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Stats Report
  • Strokes gained and season earnings compared

  • Sergio Garcia led the TOUR in strokes gained on approach shots in the 2013-14 season. (Jeff Haynes/Getty Images)Sergio Garcia led the TOUR in strokes gained on approach shots in the 2013-14 season. (Jeff Haynes/Getty Images)

With the conclusion of the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season, we look at two sides of the same coin: where did the money leaders gain their strokes and how much money did the strokes gained leaders in each shot category earn.

Rory McIlroy led the PGA TOUR money earned per event, taking home an average of $487,000 after each tournament.  He also led the TOUR in total strokes gained, beating the field by 2.8 strokes per round.  (For those readers interested in the details, these strokes gained results account for the strength of the field.  Since McIlroy played against stronger-than-average fields, his total strokes gained is larger than reported elsewhere on this site.)  Driving and approach shots were the main keys to McIlroy’s success.  He gained 1.5 strokes per round with his driving (53 percent of the total) and another 0.8 strokes per round with his approach shots (29 percent of the total).  Short game and putting contributed another 0.5 strokes per round. The best player of the season was the best ball-striker. 

The top 10 leaders in money per event for the 2013-14 season earned an average of $279,000 each time they teed it up.  These players gained an average of 1.9 strokes per round on the field, with driving contributing 35 percent to the total, approach shots contributing 40 percent, short game shots contributing 13 percent, and putting contributing 12 percent.  Eight of these players were in the top 10 in total strokes gained per round.  Not surprisingly, there is a very strong correlation between money earned per event and total strokes gained: The players who made the most money were the players who scored the best. The next table provides the details.

 

Strokes gained per round

 

 

 

Money per event in thousands

Golfer

Total

Drive

Appr

Short

Putt

Money

Rory McIlroy

2.8 (1)

1.5 (1)

0.8 (8)

0.1 (69)

0.4 (26)

487 (1)

Sergio Garcia

2.5 (2)

0.5 (19)

1.3 (1)

0.4 (24)

0.3 (53)

309 (2)

Bubba Watson

1.8 (8)

1.1 (2)

0.4 (45)

0.3 (44)

0.0 (99)

302 (3)

Jim Furyk

2.1 (4)

0.2 (69)

1.3 (2)

0.5 (7)

0.2 (69)

285 (4)

Jason Day

1.8 (7)

0.7 (8)

0.2 (83)

0.6 (4)

0.4 (22)

253 (5)

Dustin Johnson

1.5 (12)

0.7 (7)

0.6 (16)

0.0 (95)

0.1 (85)

250 (6)

Adam Scott

2.2 (3)

0.8 (4)

0.8 (9)

0.3 (35)

0.3 (39)

241 (7)

Martin Kaymer

0.6 (50)

0.4 (34)

0.6 (22)

-0.3 (166)

-0.1 (116)

239 (8)

Jimmy Walker

1.5 (10)

0.2 (66)

0.6 (15)

0.2 (60)

0.5 (9)

214 (9)

Justin Rose

1.9 (5)

0.5 (23)

0.9 (5)

0.5 (10)

0.0 (94)

207 (10)

Top 10 average

1.87

0.65

0.75

0.25

0.22

279 (5)

Fraction of total

100%

35%

40%

13%

12%

Strokes gained driving leaders

Rory McIlroy led the PGA TOUR in strokes gained driving, gaining 1.5 strokes per round on the field with his tee shots on par-4 and par-5 holes. The next table shows McIlroy and the other leaders in strokes gained driving. These 10 players earned an average of $200,000 per event.

Golfer Strokes gained driving
Money per event (thousands)

Rory McIlroy

1.49 (1)

487 (1)

Bubba Watson

1.11 (2)

302 (3)

Louis Oosthuizen

0.87 (3)

59 (74)

Adam Scott

0.80 (4)

241 (7)

Ryan Palmer

0.79 (5)

127 (20)

Hunter Mahan

0.74 (6)

124 (22)

Dustin Johnson

0.74 (7)

250 (6)

Jason Day

0.71 (8)

253 (5)

Henrik Stenson

0.70 (9)

126 (21)

Boo Weekley

0.66 (10)

35 (116)

Top 10 average

0.86

200 (11)

Strokes gained approach shot leaders

Sergio Garcia led the PGA TOUR in strokes gained from approach shots (shots starting outside of 100 yards from the hole, excluding tee shots on par-4 and par-5 holes), gaining 1.3 strokes per round on the field. The next table shows Garcia and the other leaders in strokes gained from approach shots. These 10 players earned an average of $229,000 per event, slightly more than the leaders in strokes gained driving.

Golfer Strokes gained approach Money per event (thosuands)

Sergio Garcia

1.34 (1)

250 (6)

Jim Furyk

1.25 (2)

487 (1)

Hideki Matsuyama

1.06 (3)

207 (10)

Graham DeLaet

0.89 (4)

118 (24)

Justin Rose

0.89 (5)

122 (23)

Henrik Stenson

0.87 (6)

241 (7)

Paul Casey

0.87 (7)

309 (2)

Rory McIlroy

0.82 (8)

129 (18)

Adam Scott

0.79 (9)

302 (3)

Kyle Stanley

0.75 (10)

126 (21)

Top 10 average

0.95

229 (9)

Strokes gained short game leaders

Steve Stricker led the PGA TOUR in strokes gained from short game shots (shots starting inside of 100 yards from the hole, excluding putts), gaining 0.8 strokes per round on the field. The next table shows Stricker and the other leaders in strokes gained short game. These 10 players earned an average of $146,000 per event.

Golfer Strokes gained short game
Money per event (thousands)

Steve Stricker

0.80 (1)

105 (34)

Justin Leonard

0.71 (2)

37 (110)

Charl Schwartzel

0.61 (3)

111 (27)

Jason Day

0.58 (4)

253 (5)

Mike Weir

0.57 (5)

34 (118)

Ernie Els

0.55 (6)

75 (53)

Jim Furyk

0.54 (7)

285 (4)

Matt Kuchar

0.48 (8)

196 (11)

Jordan Spieth

0.46 (9)

161 (15)

Justin Rose

0.45 (10)

207 (10)

Top 10 average

0.58

146 (16)

Strokes Gained: Putting leaders

Graeme McDowell led the PGA TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting, gaining 0.9 strokes per round. The next table shows McDowell and the other leaders in Strokes Gained: Putting. These 10 players earned an average of $70,000 per event.

Golfer Strokes Gained: Putting
Money per event (thousands)

Graeme McDowell

0.89 (1)

122 (23)

Aaron Baddeley

0.87 (2)

39 (106)

Greg Chalmers

0.86 (3)

21 (153)

Matt Every

0.74 (4)

98 (38)

Freddie Jacobson

0.71 (5)

70 (57)

Brendon Todd

0.66 (6)

117 (25)

Luke Donald

0.52 (7)

85 (44)

Justin Leonard

0.50 (8)

37 (110)

Daniel Summerhays

0.49 (9)

56 (81)

Morgan Hoffmann

0.49 (10)

50 (87)

Top 10 average

0.67

70 (59)

Looking at 2013-14 season leaders in each shot category, we see that strokes gained leaders in approach shots earned $229,000 per event, compared to $200,000 per event for driving leaders, $146,000 per event for short game leaders and $70,000 per event for putting leaders. In the 2013-14 season, the leaders in money earned per event gained 40 percent of their total strokes from approach shots, more than from driving (35 percent), short game shots (13 percent) or putting (12 percent). These results are two different sides of the same coin: The players who earned the most money gained the most strokes from approach shots and the players with the best approach shots earned the most money.

Mark Broadie is the author of Every Shots Counts, available in bookstores and on amazon.com. See the website everyshotcounts.com for more information.