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
Rory McIlroy, Tour Championship, FedEx Cup, Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports /

4. Rory McIlroy (1.315)

When a star of the magnitude of McIlroy makes a big move up the scoring chart, it’s a sure sign of a great season. Winning the FedEx Cup surely qualifies in that respect.

For the season, McIlroy averaged 68.728 strokes per round, a number that was No. 1 on the PGA Tour. At 70.043 in 2020-21, he’d been no slouch, ranking 16th. But that improvement still measured out at 1.315 strokes.

There was no single element that made the difference for McIlroy; he was prismatically better.

Here’s the data for the season champion.

                                          2020-21                2021-22                Change

Off The Tee                        0.660                      0.771                     0.111

Approaches                        0.403                     0.626                     0.223

Around the Green             0.118                     0.222                     0.104

Putting                                0.187                     0.495                     0.308

The Strokes Gained data only accounts for about 0.75 strokes of McIlroy’s 1.32 season-to-season stroke improvement, so there was a lot of intangible to his accelerated game. But the measurables are impressive by themselves.

McIlroy’s putting improved by more than three-tenths of a stroke. The 66th best putter on Tour in 2021, he climbed to 16th in 2021-22.

His approach game was a second strong key, adding another quarter stroke to his improvement. Notably, he also improved his driving and recovery games by more than a tenth of a stroke.

He was one of only three PGA Tour players to improve by a least a tenth of a stroke in all four of the major Strokes Gained categories. Not coincidentally, all three of those guys rank among the four most improved players of 2022.