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Tour players who cannot putt


playit
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If I am reading this correctly, the pros are routinely sinking long putts! This is for 2021 and the best are making 7 putts over 10 feet per round. That's some putting! But look down the list, and lots of them are making lots of longer putts.

 

I looked at 2022, which has already started, and in 8 rounds, Nick Watney averaged 13 putts per round over 10 feet! Sheesh, that is bombing them in, lol. Dang, he was making everything!

 

https://www.pgatour.com/content/pgatour/stats/stat.434.y2021.html

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11 hours ago, playit said:

Golf is actually two games, ball-striking and putting. Has there been any pro that is a great ball-striker and a terrible putter? I don't mean that he's just a so-so putter for a pro, I mean he's really a crappy putter! It would seem that they have to be a decent putter to even get on the tour. I mean, you hit a bunch of greens as an amateur, ok, but then you still have to make a boatload of birdies to even qualify for the tour!

 

I saw something recently where it was talking about how good a ball-striker Bruce Leitzke was and was dead last in putting stats. Which the author was saying proves just how good a ball-striker he was, lol. I don't recall him being a bad putter. Maybe it was just one year, I dunno.

 

Anyone come to mind where you could say, "If he would have been a great putter, he would have won everything!"

 

EDIT:  I recall there being some talk about Hal Sutton being such a great ball-striker but bad putter. And when I would watch his putting stroke, I'd be thinking, "How does he ever miss!" His stroke looked good. Maybe he couldn't read 'em.

 

Or, do you have a friend who this fits, who just absolutely canNOT putt?

Yeah there's not really such thing as a terrible putter on tour. Moe Norman is the the only person that comes to mind when I think of "bad" putting.  

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8 hours ago, tacklingdummy said:

Lee Westwood, Tom Watson, and Fred Couples come to mind. However, I think Lee Westwood tops the list.  He has missed so many short putts at crucial times or just a low percentage of them in both majors and other tournaments.  Had he made a few more, it could have easily pushed him into the winning's circle. 

 

 

Tom Watson? I disagree there... He won 8 majors. In his prime he was the best putter next to Jack Nicklaus. 

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I would not say “can’t putt” for any tour player, any player on tour can fill it up on any given day.  It’s easy to say Westwood, Scott, etc are bad putters because we see them struggle on tv from time time and miss shirt putts under pressure. BUT - they made a ton of putts to get themselves into the pressure situation. “Stokes gained” will tell us who the worst putters on tour are statistically but you have to remember that this ranks them against their peers, who are all good putters. If you played with Kyle Stanley at your home club for a weekend you would most likely walk away saying “man that guy can roll it!”.  There are a few exceptions to this, but as a rule the worst of any skill on tour- driving, iron play, chipping, putting, bunker play, whatever is better than the best player at your club. I know there are guys that will say they are members at  a club in LA and Patrick Cantlay is a member so blah blah blah but that’s the exception to the above. 

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53 minutes ago, playit said:

If I am reading this correctly, the pros are routinely sinking long putts! This is for 2021 and the best are making 7 putts over 10 feet per round. That's some putting! But look down the list, and lots of them are making lots of longer putts.

 

I looked at 2022, which has already started, and in 8 rounds, Nick Watney averaged 13 putts per round over 10 feet! Sheesh, that is bombing them in, lol. Dang, he was making everything!

 

https://www.pgatour.com/content/pgatour/stats/stat.434.y2021.html

The stat actually measures per event, so he's averaging 13 10+ footers per 4 rounds.  They're good but not that good.  😜  

 

Still, I wonder if they still count it as an event if the player missed the cut and played only 2 rounds. 

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9 minutes ago, huskydawg said:

The stat actually measures per event, so he's averaging 13 10+ footers per 4 rounds.  They're good but not that good.  😜  

 

Still, I wonder if they still count it as an event if the player missed the cut and played only 2 rounds. 

 

Are you sure? I agree, I see now that it says "per event" but that doesn't seem right... that for 2021, the top golfers in the world average making 7 putts over 10 feet per tournament? That means they make less than two putts over 10 feet per round. Can't be right.

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11 hours ago, playit said:

 

If that is true (not sure it is but for now, will go with it), I wonder if there have been terrific ball-strikers whose poor putting kept them from qualifying for the tour. Now that would suck. Stripe it, shot after shot, and can't putt a lick. That would be hell.

 

I wonder how good a putter Hogan was. I know he complained about putting playing too big a role in golf, so, he obviously got frustrated!

That's the majority of journeyman golfers on the mini tours.  Putting and lack of a strong mental game are what keep many of those guys from breaking through.  Everyone is a good ball striker at that level.

 

That's why it's always amusing when wrxers compare amateur putting to pro putting and think they are close to the pros based on statistics.  Putting at the professional level, one putt to make or break your career, is such an entirely different level.

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41 minutes ago, playit said:

 

Are you sure? I agree, I see now that it says "per event" but that doesn't seem right... that for 2021, the top golfers in the world average making 7 putts over 10 feet per tournament? That means they make less than two putts over 10 feet per round. Can't be right.

I believe the range where they make half/miss half is about 8 feet, so those stats seem right to me.

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People are taking the title too literally, it's obvious it's implied "can't putt at anywhere near the same standard as their peers". If you're a professional at any sport, you can do every basic very well compared to the average person.

 

Some really good ball-strikers that would have won ever more with better putting: Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Vijay Singh. Funnily enough Sergio always seems to be able to putt in the Ryder Cup.

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I seemed to remember, relative to the rest of the tour at least that Boo Weekley was a heckuva iron player back in the early/mid 2000s but his putting held him back from winning more than he should.  I think there might have been a time when he was near the top of the Tour in proximity to the hole on approach shots but one of the worst putters. 

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Somebody once said that the only difference between the PGA Tour pros and the guys on the Korn Ferry Tour was putting.  Both are great ball strikers, but you have to be a good putter (compared to your peers) to make on to the PGA Tour.

 

So it's a matter of being good or bad relative to your peers, not just generally speaking.

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2 hours ago, RTP419 said:

I believe not too long ago Chad Campbell was #1 in ball striking,  almost last in putting, and lost his card. I feel like great ball striking can not make up for being a poor putter, yet a great putter can make up for poor ball striking.

 

 

The stats largely say otherwise. There is almost 4 strokes between #1 and #200 in SG tee to green. It's only 2 strokes between #1 and #200 in SG putting. If you look at the yearly earnings for the guys who are top 10 SG tee to green vs the guys that are top 10 SG putting, you will see a huge difference.

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16 minutes ago, Krt22 said:

The stats largely say otherwise. There is almost 4 strokes between #1 and #200 in SG tee to green. It's only 2 strokes between #1 and #200 in SG putting. If you look at the yearly earnings for the guys who are top 10 SG tee to green vs the guys that are top 10 SG putting, you will see a huge difference.

I think it was Bryce Molder who said being a great putter was worth about 2 or 3 strokes a month and being a great ball striker was worth about 20 and that was why he quit the tour. 

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Ball striking is still king on the PGA Tour level.

 

The average proximity to the hole from the fairway last year on Tour was something like 37 feet.  Which means the average Tour pro is putting for birdie from 37 feet on every hole if they reach the green in regulation.   That's an unbelievably hard level to achieve and maintain over the course of one tournament, let alone a season...which is why good ball striking always compensates for below average or poor putting.  GIR is still, bar-none, the best indicator of scoring ability on Tour.  You're not making birdies if you're not on the green in regulation.

 

Putting matters, and often helps determine who wins or who doesnt, but as stated previous, the best ball strikers from tee to green in general win way, way more than players who are just the best putters for the week.  Why?  Because they're putting for birdie from much closer range than the rest of the field.

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9 hours ago, Righty to Lefty said:

I have a buddy that was tryin to get his European tour card back and he is the best putter I have ever witnessed as I've seen him shoot 7 under on nine holes on multiple occasions. I couldn't believe how steady he was and how many  putts he made over the 50 rounds that I played with him as it was uncanny. And to think that a Euro or PGA tour guy is putting better than him is hard to even comprehend....but they do.  A pro putting 1 or 2 putts per round better than him is like a scratch handicap putting 10 or more putts per round better than a 2 handicap.  Those guys are really good. 

This is absolutely true.  There is no one on Tour who "can't putt"; of course some Tour players putt better than their peers but they all consistently putt way better than non Tour players or they wouldn't stay on Tour. 

I also have a friend who unsuccessfully tried to get through the old Q School and who unsuccessfully hung around on the European Tour for a couple of years. My friend, after getting his amateur status back, has played in US Amateurs and most recently, the US Senior Open.  So, he was and is pretty good. But not good enough to make a living at golf because he can't putt at a Tour level. 

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Billy Mayfair comes to mind.  Another really good ball striker who would have won more if he could putt just average.  As for our world I have kept my stats for over 20 years and you have to hit a lot of greens to consistently score well.  The really good rounds are when you do both.  You can't shoot in the 60's very often if you aren't hitting at least 13 gir and having less than 30 putts.  Check out the LPGA stats - they are the same way but the top players hit even more greens. 

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Just rehearsing some old comments:

  • There are only "great" and "extraordinary" putters on tour. So when we say, good or poor, it is in the context of highest professional tour in the world. 
  • Ball striking is inherently consistent, and putting is inherently streaky. In general, if you are a "good" ball striker, you usually hit the ball well. However, if you are a "poor" putter, you'll catch hot streaks. For example, Collin Morikawa should have no business winning the Claret Jug, beating Louis Oosthuizen (no.1 in SG: putting) and Jordan Spieth who putted well. Yet, Collin putted lights out and won. 
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3 hours ago, RTP419 said:

I believe not too long ago Chad Campbell was #1 in ball striking,  almost last in putting, and lost his card. I feel like great ball striking can not make up for being a poor putter, yet a great putter can make up for poor ball striking.

 

 

This is how I see it too.  It’s not that anyone on tour  is bad. But several are bad compared to their ballstriking level.  And then there’s the guy who’s is only really bad under the gun.  Adam Scott. Vijay , sometimes phil…, seems like they can be on a roll. Hitting monster drives. Sticking iron shots. And then they miss a 4 footer to hand it to the short knocker who’s making every putt.  

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the difference between a guy shooting 69/70 and a guy shooting 71/72 may not seem that much but 4 shots over two rounds is the difference in making the cut and someone going home or onto the next Tour stop

 

the other stat was back in his heyday TW looked at a par 72 like Muirfield and was thinking his par was 68....multiply that times 4 and thats already 12 under just to keep pace with him...was he that much better a putter or was it that he had tap in birdies on all the Par 5's that he didnt eagle...

 

All the guys on Tour can putt..if they cant they end up going home and selling insurance or teaching at the driving range....the difference is how hot they get it rolling at certain courses and if they can outlast the field that week

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4 hours ago, oikos1 said:

That's the majority of journeyman golfers on the mini tours.  Putting and lack of a strong mental game are what keep many of those guys from breaking through.  Everyone is a good ball striker at that level.

 

 

I agree that every player on that level is a good-excellent ball striker. Yes, putting and mental game is crucial, but I believe chipping-pitching-bunker play is also very significant to what separates mini-Tour-journeyman from fully exempt PGA Tour player.

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