The Top 10 most improved players on the PGA Tour in 2021/22

Rory McIlroy, Tour Championship,Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Rory McIlroy, Tour Championship,Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports /
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PGA Tour, 2021/22 PGA Tour Season, Golf, Rankings, Rory McIlroy
Scottie Scheffler, Tour Championship, Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports /

9. Scottie Scheffler (1.049)

Scheffler’s presence on this ‘most improved’ list is the worst-kept secret of all time. In only his third full season on Tour, he rose to world No. 1 thanks to a victory at the WM Phoenix Open in February, followed by wins at the Arnold Palmer, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, and the Masters. Then Scheffler salted away Player of the Year honors with a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship.

Scheffler did it by reducing his scoring average by 1.049 strokes, from 70.326 in 2020-21 to 69.277 this season. That was fourth best on the PGA Tour.  He was 33rd last season.

Why the sudden and dramatic improvement? For Scheffler, it was primarily about honing his approach game to something resembling an elite level. His strokes gained approaching the green, 0.145 last season, shot up to 0.819 this year, a step up by two-thirds of a stroke per round thanks to that improvement alone.

He was 83rd in Strokes Gained Approach in 2020-21; in 2021-22, only Will Zalatoris, Russell Henley, and Collin Morikawa were better.

Here’s the table for Scheffler.

                                           2020-21                2021-22                Change

Off The Tee                        0.515                     0.356                   -0.159

Approaches                       0.145                     0.819                     0.674

Around the Green            0.249                     0.300                     0.051

Putting                               0.023                     0.202                     0.179

The Strokes Gained data explains about three-quarters of Scheffler’s season-to-season improvement, almost all of that coming in his approach game. His play off the tee was actually marginally worse in 2022, with incremental improvements on and around the green.