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Stats Report
  • Strokes Gained: THE PLAYERS

  • Tiger Woods lost shots to the field in driving, short game and putting at THE PLAYERS. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)Tiger Woods lost shots to the field in driving, short game and putting at THE PLAYERS. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Rickie Fowler prevailed in a playoff over Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner to win THE PLAYERS Championship and notch his second PGA TOUR victory.  Fowler had top fives in all four majors last year, but he finally broke through this week against the toughest field in golf.

Fowler’s 5-under par closing 67, the lowest score of the day, gained 5.2 strokes on the field.  After losing nearly one stroke to the field through the first 12 holes, Fowler gained an astounding 6.0 strokes on the field in the final six holes with one par, four birdies, and one eagle.  In this six-hole stretch, Fowler gained 2.8 strokes with his putting, sinking putts of length 7, 13, 14, and 17 feet.  Fowler gained 3.3 strokes tee-to-green on the final six holes, highlighted by his 239-yard 3-wood that he hit to 3 feet on hole 16 to set up his eagle.  That single shot gained 1.5 strokes on the field.

For the tournament, approach shots contributed 50 percent of Fowler's total gain against the field with putting contributing another 25 percent.  In the final round, Fowler gained 4.0 strokes with his putting (with most of the gain coming in the final six holes) out of his total gain of 5.2 strokes on the field.  Here's a round-by-round strokes gained breakdown of Fowler's play at the PLAYERS:

  Strokes gained per round (ranks in parentheses)   Rank
Rickie Fowler Total Drive Appr Short Putt out of
2015 Season 0.7 (40) 0.2 (65) 0.4 (49) 0.3 (41) -0.1 (130) 194
THE PLAYERS Championship 3.0 (1) 0.4 (28) 1.5 (7) 0.3 (34) 0.8 (20) 75
Round 1 3.4 (17) 1.0 (29) 3.1 (7) -0.8 (112) 0.1 (70) 143
Round 2 3.2 (15) 1.0 (22) 1.9 (16) 1.1 (25) -0.9 (106) 140
Round 3 0.2 (40) -1.0 (65) -0.9 (57) 2.3 (2) -0.2 (43) 75
Round 4 5.2 (1) 0.8 (20) 2.0 (10) -1.5 (70) 4.0 (1) 75

Here's a strokes gained breakdown of the top-12 finishers at THE PLAYERS:

  Strokes gained per round (ranks in parentheses)
Golfer Total Drive Appr Short Putt
Rickie Fowler 3.0 (1) 0.4 (28) 1.5 (7) 0.3 (34) 0.8 (20)
Sergio Garcia 3.0 (T2) 1.0 (6) 1.6 (6) 1.0 (7) -0.5 (57)
Kevin Kisner 3.0 (T2) 0.2 (44) 1.0 (16) 0.9 (8) 0.9 (16)
Ben Martin 2.7 (T4) 0.4 (31) 1.3 (10) -0.1 (50) 1.2 (10)
Bill Haas 2.7 (T4) 0.6 (16) 1.4 (8) 0.6 (17) 0.2 (40)
Rory Sabbatini 2.2 (T4) 0.2 (41) 1.0 (17) -0.5 (68) 1.6 (2)
Kevin Na 2.2 (T7) 0.0 (54) 0.4 (32) 0.7 (16) 1.2 (9)
Brian Harman 2.0 (T7) 0.7 (10) -0.4 (61) -0.1 (51) 1.8 (1)
Rory McIlroy 2.0 (T9) 1.1 (3) 1.2 (11) 0.1 (45) -0.5 (59)
Jamie Donaldson 2.0 (T9) 0.5 (20) -0.1 (50) 0.7 (15) 0.9 (17)
John Senden 2.0 (T9) 0.5 (21) -0.3 (55) 0.3 (31) 1.5 (4)
Ryo Ishikawa 2.0 (T9) 0.2 (45) 0.5 (31) 0.4 (27) 1.0 (14)
Top 12 average 2.4 0.5 0.8 0.4 0.8
Fraction of total 100% 20% 31% 15% 34%

Sergio Garcia almost won the tournament in spite of putting worse than the field.  Kevin Kisner gained nearly equal amounts on the field with his approach shots, short game, and putting.  Tiger Woods had an up-and-down four rounds, but showed flashes of brilliance with his approach shots in the final round. 

Here are round-by-round strokes gained breakdowns of the play of Sergio Garcia, Kevin Kisner and Tiger Woods at THE PLAYERS:

  Strokes gained per round (ranks in parentheses)   Rank
Sergio Garcia Total Drive Appr Short Putt out of
2015 Season 1.8 (6) 0.5 (15) 0.6 (21) 0.7 (3) 0.0 (92) 194
THE PLAYERS Championship 3.0 (T2) 1.0 (6) 1.6 (6) 1.0 (7) -0.5 (57) 75
Round 1 3.4 (19) 0.3 (75) 1.4 (31) 2.0 (6) -0.2 (81) 143
Round 2 0.2 (79) 0.7 (37) 2.6 (4) 0.9 (32) -4.0 (139) 140
Round 3 4.2 (5) 1.8 (2) 0.2 (33) 1.8 (5) 0.4 (31) 75
Round 4 4.2 (4) 1.0 (12) 2.1 (9) -0.9 (58) 1.9 (12) 75
  Strokes gained per round (ranks in parentheses)   Rank
Kevin Kisner Total Drive Appr Short Putt out of
2015 Season 0.6 (57) 0.4 (32) 0.1 (98) 0.0 (107) 0.1 (84) 194
THE PLAYERS Championship 3.0 (T2) 0.2 (44) 1.0 (16) 0.9 (8) 0.9 (16) 75
Round 1 -0.6 (81) -1.1 (119) 0.5 (59) 1.4 (13) -1.4 (116) 143
Round 2 5.2 (3) 0.5 (45) 0.1 (71) -0.7 (105) 5.4 (1) 140
Round 3 4.2 (7) -0.2 (44) 2.1 (6) 1.7 (6) 0.6 (28) 75
Round 4 3.2 (13) 1.5 (4) 1.2 (18) 1.3 (11) -0.8 (52) 75
  Strokes gained per round (ranks in parentheses)   Rank
Tiger Woods Total Drive Appr Short Putt out of
2015 Season -2.3 (193) -0.6 (188) 0.4 (41) -1.8 (194) -0.2 (141) 194
THE PLAYERS Championship -0.8 (70) -1.0 (72) 0.8 (19) -0.5 (65) -0.1 (46) 75
Round 1 -0.6 (92) -1.5 (128) 0.4 (63) 0.9 (37) -0.4 (88) 143
Round 2 1.2 (47) 0.5 (50) -0.2 (80) 0.2 (68) 0.7 (44) 140
Round 3 -3.8 (64) -0.4 (53) 0.7 (26) -2.1 (71) -1.9 (62) 75
Round 4 0.2 (35) -2.5 (71) 2.4 (8) -0.9 (59) 1.2 (23) 75

Here’s a strokes gained breakdown of the final round for the top-12 finishers at THE PLAYERS:

  Strokes gained in the final round (ranks in parentheses)
Player Total Drive Appr Short Putt
Rickie Fowler 5.2 (1) 0.8 (20) 2.0 (10) -1.5 (70) 4.0 (1)
Sergio Garcia 4.2 (4) 1.0 (12) 2.1 (9) -0.9 (58) 1.9 (12)
Kevin Kisner 3.2 (13) 1.5 (4) 1.2 (18) 1.3 (11) -0.8 (52)
Ben Martin 2.2 (23) 0.3 (38) 3.0 (4) -0.4 (46) -0.6 (50)
Bill Haas 2.2 (17) 0.6 (29) 3.2 (2) -0.3 (42) -1.3 (59)
Rory Sabbatini 3.2 (11) 1.2 (9) 0.8 (26) -0.8 (57) 2.0 (8)
Kevin Na 1.2 (29) 0.4 (34) -1.9 (63) 2.3 (3) 0.4 (32)
Brian Harman 2.2 (22) 0.6 (27) 0.7 (28) -0.3 (44) 1.3 (22)
Rory McIlroy 2.2 (18) 0.7 (25) 1.4 (16) 0.5 (26) -0.3 (41)
Jamie Donaldson 5.2 (2) 1.2 (10) 0.6 (30) 1.3 (13) 2.2 (7)
John Senden 2.2 (21) 0.1 (40) -0.6 (48) 0.1 (34) 2.6 (5)
Ryo Ishikawa 1.2 (27) -0.4 (54) -0.4 (43) 0.5 (28) 1.5 (14)

For strokes gained analysis of other tournaments, see http://everyshotcounts.com/.

 
A very brief explanation of strokes gained: 
Strokes gained is a measure of the quality of a golf shot.  A shot with positive strokes gained indicates a better-than-average shot for a PGA TOUR pro.  For example, suppose on a difficult par-4 that the PGA TOUR average score is 4.2.  An average drive for a PGA TOUR player would reduce the average strokes to hole out by one, from 4.2 to 3.2.  If a player hit a long drive into the fairway where the PGA TOUR average strokes to hole out is 2.9, then the shot gained 0.3 strokes compared to the PGA TOUR average.  If a player hit a short drive into the rough where the PGA TOUR average strokes to hole out is 3.4, then the shot lost 0.2 strokes compared to the PGA TOUR average.  Strokes gained from all shots are accumulated and grouped into convenient categories to measure the performance of players in a round, tournament, or season.  For example, the gain from all tee shots on par-4 and par-5 holes is strokes gained driving measure.  The gain from all shots starting outside 100 yards from the hole, excluding tee shots on par-4 and par-5 holes, is strokes gained from approach shots.