By the Numbers has been a little sketchy schedule-wise this summer, but with a big stretch of golf coming up, look for more regular postings. This week’s Numbers will look at Phil Mickelson’s Open Championship victory and Brandt Snedeker’s win at the RBC Canadian Open.
I would have liked to do more on Phil’s victory, but the majors do not use ShotLink, and as such, there is very little good data/statistics available for analysis (and anyone who tries to do a stats analysis on the majors is BS-ing you). Without further ado, your By the Numbers Open redux:
- If you were to look at Phil Mickelson’s Open Championship numbers they aren’t inspiring. He wasn’t top 10 in fairways hit or greens in regulation (there are no putting stats that actually tell you anything about putting), so what did he do well? Phil led the field in birdies, he gave himself chances to make a good score, and he converted a good number of them. This means that he was able to overcome putting higher numbers on his scorecard.
- The other thing Phil did well was scramble. He led the Open Championship in scrambling. Despite missing more greens than some (he was 18th in GIR), he was able to get up-and-down well and limit the damage. This was a bit of a surprise because while we generally think of Phil as a great scrambler, he’s only 79th on Tour this year.
- It will surprise no one that the principal reason Brandt Snedeker won the Canadian Open was due to his superior putting. While Snedeker led the Tour in putting (strokes gained) last year, he has not been quite as good this year, even after last week he only ranks 10th on the PGA Tour. At the Canadian Open, he was 9th for the week in putting, picking up 1.362 strokes-per-round on the field on the greens.
- While Brandt was not in the top 10 in greens in regulation at the Canadian Open, his iron play was a crucial part to his victory. He was tied 18th in greens in regulation and 15th in approach shot proximity. So, he gave himself a number of reasonable putts for birdie, and from there, his hot putting took over.
- Iron play has been one of the keys to Brandt’s play this year. Prior to his rib injury when Brandt was arguably the best player on Tour, he also led in greens in regulation. After returning from injury, Brandt slumped and so did his iron play, dropping all the way to 26th on Tour.
There you have it, an Open combo platter of By the Numbers. Rounding into major championship form (I hope) with the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship up next.