The PGA TOUR is portrayed through the lens of television. While each tournament showcases the best players at the moment, it also is intended to tell a story. Often times it appears that players never miss a shot, especially the closer they get towards the hole. But once Sunday afternoon comes around the audience begins to see PGA TOUR players are human after all.
The implication through television is that everyone in the field makes putts from inside 5 or 10 feet. The reality is they don’t. The proof is supplied by ShotLink, which records every shot played in every tournament. It has done so since 2004.
Every Shot Counts is a new book by Mark Broadie, who helped to develop the strokes-gain approach for the PGA TOUR. Broadie, a professor at Columbia Business School, pioneered the strokes gained putting statistic, which was adopted by the PGA TOUR in 2011. In his new book, Broadie looks at the PGA TOUR by way of a statistical analysis. The book isn’t just about the elite players that make their living on the PGA TOUR. He also crunches a mountain of data, dating back to 2004, to show what really impacts players’ scores and reveals why many long-held assumptions about the game are actually false! After all numbers don’t lie!!
Who’s more likely to win: an amateur playing a best-ball scramble, or a pro playing a worst-ball scramble? Would you score better if you had a PGA TOUR pro hit all of your shots outside 100 yards from the hole, or if the pro hit all of your shots within 100 yards of the hole? What about the effect of a larger hole? Think it would make a significant difference in the outcome for all players: good and bad?
The technique of simulation, developed at the dawn of the computer and atomic eras, models the behavior of real world systems inside a computer. One of the very first computer programs calculated the trajectories of missiles to make artillery more accurate for the military, a challenge that is a lot like simulating the flight of a golf ball. Today, simulation has a wide variety of applications, including weather and climate forecasting, medicine, the design of traffic light systems, flight simulators for pilot training as well as video games!
If a pro could magically add 20 yards to his drives, how much would his score drop? Some might think there isn’t enough information available to attempt to answer this question. Thanks to the person responsible for bringing the world the strokes gained putting statistic, there are ways to tackle this issue.