SG Putting and Putts Per Round: 35.9 and 35.7
Putting and Strokes Gained Putting are almost mystical skills on Tour. Over the course of a full season, their relationships to performance are almost casual. But week after week after week, the tournament winner almost always sits near the top in one or both of those skills.
Rationalizing those two facts is one of the game’s mysteries, and probably says more about the come-and-go-nature of putting than anything else. In 2020, the top five players in Strokes Gained Putting over the course of the full season were Denny McCarthy (+0.988), Matthew Fitzpatrick (+0.880), Andrew Putnam (+0.841), Kristoffer Ventura (+0.694), and Kevin Na (+0.693).
None of those players won a tournament in 2020. In fact, Fitzpatrick’s third-place finish at the Memorial was their only collective top five.
The four most-discussed candidates for Player of the Year – Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, and Collin Morikawa – ranked, respectively, 22nd, 48th, 117th, and 133rd in Strokes Gained Putting for the season.
That makes it sound like putting should be treated as an afterthought on Tour. But that’s not true from week to week. Consider that during the six most recent tournaments – the WGC FedEx through the tour Championship – the winner (or in the case of the Tour Championship the guy who took the fewest strokes that particular week) had an average rank of 11th in Strokes Gained Putting. And that stat was substantially colored by Richy Werenski’s 55th rank in winning the alternate field Barracuda championship in early August.
Among the other six winners, the average standing in Strokes Gained Putting was 3.5. All six winners finished among their events’ top 10 in SG Putting.