PGA TOUR introduces new strokes gained stats
May 31, 2016
- The new strokes gained statistics will allow for more detailed analysis of players' games. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
The PGA TOUR has announced the next expansion phase of the strokes gained statistic that will break out strokes gained: tee-to-green into three specific components including strokes gained: off-the-tee, strokes gained: approach-the-green and strokes gained: around-the-green.
The three new statistics, which are being introduced today at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, apply the same foundation as strokes gained: putting to more accurately compare a player’s non-putting performance to the rest of the field.
“This completes our holistic view of play under the strokes gained umbrella,” said Steve Evans, PGA TOUR Senior Vice President, Information Systems. “We started with putting and tee-to-green and now we have broken the tee-to-green statistic into its component parts. This enables us, for the first time, to quantify player performance and explain how a player achieves his success on the course. This is an exciting time for us as we continue to provide modern analytics to our sport.”
The groundbreaking strokes gained: putting statistic was unveiled in 2011 and strokes gained: tee-to-green was added in 2014.
“The strokes gained concept provides us with numerous future opportunities,” Evans continued. “Now that we have computed the baselines and statistics for each phase of the game we can focus on how to leverage this data when telling the story of the best players in the world. Strokes gained gives us the ability to explain performance and objectively compare multiple player performances. It also allows us to leverage the baseline data to compute probability for each player situation. People have seen this executed in our telecasts for putting. Now we can bring probability to the rest of the game.”
ShotLink, powered by PGA TOUR technology partner CDW, is the TOUR’s proprietary real-time scoring system that was fully implemented in 2003 and captures multiple data points on every shot struck during competition, which in turn translates into thousands of statistics.
“We continue to find creative ways to utilize the stream of data collected by the ShotLink system,” said Matt Troka, Senior Vice President of Product and Partner Management at CDW. “What we like about the strokes gained statistics is the continued application of multiple ShotLink data points to establish a new and extremely relevant means of measuring performance on the PGA TOUR.”
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 putting performance relative to his fellow competitors in a tournament. It takes into account putting proficiency by distance 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 remains an integral part of the equation to calculate strokes gained: off-the-tee, strokes gained: approach-the-green and strokes gained: around-the-green. Each statistic is based on the concept of how many strokes were gained or lost to the field for each round.
In order to calculate strokes gained for each category the TOUR created a baseline for player performance from all distances and locations. The baseline, established from the last five years of ShotLink data, was utilized to calculate the average strokes needed for every distance from the tee to get the ball in the hole.
Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
Strokes gained: off-the-tee includes all tee shots on par-4s and par-5s. For event and season-level statistics, a player’s total strokes gained or lost off the tee are added together and divided by the number of rounds played to determine his average strokes gained per round versus the field.
Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green
Strokes gained: approach-the-green measures the tee shot on par-3s and the first shot following a tee shot on par-4s and par-5s. For event and season-level statistics, a player’s total strokes gained or lost on approach shots are added together and divided by the number of rounds played to determine his average strokes gained per round.
Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
Strokes gained: around-the-green measures any shot (not on the green) from within 30 yards of the edge of the green. For event and season-level statistics, a player’s total strokes gained or lost around the green are added together and divided by the number of rounds played to determine his average strokes gained per round.
As with strokes gained: putting, strokes Gained: off-the-tee, approach-the-green and around-the-green can track players’ performances 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 PGA TOUR continues to make ShotLink powered by CDW 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 will continue to develop the strokes gained model and will work on the introduction of additional insights in other areas of the concept over time.