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

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.