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Picking through the Strokes Gained of the 2019 PGA Tour regular season

With the conclusion of the 2019 Wyndham Championship, the regular season on the 2019 PGA Tour is over and attention now turns to the FedExCup Playoffs — it feels odd that FedExCup is a single word.

Ahead of the Top 125 (minus four) getting down to it at The Northern Trust, I thought it would be interesting to put together the Strokes Gained data for the players on the Tour. The link below has lined up Strokes Gained Off The Tee, Approach, Around The Green and Putting together to see where players picked up and lost their shots over the course of the season.

(It should be noted that I manually added Tiger Woods, Shane Lowry, Colin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff as they did not play enough measured rounds to appear automatically on PGA Tour: Stats Leaders. There are a number of rounds at the Majors and during some multi-course events that will not be part of this data.)

That said, please enjoy — 2019 PGA Tour Strokes Gained.

Underneath I’ve picked out a few things to note.

You don’t need to play consistently to reach the FedExCup Playoffs. Pat Perez finished in 125th place with 376 points to his name. A similar return could have been bettered with two solo-3rd place finishes across the season (or a 2nd place and an 8th place, or a win).

Consistency through the season ultimately isn’t required from players — as such, those who struggled with a particular part of their game for much of the year (see: the putting of JB Holmes and Corey Connors — both in the bottom five) can put together an ideal week (or two weeks) and secure themselves a place in the season-ending competitions.

Seasonal data can’t handle Brooks Kopeka. Ranks of 104th ARG, T-49th PUTT, 20th OTT and 10th APP are not the numbers of the guy you expect to be leading the FedExCup standings — but that typifies Koepka.

That are little more than a handful of competitions that he actually wants to win during a calendar year — and it shows up when you average out his performances.

The American gained 1.48 strokes from round on the rest of the field, won three times — including the PGA Championship, finished in the top 4at all four majors and topped the pile by over 500 points (comfortably tournament win).

Rory McIlroy gained 2.67 strokes, won twice, was consistently the best player on the Tour but still doesn’t quite have a year that can be talked about in the same breath as Koepka.

Focus everywhere..? The best players in each category generally made it into the Top 125 which suggests being a good all-round golfer will stand anyone in good stead to take on the season.

Work on the weak areas, and then just focus on one/two good weeks when it all clicks nicely together.

Sebastián Muñoz is my new favourite golfer. The Colombian has made the Playoffs for the first time — after finishing 153rd in 2017 — and he’s done it by gaining strokes in all four of the categories.

Although, only just.

0.02 gained Off The Tee per round. 0.042 in Approach play. 0.238 Around The Green. 0.044 gained in Putting. Muñoz is one of 30 players to gain strokes on the field in all four categories, and one of only three outside the top 100 to manage it (Nick Taylor and Martin Laird are the other two).

Onwards and upwards, fella.

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