Golf Stats: The Numbers That Matter

January, 15, 2009
Iowa heats up Hawaii: 2007 Master's champion and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native Zach Johnson shot four rounds in the 60s (69-65-66-65) to collect his 5th PGA Tour victory this weekend with a two-shot win over Adam Scott and David Toms at the Sony Open.

Johnson was the only player to post top-10 finishes in each of the first two tournaments of 2009, following up a T-6 at the Mercedes in Maui with his win at the Sony. Johnson leaves Hawaii shooting a scorching 30-under in his past six rounds.

Zach Johnson at a Glance

Here's how Zach Johnson fared this week in some of the major statistical categories:

Category Rank (this week) Stat (this week) Leader (this week) Tour Avg. (this week) Leader (YTD) Tour Avg. (YTD)
Driving Distance (in yards) 27 289.3 D.J. Trahan -- 307.6 282.5 Watson -- 320.8 281.6
Driving Accuracy % T3 69.6 Bart Bryant -- 75% 54.4% Gay -- 78.45% 57.26%
GIR % T-12 72.2% Jeff Klauk -- 79.17% 63.4% Leonard -- 90.28% 67.44%
Putting Average T-5 1.673 Donald -- 1.614 1.810 Donald -- 1.614 1.799
Eagles (holes per) T-2 36.0 Bill Haas -- 3 176.8 Haas -- 24.0 151.9
Birdie Avg. T-5 4.50 Adam Scott -- 23 3.15 Johnson -- 6.0 3.49
Scoring Avg. 1 66.36 -- 70.00 Toms -- 66.86 70.69
Sand Save % T-39 50% Maruyama -- 87.50% 50.06 3 tied for 1st -- 100% 49.16%
Total Driving 7 30 D.J. Trahan -- 12 77 Dustin Johnson -- 28 135
Ball Striking 7 19 Ted Purdy -- 9 76 Dustin Johnson -- 6 135
All-Around Ranking 2 184 David Toms -- 157 423 Toms -- 157 504
FedEx Cup Points 1 500 -- 46 Zach Johnson -- 589 69
Money Leaders 1 $972,000 -- $38,073 Zach Johnson -- $1.161M $121,703
• More PGA Tour statistics

Johnson masters Waialae
Johnson was just flat out solid across the board this weekend. He has added distance off the tee and was very precise, hitting nearly 70 percent of his greens in regulation. He was T-3 in the stat for the week. As most champions do, Johnson made the putts he needed to: he finished T-5 in putting average, and he didn't miss a single putt from 3, 6, or 7 feet.

Golf Stats: The Numbers That Matter

Every golfer and golf fan knows the sport is a game of numbers. One of the most distinct characteristics of golf is that any player's efforts are summarized by an absolute and final statistic: the score. However, as any visitor to the 19th hole knows, the story of the game cannot be told in full by the tally at the end of the round.

"Golf Stats: The Numbers That Matter" is your weekly source of insight into the numbers that make a difference in golf, focusing on the PGA Tour. Whether you're looking to wow your buddies in your Saturday foursome or get a little extra help for your fantasy team or are just a stats junkie, this blog is for you.

Every week, this sliver of the Internet will be your one-stop shop for the unique and significant golf stats that best tell the stories beyond the scores.

Johnson also did not miss an up and down from inside 10 yards. He was in the top 10 in nearly all the major statistical categories, with the exception of driving distance (27th), GIR (12th) and sand save percentage (39th). Note that he was only 7 percent off the tourney leader in GIR percentage and he was in four bunkers all week.

Fujikawa indeed stands tall
Tadd Fujikawa, at 18 years old and listed at 5-foot-1, posted a 1-under 69 on Friday to make the cut for the first time as a professional in his ninth PGA Tour appearance. He reached the weekend after qualifying for one of the four play-in spots last Monday. Fujikawa began the final round only two shots off the lead; he was looking to become the youngest PGA Tour winner in history (that distinction remains with 1911 U.S. Open winner Johnny McDermott, who was 19 years, 10 months when he won the major championship).

Fujikawa finished T-32 at 5 under after rounds of 71-69-62-73 and took home a check for $29,237. Fujikawa's 8-under 62 in round three Saturday was one stroke shy of the Waialae Country Club course record set by David Toms, who fired a third-round 61 in 2006. The key to Fujikawa's success in round three was a matter of accuracy. In both rounds one and two, Fujikawa hit 10 of 18 greens in regulation. In round three, however, he improved that stat by hitting 14 of 18 GIR.

Coming into this week, Fujikawa had more PGA Tour rounds in the 80s (three) than the 60s (two), and his pair of 66s came two years ago at the 2007 Sony Open.

Following Fujikawa

Tadd Fujikawa's record through his 9th career PGA Tour start.

Year Event Score Finish
2009 Sony Open 71-69-62-73 -- 275 T-32
2008 Sony Open 74-70 CUT
2008 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am 72-81-75 CUT
2008 Honda Classic 78-76 CUT
2007 Sony Open 71-66-66-72 -- 275 T-20
2007 Reno-Tahoe Open 78-71 CUT
2007 Open 74-80 CUT
2007 Children's Mircale Network Classic 71-72 CUT
2006 U.S. Open 81-77 CUT

Does Tadd have a protégé?
Fujikawa wasn't the only teenage Islander making headlines this week. Lorens Chan, at 14 years, 7 months old, took part in his first PGA Tour event, but failed in his attempt to become the youngest player in PGA Tour history to make a cut -- a distinction held by Bob Panasik, who was 15 years, 8 months old when he made the cut at the 1957 Canadian Open. Chan missed the weekend by six strokes after shooting 72-75.

Simple as a dimple
Last year, the par 5-9th hole at Waialae was the 7th easiest hole on tour in 2008 relative to par (-.603). This year, it may take the title as easiest, averaging -.803 below par. The hole nearly averaged a birdie for the entire field!

The 510-yard hole gave up an astounding 34 eagles and 293 birdies this week while only suffering 4 bogeys and 1 double. The par breaker totals are up by 19 eagles and 49 birdies from a year ago, while the bogeys are down 11 and there was one fewer double. Relative to par, that is a 33 percent scoring improvement on a hole that was already ranked the 7th easiest out of 972 holes.

Q-school or Nationwide .. that is the question
The first full field of 2009 allows for an interesting comparison between the Nationwide Tour graduates and the players earning their cards at Q-school. It appears the Nationwide grads faired better this week, with 12 of 23 eligible players making the cut, compared to the Q-school's eight of 20. Highlighting the former Nationwide grads were Jeff Klauk, Scott Piercy, and Marc Leishman who all finished at 7 under and tied for 12th.

Klauk led the field in GIR percentage, hitting 79.17 percent. Of this subsetted field, the Q-school qualifiers did feature the best finisher in tour rookie and Wake Forest grad Webb Simpson (T-9). With this top-10 finish, Simpson earned his way into the FBR Open in two weeks.

Q-school medalist Harrison Frazar made headlines by firing a 59 back in December; he played the weekend at the Sony Open but finished T-51.

Aloha for now, but don't miss this
• After Geoff Ogilvy's T-32 finish a week after winning the Mercedes-Benz Championship, Ernie Els remains as the only player to win both Hawaii events in the same year (2003.) Els (T-39 this week) had never finished worse than fifth at the Sony Open. He improved each day (72-69-68-67) but still ended up 11 shots behind winner Zach Johnson.

• Champions Tour regulars Loren Roberts and Jeff Sluman teed it up against the young bucks this weekend in Hawaii, but neither made the cut.

• Since next week's 50th Bob Hope Classic hosted by Arnold Palmer is an invitational tournament, any player who finished inside the top 10 at the Sony Open not otherwise exempt earns entry into the FBR Open in two weeks.

• Casey Wittenberg recorded the first ace of the season on Saturday with a 4-iron from 201 yards on the fourth hole at Waialae Country Club. Five holes later, Wittenberg posted another eagle at the par-5 9th. He finished moving day with a 2-under 68 and finished the weekend T-55.

• Tom Pernice Jr. -- who shared the 36-hole lead with Nathan Green -- needed just 20 putts during his second round.

Send comments, suggestions, and corrections to





You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?