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
Denny McCarthy, PGA Tour, Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

8. Denny McCarthy (1.086)

McCarthy is a largely anonymous PGA Tour veteran with one distinguishing characteristic. In 2021-22, he became statistically one of the game’s most reliable putters.

McCarthy rode that often elusive skill to a standing as the game’s second-best putter, improving his scores by more than eight-tenths of a stroke per round merely by his play on the greens. His was the second most exceptional putting season on the PGA Tour.

It is a testament to the vexatious nature of putting that despite that consistent performance, McCarthy’s 29 starts resulted in no outcomes better than his tie for fifth at the Memorial in May.

Still, McCarthy finished the season with nearly $2.9 million in earnings, finishing just outside the Tour’s top 40. That was more than double his earnings in any previous season.

McCarthy reduced his scoring average by 1.086 strokes, from 71.057 last season to 69.971 this year. He ranked 21st in scoring average for the season, a 78-position improvement over his 99th place standing of 2020-21.

Here’s the table for McCarthy.

                                             2020-21                2021-22                Change

Off The Tee                        -0.207                    -0.183                    0.024

Approaches                       -0.353                    -0.059                    0.294

Around the Green           -0.172                       0.261                    0.089

Putting                                 0.435                      0.818                     0.383

The Strokes Gained data accounts for eight-tenths of a stroke improvement, the bulk of McCarthy’s overall 1.1 stroke improvement.

Although improved putting was plainly the piece that put McCarthy most solidly on the way to lower scores, he actually improved his game in all four facets of the Strokes Gained system.

In fact, his improved approach game amounted to nearly three-tenths of a stroke, a significant jump in its own right.