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.