To which I’ll add in John’s own words, “But like Tiger in the old days, it was a series of par-saving putts that held it together for Spieth. On the last four holes, he made par putts of eight, eight, six and eight feet.”
Is there more to Strokes Gained: Putting?
Far be it from me to discredit or diminish Jordan Spieth’s accomplishments in 2015. And let’s not forget his amazing performance at the Australian Open in 2014. He’s a very talented golfer and everything we know about his game is available on ShotLink and more specifically in this case, his putting.
The stats show that Jordan is way up there in the Strokes Gained: Putting category and perhaps explains how he was able to make, “par putts of eight, eight, six and eight feet,” while under considerable pressure. A very impressive putting performance however when I observe such scenarios it inevitably brings to mind the question of, how much was luck involved? Or indeed if there was no luck involved what are the statistical odds of this happening?
Dead solid lucky
Alas I’m unable to find the source of something I read several years ago where a putting machine was created similar to what we now know as the ‘Iron Byron’ machine for testing drivers and long game clubs. And if my memory serves me right, the putting machine they created could not produce 100 percent success on anything over three-feet in length. Therefore this begs the question was there a wee bit of luck in Spieth sinking so many putts of such a testing length?
Michael Agger in ‘Dead Solid Lucky - Does winning a golf tournament come down to skill or chance?’ discusses the new golf scene where statistics suggest, “Drive for show putt for dough,” has had its day. And yet when viewing the winning streaks of Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth I repeatedly ask myself, “Was there a wee bit of luck involved,” in their successes?
Michael writes, “All the data show that winning on the PGA Tour requires a player to have a career week, to perform better than average in several different facets of the game. In fact, winning may be even scarier than that: It may be beyond a golfer's control. A team of researchers has found that triumphing on tour almost always comes down to luck.”
Adding that, “How big a deal is luck on the golf course? On average, tournament winners are the beneficiaries of 9.6 strokes of good luck. Tiger Woods' superior putting, you'll recall, gives him a three-stroke advantage per tournament.” (Old data).
Will power or just the way of the world?
How can we ever forget Tiger Woods making that 12-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines to tie Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open? The fact that his ball snuck round the side of the hole and went in suggests there may have been a wee bit of luck involved.
However the big question is how is it that the greats of the game appear to have wee bit of luck on their side when they’re on top of their game? And then it’s gone regardless of their age and attitudes?
Is it the way of the world that even with the best will power in the world, without a wee bit of luck we and they become mere mortals?
Here’s the link to John Strege and Michael Agger
Quote of the Day
They (Robert Connolly and Richard Rendleman) then declare any deviation from that expected score attributable to "luck." – John Strege