A new golf season has begun, which means the 2017 PGA Tour slate has been wiped clean.
Jordan Spieth is no longer the leader in Strokes Gained Approach-the-Green. Dustin Johnson no longer is the best driver on Tour (statistically speaking). Nope, we’re starting fresh now. But before a new set of stats begin to accumulate, let’s pause and appreciate everything that was incredible about last season.
29 — Consecutive rounds of par or better by Bill Haas
Haas was on cruise control to begin 2017. The 35-year-old finished 2016 with three straight rounds of par or better and rattled off 26 more to begin the new year. Somehow, he cracked the top 10 in just one of those events.
$3,596 — Justin Thomas’ earnings per stroke this season
We’ve excluded the $203,725 that Thomas made in the Zurich Classic (team event) and the WGC Dell Match Play (where individual strokes aren’t counted), but when you look at his $19-million season—which includes the $10 million bonus he pocketed as the FedEx Cup Champion—the 5,482 strokes he took earned nearly four grand a pop.
$4.28 million — Money earned by Matt Kuchar without a victory
Winning isn’t everything, especially for those who have locked down status on Tour for years to come. Known for a career of consistency, Kuchar finished in the top 10 nine times, including an unforgettable runner-up to Jordan Spieth at the British Open.
$1.305 million — Money earned by Cody Gribble with a victory
Speaking of Jordan Spieth…his freshman-year roommate kicked off his rookie season with a bang last October, winning at Sanderson Farms after a T8 finish at the Safeway Open. Sadly for him, he would not finish in the top 10 the rest of the season, missing 17 of his next 26 cuts.
13 — Consecutive one-putts by Marty (Zecheng) Dou
Never heard of Marty? You’re not alone. He only played one PGA Tour event this season (the HSBC Champions last fall), but he made the most of it in his second round. After struggling to an opening-round 77, Dou caught fire with his flatstick in Round 2, taking 13 putts over 13 holes (nos. 11 through 5), the longest one-putt streak of the season.
2.35 — Difference between Rory McIlroy’s first round and final round scoring averages
Didn’t it feel like McIlroy was digging himself out of a hole all season? Maybe that was just me, but the statistics certainly show a trend in his scoring averages. Rory averaged 71.53 during the first round of his Tour events last season, but recovered with a final-round average of 69.18. It wasn’t a huge sample size, as Rors played just 14 events, but the 2.35 difference is the largest of his Tour career.
29 — 400+ yard drives last season
There were more 400-yard drives than any of the last four years on Tour, and Dustin Johnson’s 439-yard bomb at the WGC-Bridgestone topped the list.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 3, 2017
5 — 400+ yard drives by Dustin Johnson
Speaking of DJ, he dominated the list of 400+ yard drives. Only Adam Scott and Gary Woodland could muster more than one this season. Better yet, Johnson’s five drives (439, 428, 413, 409, 404) all came on different holes, spread out over three different courses.
95’7″ — Longest putt
As for length on the green, Nick Watney holed the most improbable putt of the year. His putt (sorry for the lack of video — blame the Tour!) on the 16th hole in the first round of the RBC Canadian Open measured nearly 100 feet. It was the longest putt made on Tour since Angel Cabrera cashed a 103’5” bomb at TPC Scottsdale in 2011.
40 — Consecutive GIRs by D.A. Points
There was a stretch this year where D.A. Points hit every green he looked at. For 40 consecutive holes, Points pointed at that tiny flag and fired his ball into the short-grass around it. The second-best streak this year? 31 by Justin Thomas and Chad Campbell, so yeah, 40 stood alone. It was also the longest run since Tom Pernice rattled off 41 in 2002.
1,797 — World Ranking jump by Patrick Cantlay
By now you should know the name Cantlay. He’s the guy who pushed Xander Schauffele for the Rookie of the Year race, but when Cantlay rang in the new year, he wasn’t inside the top 1,700 players in the world. Now, he’s sitting in the top 70, and could very well play his way into the Masters and WGC’s without even winning a Tour event.
198 — World Ranking drop by Patton Kizzire
Trending in the opposite direction was Kizzire, who missed half of his cuts in his 28 starts this year. In those 14 cuts made, he failed to crack the top 50 eight times, which limits those world ranking points. After starting the season ranked 90th, Kizzire is now barely inside the top 300.
68.66 — Rickie Fowler’s sand save percentage
For those not close to the game (or its statistics), this number won’t jump off the page … but it should: it’s the best sand save percentage since 2001, when a guy named Franklin Langham was filthy out of the sand. 68.66 is also Fowler’s best performance out of the sand for a full season in his career, and was 8.32% better than his second-best season (2013). Sure, this could simply be a result of Fowler converting four more great bunker shots than normal, and then cashing in four more putts than normal, but even so, it’s still an impressive season from the sand.