Who was the most average player on the PGA Tour in 2019?
As golf fans, we spend much of our time focusing on players who perform far above average. Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods—those guys will never be average, and we love ’em for it. Many of their Tour peers, however, are average. We see these players take part in a race to beat average, if only by the thinnest margin. It’s called the FedEx Cup, where the top 125 players in FedEx Cup points advance to the playoffs. But beyond FedEx Cup points, what does average look like on the PGA Tour? At this level, it’s still very, very good.
In order to figure out which players were most average, we wanted their averageness to be spread out among all aspects of the game. They would not only be an average driver; they would also be an average ball-striker, average short-game player and an average putter. We quantified this by searching for Strokes Gained close to zero in each of these categories. (Since average Strokes Gained: Off the Tee can be tricked by a long, errant driver or a short and straight driver, we added an average driving distance criterion to the mix.) Finally, an average player should earn an average amount of money, and because the PGA Tour pays out money to finishers on an exponential scale, we searched for players who earned close to the median money per event. In the end, our averageness searching system identified Mackenzie Hughes as the most average player on Tour in 2019.
Hughes finished with 15 cuts made (Tour average: 14.9) and earned $40,883 per event (median: $42,974). He performed within 0.1 strokes of the average in all the major categories and was dead-on average approaching the green and putting. He drove the ball three yards farther (297) than the Tour average, an insignificant difference, and finished in the top 10 twice (average: 2.6).
We spoke to Hughes’s coach Derek Ingram, who realized we were asking about Mac before we even finished the question. “I’ve always felt that Mac had no glaring weaknesses,” Ingram said. “The fact that he’s so average gives us a lot of opportunity to improve, especially in areas where he’s been better in the past, and that could make 2020 a great year.”
Since Hughes is 2019’s Most Outstanding in Averageness, it undoubtedly means he’s anything but average!
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