The best putters on the PGA Tour have an incredible penchant for making putts. The best of the best make 98 percent of their putts from inside five feet and 90 percent of those inside 10 feet.
Think about that for a second.
Imagine how much better your scoring would be if you were making 98 percent of your putts from five feet and in. How many strokes would you save per round?
Of all the ridiculous things PGA Tour professionals do with the golf ball, for all Bubba Watson’s 350 yard drives with 30 yards of right-to-left movement, for every 170-yard nine-iron shot, the pros putting from close range is just as incomprehensible.
So, how do we determine who the best of the best are? Simple, take a look at the leaders in the strokes gained-putting statistic from the past five seasons and see how many strokes these putting maestros picked up on field averages during that period of time.
What’s strokes gained-putting, you ask? Here’s an explanation and example from the PGA Tour:
The statistic is computed by calculating the average number of putts a PGA TOUR player is expected to take from every distance, based on ShotLink® data from the previous season. The actual number of putts taken by a player is subtracted from this average value to determine strokes gained or lost. For example, the average number of putts used to hole out from 7 feet 10 inches is 1.5. If a player one-putts from this distance, he gains 0.5 strokes. If he two-putts, he loses 0.5 strokes. If he three-putts, he loses 1.5 strokes.
Let’s have a look at the 10 best putters on the PGA Tour over the last five seasons.
10. James Driscoll — 5 Year Stokes Gained Tally: 1.595
In 2013, James Driscoll placed seventh in strokes gained-putting, picking up an average of .648 strokes per round on the field. During the past five years, he picked up a total of 1.595 strokes on his competitors. Driscoll’s best performance in 2014 was a tie for 14th at the Puerto Rico Open.
9. Steve Stricker — 5 Year Stokes Gained Tally: 2.192
Steve Stricker gained .727 strokes on the field with his putter during 2013, which was second best on tour. From 2010 through this season, Stricker picked up a total of 2.192 strokes on the field. The veteran’s best showing of 2014 thus far is a tie for 31st at the Masters.
8. Matt Kuchar — 5 Year Stokes Gained Tally: 2.285
Matt Kuchar’s best putting season within the past five years was 2010 when he placed eighth in strokes gained-putting (.650). Kuchar has been 2.285 strokes better than the tour average on the greens throughout the past five years. Kuchar won the RBC Heritage earlier this year.
7. Zach Johnson — 5 Year Stokes Gained Tally: 2.401
In 2012, Zach Johnson placed eighth in strokes gained-putting (.599), his best figure in the past five years. Over the last five years, Johnson has beat his average constituents by 2.401 strokes. Johnson’s best finish of the season thus far is a win at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
6. Bryce Molder — 5 Year Stokes Gained Tally: 2.61
Bryce Molder was third in strokes gained-putting in 2011, the best putting year of his career. He picked up 2.61 strokes on the field during the period between 2010 and the present. Molder’s best showing of the season is a tie for sixth at the Northern Trust Open.
5. Brandt Snedeker — 5 Year Stokes Gained Tally: 2.645
Brandt Snedeker was the best putter on the PGA Tour in 2012 when he gained .860 strokes on his competitors throughout the course of his year thanks to his putting. Snedeker picked up 2.645 strokes on the average PGA Tour on the greens during that time. Snedeker’s best finish this season is a tie for eighth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
4. Brian Gay — 5 Year Stokes Gained Tally: 2.787
Brian Gay was sixth in strokes gained-putting during the 2012 season. The University of Florida alum picked up .599 strokes on the competition thanks to his work on the green. Gay gained a total of 2.787 strokes on the field as a product of his putting during the past five seasons. Brian Gay’s best finish this season is a tie for fourth at the McGladrey Classic in November.
3. Aaron Baddeley — 5 Year Stokes Gained Tally: 2.992
Aaron Baddeley picked up .665 strokes on his competitors in 2013 and was fifth in strokes gained-putting, his best position in the stat in the past five years. Badds was nearly three strokes better than average PGA Tour putters during that period. The Australian’s best finish of 2014: fifth at the CIMB Classic in October.
2. Greg Chalmers: 5 Year Stokes Gained Tally: 3.685
The next two entries on our list were almost a stroke better than anyone else appearing here over the past five years. Greg Chalmers’ best putting season in the past five years was last year when he led the tour in strokes gained-putting. Chalmers gained an impressive .854 strokes putting on the field during the season. Chalmers finished tied for 10th at the McGladrey Classic in November, his best showing of the season.
1. Luke Donald — 5 Year Stokes Gained Tally: 3.868
Luke Donald has been the best putter on the PGA Tour across the past five seasons. He led the tour in strokes gained-putting in 2011, gaining .844 strokes on the competition throughout the season. Donald, with his Odyssey White Hot Tour XG 7H, has been at the head of the putting class for the last half decade on the PGA Tour.