Collin Morikawa2.21
    Rory McIlroy2.17
    Jon Rahm2.10
    Jordan Spieth1.84

    It was also his sixth top-eight finish in just his ninth career major championship start. The now-26-year-old American was the first player to have six top-eight finishes in his first nine majors since Antonio Cerda of Argentina in 1957.

    6. Tom Kim became the youngest player to win twice on the PGA TOUR in 90 years.

    When Tom Kim won the Wyndham Championship in August, he became the youngest winner from outside the United States to win on TOUR since Harry Cooper in 1923. When he won the Shriners Children’s Open two months later, he became the youngest multiple TOUR winner since three-time major champ Ralph Guldahl 90 years ago. Kim was the first since Tiger Woods to reach two wins before age 21 – beating Tiger to the punch by about six months.

    That might not even be the most impressive aspect of his win in Vegas, though. Kim didn’t make a single bogey, becoming just the second player in the last 40 years to win an individual PGA TOUR event without dropping a shot.

    5. Justin Thomas staged the largest final round comeback to win a major since 1999.

    Trailing Mito Pereira by seven shots entering the final round at Southern Hills, Justin Thomas needed something incredible on Sunday of the PGA Championship if he were to pick up major win number two. JT got it – gaining nearly 3.5 strokes tee-to-green on the back nine – and his final round 67 forced a playoff he would win over Zalatoris.

    The seven-shot final round comeback tied the third largest by a men’s major champion in the modern era. It was the largest to win a major since Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open – who was 10 back of Jean van de Velde

    4. Matt Fitzpatrick joined Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open at the same course.

    Nine years after becoming the first Englishman to win the U.S. Amateur since 1911, Matt Fitzpatrick returned to The Country Club, site of that victory, and assembled a final round ball striking show for the ages. Fitzpatrick hit 17 greens in regulation on his way to winning the U.S. Open – one of just three players in the last 30 years to hit 17 or more greens in the final round of a major championship victory.

    Fitzpatrick is one of just two players in history to win the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open at the same venue. Jack Nicklaus also accomplished the feat, doing so at Pebble Beach.

    3. Scottie Scheffler went from winless on the PGA TOUR to 1st in the World Ranking in 42 days.

    The spring of 2022 undoubtedly belonged to Scottie Scheffler, who’s lightning ascent to the peak of the game rivaled any great run by a single player in recent years. In the hours before the Super Bowl began, Scheffler was arguably the best player in the world without a PGA TOUR win to his credit. 42 days after winning the WM Phoenix Open, he was number one in the Official World Golf Ranking. It was by far the shortest amount of time between a first PGA or DP World Tour victory and reaching the top spot – the previous mark was held by Tiger Woods in 1997, at 252 days.

    Fewest Days Between 1st PGA or DPWT Win and No. 1 in World
    YearPlayerNumber of Days
    2022Scottie Scheffler42
    1997Tiger Woods252
    1999David Duval532
    2015Jordan Spieth763

    Scheffler was the first player to make his debut as the OWGR number one at Augusta since Ian Woosnam in 1991. Just like Woosnam, Scheffler went on to win.

    2. For 40 years, nobody had opened a tournament with triple bogey or worse and won on the PGA TOUR. Then it happened twice in the same month.

    The PGA TOUR has been keeping hole-by-hole data for the last 40 seasons. From 1983 through July of 2022, in the more than 1,700 official stroke play events contested, there was not a single instance of a player starting a tournament with triple bogey or worse and going on to win. Then, in August, it happened twice!

    At the Wyndham Championship, Tom Kim began his week with quadruple bogey. Incredibly, he went on to win by five shots after a leaderboard climb that featured a front nine 27 on Sunday. Three weeks later in Atlanta, Rory McIlroy, who was already ceding six “Starting Strokes” to Scottie Scheffler, opened his tournament with triple bogey and still won.

    1. For the first time since the inception of the Masters in 1934, all four majors were won by players younger than 30.

    The value in the number one statistic of the year is just how unthinkable it is that we have never seen it before. For the first time in the four-major era of men’s golf, all four winners in a calendar year were 29 or younger. Fifteen times in the modern era, we have had three majors won in a year by players in their 20s – but never four-for-four.

    It also makes it six different major winners in a row – all under the age of 30 – the first time the men’s game has experienced that since the inaugural Masters Tournament.

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