Behind the Numbers: Scottie Scheffler

The run hit its crescendo when he won the Masters Tournament two weeks later. Scheffler was excellent through the bag on the way to his first major win, ranking in the top 10 in the field in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, Approach, and Around the Green. He was in the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Putting, too, until his four-putt on the final green. Scheffler now had four wins on the season, the first winner of the green jacket to reach that number on the PGA TOUR since Arnold Palmer in 1960.

What fueled his rise

Scheffler had been well above average in the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season, ranking 32nd in scoring average and 33rd in Strokes Gained: Total. His red-hot spring of ’22 owed to a few dramatic improvements. Scheffler ranked 45th in greens in regulation and 83rd in Strokes Gained: Approach per round in 2020-21. Solid, but not spectacular. By the end of May, he had vaulted to 13th in SG: Approach and a lofty 3rd in rate of greens hit.

His improved wedge play was a significant change, as well. In 2020-21, Scheffler ranked 157th on the PGA TOUR in average proximity to the hole from 50-125 yards away. On June 1, he was up exactly 100 spots in that statistic – to 57th. The differential meant he went from being one foot farther away than the average PGA TOUR player’s approach from that range – to one foot closer.

As if these improvements weren’t enough, he got better on the greens, too. In each of his first two full seasons on TOUR, Scheffler had hovered right around the statistical baseline for Strokes Gained: Putting among qualified players. He was at -0.05 strokes per round in 2020, and +0.02, in 2021. But in his 10 starts from February through May, Scheffler gained more than half-a-stroke on the field, per round, on the greens. In his victory in Phoenix, Scheffler ranked 2nd in Strokes Gained: Putting, one of just three times in his entire PGA TOUR career where he ranked in the top 10 in a tournament field in that statistic.

The story since then

Scheffler hasn’t maintained the pace he enjoyed in the spring, but still has recorded four top-10 finishes in his last 10 starts. And he’s improved in one big marker. From February through May, he averaged 1.32 Strokes Gained: Ball Striking per round and hit 70.9% of his greens in regulation. Since then, he’s averaged 1.70 strokes per round striking it and hit a sterling 74.1% of greens in regulation.

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