Jason Day is having the best putting season of the last decade
It's actually shocking that Jason Day doesn't have more wins than he does in 2015-16
Jason Day had an unbelievable 2014-2015 PGA Tour season with his putter. Day finished sixth on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting (essentially how good you are against the field average week in and week out) by gaining just over half a stroke per round (or two strokes per tournament) against the field.
By any measure, this is good enough to be one of the five or 10 best players on the PGA Tour if your ball-striking is also solid. Somehow, Day has now doubled that number. In 2015-2016, Day is gaining 1.15 strokes per round against the rest of the field. This is an outrageous number. A number that has not been approached since the strokes gained stat started being kept in the early 2000s.
I know Day is great at putting because I watch a lot of golf but also because the numbers say so. Day has made three of the 12 longest putts on the PGA Tour this year (all over 70 feet) including this 71-footer on Sunday at The Barclays.
"It reminds me of the ninth hole at Augusta," said Day. "If you're way on the right side, and the pin is on the front left. There's a good little spot where if you can just get it to the edge. It goes up and down a little bit, and gets to the edge and can roll back down. It's one of those putts where you really try to get it down there somewhere around the hole. Fortunate enough for me, the last year and a half, I've holed a good bunch of those big ones."
Yes he has. Here's a look at the top five on Tour this year in strokes gained with the putter.
- Jason Day: 1.15
- Phil Mickelson: .786
- Jamie Donaldson: .784
- Steve Stricker: .719
- Jordan Spieth: .710
This is preposterous. Phil Mickelson is No. 2, but he's closer to being No. 25 than he is to catching Day. Now let's look at the seven best putting seasons since these stats started being kept in 2004.
- Jason Day (2016): 1.15
- Jesper Parnevik (2007): .979
- Corey Pavin (2008): .973
- Ben Crane (2005): .939
- Luke Donald (2009): .934
- Graeme McDowell (2014): .882
- Tiger Woods (2009): .877
Nobody has ever been over one stroke gained per round, and Day has a chance to now shatter that number over the final few weeks. If you throw in the end of his last season where he was over one stroke gained in four of his last seven events (and .98 in another), Day is riding one of the great heaters of all time. Especially compared to his normal putting numbers.
Here are his career strokes gained numbers.
- Jason Day (2016): 1.15
- Jason Day (2015): .586
- Jason Day (2014): .317
- Jason Day (2013): .370
- Jason Day (2012): .526
- Jason Day (2011): .576
- Jason Day (2010): -0.14
It's really good, but nothing like this season. This season is an all-timer, and he's taking advantage of it. Day has won seven times in the last 14 months and recently finished second at the PGA Championship this season. This roll might not last forever (recent history tells me he will come sharply back to the mean). But Day is good enough to sustain the success he has incurred because, unlike some of the other great putters listed above, Day is also an elite ball-striker.
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