Is there anything better in golf than making a long putt to win a match? And the beer cart girl asking for your number doesn't count. Sure, all of us love to talk about the huge drives we hit (that really aren't that huge) or the wedge we stuck two feet from the hole last week. But the shot you will recall more than any other is the putt you made from nowhere when the money was on the line. Most people might be lucky to three-putt from that distance and you drop it like it's a doggy doo bag. Hey, you win green on the greens, right?
I wonder if Jose Maria Olazabal has any disturbing visions of a Team USA player dropping a bomb putt from somewhere near O'Hare airport in the singles matches come Sunday. Does he see a repeat of Justin Leonard's 17th hole 50 footer at Brookline in 1999? Who is the likeliest to make the most unlikely putt? Who makes the bomb putt on Sunday that vanquishes the hopes of the other team?
We looked at 3-putt stats among Ryder Cup participants previously to see who might gag when the pressure hits. Now we turn to another category: GIR Putting >25 Feet.
This statistical category is defined by by the PGA TOUR as "where putting distance was determined with a laser and the green was hit in regulation, the percentage of putts made from greater than or equal to 25 feet from the hole. In order to be ranked, a minimum of ten attempts must be made." Keep in mind that the European Tour does not keep similar statistics and several members of Team Europe do not regularly play the PGA Tour. Members of Team Europe who are not on the following list are: Nicolas Colsaerts, Martin Kaymer, Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson and Paul Lawrie.
So, who might drop that big bomb putt? Here are the numbers. I have included players from both teams in the same list. If you don't know by now which team each player is on well, then, I feel sorry for you but you can go here.
Jason Dufner: ranks 5th at 9.13%
Webb Simpson: ranks 7th at 8.86%
Graeme McDowell: ranks 9th at 8.72%
Brandt Snedeker: ranks 12th at 8.21%
Sergio Garcia: ranks 17th at 7.82%
Ian Poulter: ranks 28th at 7.46%
Lee Westwood: ranks 30th at 7.33%
Phil Mickelson: ranks 32nd at 7.26%
Tiger Woods: ranks 36th at 6.97%
Zach Johnson: ranks 37th at 6.95%
Bubba Watson: ranks 40th at 6.85%
Keegan Bradley: ranks 45th at 6.67%
Justin Rose: ranks 50th at 6.44%
Dustin Johnson: ranks 64th at 6.00%
Matt Kuchar: ranks 69th at 5.83%
Steve Stricker: ranks 98th at 5.17%
Luke Donald: ranks 137th at 4.33%
Jim Furyk: ranks 179th at 2.69%
Rory McIlroy: ranks 183rd at 1.96%
A few observations: First, without looking at this list, I would never have guessed that Lee Westwood would rank that high or that he would be the fourth best ranking member from his team.
Second: I would have thought with all the talk about Steve Stricker's putting ability that he would have ranked higher than 98th on the PGA Tour and that he would not have been ranked 11th of the 12 Team USA members.
Third: 183rd? really Rory?
And finally, I wish the PGA Tour would keep a putting statistic which showed the percentage of putts made AFTER the player backs away. More of these guys need to play and putt like Brandt $nedeker. Just hit the f*&%$n' thing. The game would be more fun to watch.
Check back tomorrow. Thanks for reading.