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Best career with the worst putting?


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Hey Hey... Had my first round of golf in a long time (yay shoulder injuries) and it was an interesting experience. Struck the ball way better than I expected and putted waaaayyyyy worse. One of those, "I may as well use the back of this thing" type rounds. Anyway, it got me thinking about pro golfers and their careers especially come majors time. 

 

Who would you say has had the best career being a "sub-standard" putter. Immediately Vijay comes to mind, great ball striker, obsessive grinder on the course and range but always heard his putting held him back.

 

Any others? 

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Sam Snead and it’s not even close... 80+ wins and couldnt make em inside the leather   -Chris

How has nobody mentioned Vijay Singh yet?? He won 9 tournaments in 2004 and he was 129th in strokes gained putting for the season. He also won 3 tournaments in 2008 while being 172nd. His last win cam

Adam Scott...not sure if there is anyone close in the past two decades. 

My picks would be Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia. All would have won more tournament if their putting was as good as their ball-striking.

 

Rory McIlroy gets hot the odd time and usually ends up winning tournaments then by 5 or 6 shots. But week to week he's generally poor and worse than his contemporary rivals and nearly all other great players. When he's off with his putting he's really off.

 

Westwood it's not just putting, it's chipping as well but tee to green an exceptional ball-striker and if he putted better he'd have 3 or 4 majors no doubt.

 

Garcia and Scott also absolute stripers but poor putters. Scott actually started off a decent putter when he was younger but lost it somewhere along the way.

 

Since Rory has had the best career of them, I'd pick him.

Edited by Dave230
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19 minutes ago, Dr. Block said:

Any player whose had a career worth mentioning is a good putter - I would venture to say there is no such thing as a "sub-standard putter" in the show.  You don't get to their level unless you can roll your rock.

 

 

Agreed that all these guys on tv are premier players and definitely not disparaging anyone getting paid to play golf. I was just thinking about in comparison to their peers, guys that even other players think could/should have won more if their putting matched their ball striking

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16 minutes ago, Sonoronsis said:

Was this a career long issue or just towards the end? I know about the move to sidesaddle later on but was the thinking he could have won even more than 80+ times with a better stroke?


imho he had the greatest potential career in history...he threw darts and never made anything

its astonishing he won so much....speaks to how close he hit his drivers and irons....

He once missed a 30” putt to lose the US Open...

 

-Chris

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dumbest putter ever...backstryke with tons of lead tape

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Dustin Johnson. He won 4 times in 2017, was the number 1 ranked golfer in the world, and was still somehow ranked 96th on the tour in SG putting! Looks like he worst year was 2011, where he was 174th in SG putting.

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50 minutes ago, Rory4Pres said:

Rory.  next question? 

Would you rather be a good ball striker or good putter?  Look at the numbers...Rory gained over 2.00 strokes per round tee to green in 2019. The same year he was 24th in SG putting. Most years he has been beyond 100th putting as you noted.  The putting list though is way more volatile year to year with who gained as the margins for putting stats are closer top to bottom.  For instance in 2019 he gained “just” .425 in putting versus #100 on the list .  Tee to green he averages about 1.3 SG per round over the field.  That part of the game is less fickle to annual aberrations.

 

 

 

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Responses to this thread are quite illuminating - goes to show how important ball striking is to being a consistently great player. 

 

With a few exceptions being a premier ball striker is what gets you in the conversation 

 

Flip the question on its head - if you try to name players have the best careers with the worst ball striking it's hard to think of many truly great players who would fit that category

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12 minutes ago, Shilgy said:

Would you rather be a good ball striker or good putter?  Look at the numbers...Rory gained over 2.00 strokes per round tee to green in 2019. The same year he was 24th in SG putting. Most years he has been beyond 100th putting as you noted.  The putting list though is way more volatile year to year with who gained as the margins for putting stats are closer top to bottom.  For instance in 2019 he gained “just” .425 in putting versus #100 on the list .  Tee to green he averages about 1.3 SG per round over the field.  That part of the game is less fickle to annual aberrations.

 

 

 

That proves this discussion is pretty subjective.  Top to bottom of the putting list is separated by half a stroke.  That means the guys who get a hot putter from week to week or for a month long stretch are the ones on TV or the ones having a big season - but they can all putt at a world class level.  It's the biggest reason why they are on the PGA Tour. 

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Unfortunately, Rory- although he doesn't seem to let it get him down and he can be streaky good at putting. 

But: Adam Scott, Lee Westwood, and Louis Oosthuizen are all modern era guys who probably would have had more victories if they were better putters.

Of the older guys, Hogan comes to mind as just an average putter. 

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14 minutes ago, gentles said:

Responses to this thread are quite illuminating - goes to show how important ball striking is to being a consistently great player. 

 

With a few exceptions being a premier ball striker is what gets you in the conversation 

 

Flip the question on its head - if you try to name players have the best careers with the worst ball striking it's hard to think of many truly great players who would fit that category

I think Seve was one of the top 20 to top 25 players of all time but I think his short game wizardy was renowned partly due to the fact that he hit the ball all over the place?

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28 minutes ago, gentles said:

Responses to this thread are quite illuminating - goes to show how important ball striking is to being a consistently great player. 

 

With a few exceptions being a premier ball striker is what gets you in the conversation 

 

Flip the question on its head - if you try to name players have the best careers with the worst ball striking it's hard to think of many truly great players who would fit that category

Brad Faxon, Loren Roberts Aaron Baddely

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10 minutes ago, J Bez said:

Brad Faxon, Loren Roberts Aaron Baddely

Not quite in the same category as others mentioned in this topic (and not a single major among them) which was sort of the point I was trying to make. Not many 2-3 major guys who have a scratchy ball striking careers, but plenty of examples like Rory, Phil, Vijay etc where putting is perceived as being suspect

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3 minutes ago, gentles said:

Not quite in the same category as others mentioned in this topic (and not a single major among them) which was sort of the point I was trying to make. Not many 2-3 major guys who have a scratchy ball striking careers, but plenty of examples like Rory, Phil, Vijay etc where putting is perceived as being suspect

Phil a suspect putter?  A fairly short stretch of inconsistency with 4 footers early in his career aside, the guy is a fantastic putter.  I don't think anybody has a higher gear when their putter gets hot then he does. Up until the last few years, he was always ranked right near the top in the putting statistics.  You can't drive it as wild as he does and shoot the scores he does unless you are a locksmith on the greens.  

 

 

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1 minute ago, Dr. Block said:

Phil a suspect putter?  A fairly short stretch of inconsistency with 4 footers early in his career aside, the guy is a fantastic putter.  I don't think anybody has a higher gear when their putter gets hot then he does. Up until the last few years, he was always ranked right near the top in the putting statistics.  You can't drive it as wild as he does and shoot the scores he does unless you are a locksmith on the greens.  

 

 

I agree he is better than average - was just looking through the names referenced above. He has certainly been let down more than a few times in majors, particularly at the start of his career by missing short ones. Shinnecock '04 and the '01 PGA come to mind. 

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