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Colonel Bogey’s TM Statistics

Over the course of a season, it is likely that less than half the time the winner would be the player with the most birdies and better (the Gross Negative Score, (GNS)). So who does win? Most of the time it is the player who makes the fewest mistakes over 72 holes that is the player with the fewest bogeys and worse (the Gross Positive Score, (GPS)).

And what is possibly the least important statistic? Most likely it is driving distance.

Here are some of the most dramatic statistics from the 2009 PGA Tour:

  1. At the Honda Classic (March 5-8) the winner Y.E. Yang would have tied 11 others for 12th place if GNS determined the winner.
  2. At the Transitions Championship (March 19-22) the winner Retief Goosen would have tied 14 others for 19th place.
  3. Brian Gay had the lowest GNS and won the Verizon Heritage (April 16-19) by 10 strokes with only two bogeys in 72 holes. Incidentally, he was 72nd out of 78 in driving distance.
  4. Jerry Kelly won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with a GNS of -18 which would have tied him with eight others for 12th place. George McNeill also had a GNS of -18. George tied for 67th place.
  5. Sean O’Hair won the Quail Hollow Championship (April 30-May 3) with a GNS of -21 which would have tied him with four others for 3rd place. Brandon de Jonge also had a GPS of -21 and he tied for 44th place.
  6. Tiger Woods won the BMW Championship with the lowest GNS (-23). J. D. Holmes finished first in two categories, driving distance and most bogeys. He finished 67th.
  7. Phil Mickelson won The Tour Championship with the lowest GNS (-20). Phil had an eight on a par four hole in the first round. Who said Phil can’t be patient, at least for one tournament?

Birdies Rarely Win On the PGA Tour

(Nor does driving distance)

If birdies (and better) determined the winner on the PGA Tour, Heath Slocum (-19 GNS) instead of coming in first, would have tied with 10 others for eighth place at last week’s McGladrey Classic. Jeff Quinney (-21 GNS) would have finished first instead of tying for ninth place and six others (-20 GNS) would have tied for second place. GNS stands for Gross Negative Score, that is, the total of birdies and better. Justin Leonard was one of the six with a GNS of -20. Justin finished tied for 45th place and took home $10,836. Heath (-19) took home $720,000. Justin received $542 for each birdie while Heath received $3,632 per birdie.

How come?

The answer is very simple, and it is true most weeks on the pro tour. Heath had a GPS of +5 while Justin had a GPS of +15 (GPS =Gross Positive Score, i.e. bogeys and worse). Similarly, Scott McCarron who tied Heath in GNS came in tied for 45th because of a GPS of +13.

Bill Haas’s GNS was only -16, yet Bill finished second and took home $432,000 thanks to an incredible GPS of +3 (three bogeys in 72 holes). Thus, Bill received $2,700 for each birdie compared to Justin’s $542. Alex Hamilton also had a GNS of -16 and thanks to a GPS of +11 tied for 45th.

Similarly driving distance has very little significance in determining the winner week after week on the PGA Tour. Slocum came in 66th out of 73 players at the McGladrey. Jeff Quinney, who had the most birdies came in 72nd. Just maybe the more important statistic was driving accuracy where Keith was 4th and Jeff tied for 5th. Charles Howell III was number one in driving distance and tied for 6th overall while J.B. Holmes was 2nd and finished 59th overall most likely because he tied for 69th in driving accuracy.

Colonel Bogey for BogeybreakersTM