We've all been there. Fairly easy putt less than 20 feet from the hole. Very little break. Maybe a tad uphill so we can be firm with the stroke. No problem, right? Just get it up there for our tap-in par and move on.
But, inevitably, we end up three jacking on a few holes. It happens a lot more than we care to admit. What we will admit is that three putting sucks.
Think your three foot knee knocker to win your nassau on the 18th last week was tough? Remember, only three other people in the entire world gave a crap about it.
But let's talk meaningful 3-putts. I took a look at the statistical category 3 Putt Avoidance to get a feel for how the participants in the upcoming Ryder Cup fare in that category for the year 2012. I think you may be as surprised as I was when you see the numbers. Not at all what I was expecting. First, a caveat. I was unable to get numbers in this category for several members of Team Europe because the statistics kept on the European Tour are not exactly the same as those kept on the PGA Tour and these players play the bulk of their events across the pond. If I do come across those numbers I will update this post. The Team Europe players I could not find data on are: Nicolas Colsaerts, Martin Kaymer, Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson and Paul Lawrie.
Obviously, with the format of the Ryder Cup and the aspect of team play in Fourballs and Foursomes, the 3 Putt stat on these individuals may not be as relevant for the first two days of competition. But then comes Sunday, September 30th and the twelve individual matches. Remember, there are some rookies in this event who have never experienced the type of pressure that makes the Ryder Cup such a great event. Think there may be some rattled nerves and a three putt coming down the stretch? Think one of these rookies might see a putt of 40 or 50 feet that will suddenly seem longer than Paradise by the Dashboard Light? And when he does maybe his legs turn to jelly and he's lucky if he gets it halfway to the hole? Welcome to the Ryder Cup, boys.
Now, onward with the numbers. The PGA Tour describes the category 3 Putt Avoidance as "the percent of time 3 or more putts were taken for a hole (total 3-putts, 4-putts, etc./ total holes played)." First, we'll look at Team USA and list them from best to worst in the category
Furyk: ranks 4th at 1.75%
Kuchar: ranks 12th at 1.99%
Stricker: ranks 18th at 2.19%
Snedeker: ranks 33rd at 2.40%
Z. Johnson: ranks 38th at 2.52%
Simpson: ranks 42nd at 2.55%
D. Johnson: ranks 51st at 2.65%
Watson: ranks 73rd at 2.87%
Mickelson: ranks 78th at 2.89%
Woods: ranks 82nd at 2.91%
Dufner: ranks 105th at 3.13%
Bradley: ranks 162nd at 3.90%
Garcia: ranks 8th at 1.82%
Donald: ranks 13th at 2.01%
McDowell: ranks 20th at 2.26%
Poulter: ranks 31st at 2.38%
Rose: ranks 114th at 3.21%
McIlroy: ranks tied 128th at 3.33%
Westwood: ranks tied 128th at 3.33%
Two members from Team USA and three from Team Europe ranked below the top 100 in 3 Putt Avoidance? I knew Westwood had his difficulties on the green form time to time but I never would have guessed that Rory 3-putts that frequently.
Thanks for reading. Would love to read your comments.
*From statistics compiled through the BMW Championship ending September 9th.