ShotLink Intelligence allowing more golf stats to be used in research

March 01, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The PGA TOUR has announced that the program that provides ShotLink data for research by professors and graduate students at institutions of higher education is being upgraded through official technology sponsor CDW's involvement and being named ShotLink Intelligence Powered by CDW.

The primary objective of ShotLink Intelligence Powered by CDW is to offer academic institutions the ability to use golf and the PGA TOUR as a research tool, fostering the development of new insights into the sport. These include academic journals, business publications, teaching curricula and others.

To further build awareness and interest in the data, CDW and the PGA TOUR have created the ShotLink Intelligence Prize. Program participants may submit papers based on research they have conducted on the ShotLink dataset. Papers will be judged by a panel and the winning submission will receive a $25,000 technology gift for its institution. Submissions will also be peer reviewed for publication in a special issue of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports devoted exclusively to golf research.

CDW is collaborating with the PGA TOUR to strengthen the program, including a more robust presence on PGATOUR.COM that shares select research papers online. The PGA TOUR and CDW also are looking at ways to continue the growth of the program, which to date has seen ShotLink data provided to approximately 90 faculty and other participants from more than 65 colleges and universities.

CDW also is becoming a sponsor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, which runs March 2 and 3 at the MIT campus in Cambridge, Mass. More details on ShotLink Intelligence Powered by CDW and the ShotLink Intelligence Prize are available at

"We are excited to work with CDW to continue the growth of this academic initiative," said Ty Votaw, PGA TOUR Executive Vice President. "It is a logical extension of finding new ways to maximize the wealth of data that ShotLink gathers each and every week on the PGA TOUR. By recording data on every shot struck, ShotLink has led to the creation of hundreds of new statistics and has provided far greater insight into our competitions. By sharing this information with both college professors and young creative minds, we can unlock even greater insights into what this data can tell us, as was the case with the introduction of the Strokes Gained-Putting statistic last year."

Unveiled in May 2011, the Strokes Gained-Putting statistic not only is a product of ShotLink Intelligence Powered by CDW, but an indication of the possibilities of when academic minds gain access to the ShotLink statistical data.

Since being introduced, Strokes Gained-Putting has been acknowledged by players, media and the PGA TOUR's television partners as a much more accurate, meaningful way to present player putting efficiency. The concept of strokes gained-putting was initially put forward by Professor Mark Broadie of Columbia Business School. It was further analyzed in collaboration with a team from the MIT led by Professor Stephen Graves and ultimately refined further by the PGA TOUR for use as one of the TOUR's core reported statistics. Strokes Gained-Putting measures a player's putting performance relative to his fellow competitors in a tournament and offers a more accurate portrayal of his overall putting performance.

The PGA TOUR initially began sharing ShotLink data with academic institutions in 2005, establishing a formal process for academics to gain not-for-profit access to the wealth of statistical data collected by ShotLink at PGA TOUR tournaments for academic purposes. The program has grown substantially since then, and now has the potential to offer far greater insights into the PGA TOUR.