PGA TOUR unveils Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green stat
August 26, 2014
- The new statistic expands upon successful Strokes Gained concept introduced in 2011 for putting. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Building upon the highly successful Strokes Gained: Putting statistic, the PGA TOUR on Tuesday unveiled the next generation Strokes Gained category that will focus on player performance beyond the green.
Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green applies the same foundation as Strokes Gained: Putting to more accurately compare a player’s non-putting performance to the rest of the field.
“Strokes Gained: Putting truly was groundbreaking in regard to having an outside source take the massive amount of data provided by ShotLink, analyze it and creatively apply it to compare player performances,” said Steve Evans, PGA TOUR Senior Vice President, Information Systems. “Tee-to-Green is the next logical step in utilizing the Strokes Gained formula to provide further insight into the intricacies of competition. We anticipate the development of new categories for ‘Beyond the Green’ through continued use of ShotLink data.”
ShotLink, powered by PGA TOUR technology partner CDW, is the TOUR’s proprietary real-time scoring system that captures multiple data points on every shot struck during competition, which in turn translates into thousands of statistics.
“We are thrilled to partner with the PGA TOUR to develop the infrastructure that allows continuing development of new innovations like Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green to help fans at every level better appreciate and understand the sport,” said Jim Mitchel, CDW Vice President of Marketing Communications and Advertising.
The “strokes gained” concept was initially developed by Professor Mark Broadie of Columbia University, utilizing ShotLink data that has been made available to academic institutions for research since 2007. In 2009, a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology led by Professor Stephen Graves used Broadie’s “strokes gained” approach to rank putters on the PGA TOUR. Broadie and Graves then consulted with the PGA TOUR on the TOUR’s initial implementation in 2011.
Strokes Gained: Putting presents player putting efficiency in a more accurate, meaningful way by measuring his putting performance relative to his fellow competitors in a tournament. It 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.
Strokes Gained: Putting now becomes part of the equation to calculate Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
First, a player’s score will be compared to the field’s average to establish a Strokes Gained: Total number. For instance, if a player shoots 68 and the field average is 70, his Total is +2.0. That number, in turn, will equal the combination of Strokes Gained: Putting and Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. So if the player is +1.2 in Strokes Gained: Putting, his Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green number is +0.8.
Conversely, a player who shoots 72 in the same round has a -2.0 Total and is -1.1 in Strokes Gained: Putting, his Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green number is -0.9.
Based on season data through last week’s The Barclays, the top-5 players in Tee-to-Green are: Rory McIlroy, +2.019; Sergio Garcia, +1.855; Jim Furyk, +1.639; Hideki Matsuyama, +1.618; and Justin Rose, +1.611.
As with Strokes Gained: Putting, Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green can track players’ performance back through the 2004 PGA TOUR season, since it is based on ShotLink data that already has been collected.
Prior to the introduction of Strokes Gained: Putting, the primary overarching putting statistic continued to be Putts Per Round, which simply measures the average number of putts a player takes over 18 holes and can be skewed by chipping close to the hole after missing a green.
The introduction of Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green now allows for the complete analysis of player performance versus the field.
The PGA TOUR continues to make ShotLink data available to academics for creative exploration that ultimately may lead to the development of new official statistics, such as the Strokes Gained category. The TOUR continues to develop the Strokes Gained model and will work on the introduction of additional insights in other areas of the concept over time.