The numbers tell the story - well, most of the time

By: | Wed 22 Nov 2017 | Comments


Historians are unable to agree who it was who first said: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." No matter. There are those who will tell you that numbers don't lie, and when it comes to golf, statistics tend to tell much of the story. Here, we reflect on the European Tour season, and make a few judgments, based on the tour's own statistics and, yes, we admit it, our own gut feeling.

So here goes, the 2016-17 European Tour season...

Tommy Fleetwood

Best round: there are a few to choose from, including Tommy Fleetwood's 63 at Carnoustie during the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, the 61 by Ross Fisher at the Old Course at St Andrews, also during the Dunhill Links,and the astonishing final round of 62 that Alex Noren recorded to win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. But our vote for the best round of the year goes to Paul Dunne for his 61 in the final round of the British Masters at Close House. It wasn't just the fact that he scored 61, but that he did so on a day when Rory McIlroy threw a 63 at him. And it was also for his first victory

Best stroke average: that honour goes to Sergio Garcia, who averaged 69.3. Considering his supposedly disappointing season, you may be surprised to learn that the man in second place is a certain Rory McIlroy, who averaged 69.68. Four other players cracked 70. They were Tommy Fleetwood (69.72, Justin Rose (69.82), Tyrrell Hatton (69.91)and Julian Suri (69.95). And proving that you don't have to be a bright young thing to score well is Miguel Angel Jimenez in 22nd place with an average score 70.50

Sergio Garci

Biggest money-winner: it went right down to the wire in Dubai, and ended with Tommy Fleetwood finishing the year with an impressive 5,420,530 euros in prize money to his credit

Biggest loser: not everybody can be a winner. Simon Dyson is one of the nicest men on the European Tour, and a former tournament winner. He has suffered some injury woes and earned just 53,163 euros from 28 starts, but our nomination for biggest loser of the year goes to Nathan Holman, winner of the Australian PGA Championship during the 2016 season - he made 21 starts and reached the weekend only twice in earning 9,450 euros and finished in 285th place in the Race to Dubai. For the record, the man in last place was Boria Virto, of Spain, whose nine starts earned him a miserable 744 euros

Most wins: that would be Sergio Garcia, who picked up three titles, including the one he coveted above all others, The Masters. He also won the Dubai Desert Classic and the Andalucia Masters in front of his own fans. Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose each won twice

Best breakthrough: the Rookie of the Year prize went to Jon Rahm, but we believe that Jordan Smith takes some beating. Last year he was playing on the Challenge Tour. In only his third start on the European Tour he finished third at the South African Open to secure his playing privileges, and then he went on to win the Porsche European Open

Top ranking: after his exploits on both the PGA and European Tours, Spain's Jon Rahm is the leading European in the world rankings. He finished the season in fourth place. Justin Rose is sixth, Henrik Stenson is ninth and Rory McIlroy is 10th. There are six other Europeans in the top 20. That means half of the world's top 20 golfers are European. For the record, the top 20 is completed by seven Americans, two Australians and one from Japan

Going low: Jon Rahm won the Irish Open at Portstewart in sensational fashion. His 72-hole total was 264, which was 24 under par. And it was matched by Tyrrell Hatton in winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Feeling under par: the lowest 36-hole was an amazing 137, five under par, at the Rocco Forte Open. That meant anybody who opened with a pair of 69s was heading home

Feeling over par: the highest cut was at the Hero Indian Open. It fell at 150, six over par

Biggest final round comeback: Justin Rose began the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai trailing Dustin Johnson by seven shots, finished with a 67 and won the tournament

Wire-to-wire:  there were four wire-to-wire winners. They were Jordan Spieth at The Open, Matt Wallace at the Portugal Open, Sergio Garcia at the Dubai Desert Classic and Brett Rumford at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth

Graem Storm

Recovery man: Graeme Storm kept his playing privileges at the end of 2016 by the skin of his teeth. This season he beat Rory McIlroy to win the South African Open and finished 39th in the Race to Dubai

Mr Consistency: that has to be Tommy Fleetwood, who enjoyed 10 top-10 finishes

One of a kind: there were an impressive 30 holes in one on the European Tour. Among those who recorded them were Jamie Donaldson, Thorbjorn Olesen, Ross Fisher, Bern Wiesberger and Joost Luiten

Short and sweet: nobody managed more one-putt greens than Michael Hoey, who averaged 8.06 per round. However, he finished 171st in the Race to Dubai, which quite clearly shows that most of those single putts were to save par

In the hole: according to the statistics, the best putter on the European Tour is Thomas Linard, who averages exactly 28 putts per round. Proving that putting is where scores are made are Jon Rahm and Paul Dunne. Rahm is second, averaging 28.1 putts, with Dunne third on 28.2

Going long: 43 golfers average 300 yards or more from the tee, with the biggest hitter of all being Ryan Fox at 318.2 yards, just ahead of Rory McIlroy, who came in at 317.7 yards. At the other end of the scale, the shortest hitter on tour was India's S S P Chawrasia, whose average drive travels just 262.5 yards

Straight and true: the most accurate driver of a golf ball is Gaganjeet Bhullar, who hit 82.9% of all fairways. It may surprise you to learn that Henrik Stenson was third in this list, hitting 74.3% of fairways. So where do Fox and McIlroy figure on this list? McIlroy is in 111th place, hitting 58% of fairways while Fox is in 234th place with 47%

 


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