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Wednesday
Nov212012

Luke Donald's PGA Tour Putting In 2012

The current World No. 2 Tweeted his numbers after the @PGATOUR Twitter feed pointed out he made 90.2% of his putts inside 10 feet.

I don't care how good putting surfaces are these days, this is impressive, bordering on insane. Especially the inside 3' number:

 

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Reader Comments (37)

absolutely unbelievable - - i would like to see the 3 footer he missed!
11.21.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjmr
He'll be even better when he goes to a long putter!

Still room for improvement Luke . . .

That's amazing.
Holy smokes! That's Robert Johnson at the Crossroads good.
I'd happily take the 10 foot stats for my 2 footers.
11.21.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdbh
Brian Gay was even more impressive. 90,14% out of 1400 attempts
11.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyan
Just think how good he'd be with a belly putter!
11.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
That's better than a machine!
11.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
But he hasn't won a major, so we can't possibly consider him a decent player.
11.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
@Press Agent

He is a decent player. BUT, he is not considered "great".

Not all majors are won by "great" players, but all "great" players have won majors.

BTW, I wonder how his putting stats look like in majors as opposed to run-of-the-mill tour stops?

The only thing I recall from his performance in majors this year is a back door high finish at the Open Championship - a classic sign of Luke Donald Disease.
11.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRob
If he didn't putt that well, we would have never have heard of him. He is one of the worst drivers of the ball in the professional game. Short and crooked.
11.21.2012 | Unregistered Commentersgolfer
@PressAgent how can you say 'we can't consider him decent' are you out of your mind? he's #2 in the whole world. you're an idiot.
11.21.2012 | Unregistered Commentermarkgolf
@sgolfer.
Putting is part of the game-and if you are very good at it you are a long way towards being a good golfer!
When I played the tour I drove the ball pretty well but couldn't putt for toffee-which is why nobody's heard of me and I fold sweaters for a living!!
11.21.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchico
@markgolf - I am pretty sure @Press Agent was being sarcastic.
11.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRob
Dave Pelz' studies in the 1980s indicated that 6 feet was the "break-event" length for PGA tour putters. In other words, the average PGA tour pro made 50% of his 6-foot putts.

Now, with ShotLink data, the precise break-even length can be determined for all putters, and a champion can be crowned.

Donald's data appears to be quite good, but without comparison to his peers, we can't be sure. Here are his PGA Tour stats for this year:

http://www.pgatour.com/golfers/023983/luke-donald/performance-stats/#uber

The key numbers, and rank:

Putting from Inside 5' 97.87% 7th
Putting from 5-10' 62.90% 5th
Putting from - 10-15' 38.26% 2nd
Putting from - 15-20' 24.00% 9th
Putting from - 20-25' 14.29% 39th
Putting from - > 25' 4.52% 148th
Putting from 5-15' 53.49% 1st
Putting from 15-25' 19.57% 14th
Putting from 3-5' 92.49% 7th

So he's not a great lag putter, but otherwise, he's an outstanding putter. And from between 5' and 15', he's the best.
@sgolfer, here are his driving stats:

Driving Distance 280.1 170th
Driving Accuracy Percentage 65.16% 37th

Short, yes. Crooked, no.
The contrast with Lee Westwwod is quite startlng (though not unexpected)
Here are Lee's stats

Putting from Inside 5' 95.60% 146th
Putting from 5-10' 47.13% 190th
Putting from - 10-15' 35.07% 20th
Putting from - 15-20' 18.92% 84th
Putting from - 20-25' 10.61% 110th
Putting from - > 25' 6.63% 46th
Putting from 5-15' 41.58% 175th
Putting from 15-25' 15.00% 101st
Putting from 3-5' 85.61% 130th
11.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterStiggy
Press Agent, love the irony. Made me spit my coffee out!!
11.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterStiggy
Donald rolls it almost as well as Eldrick Almighty did back in the day.
11.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSun Mountain Man
Holy $--- I wish there was an app that would tell me what my handicap would be if I made 90% from 10 feet and in.

I am not a Luke fan, but may become one. Putting that well is more impressive than Dustin's length.
No Longer etc... hcp would probably be about 10-14 shots better, I'd say, if you're >18 hcpr
11.21.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchubby hubby
Chubby - Am open to blind gambling match.
Isn't it amazing how a guy gets tagged with something and it sticks. Many people, even so called experts and analysts, continue to think of Donald as Short and Crooked when the crooked part is not true. I heard a tool the other day still talking about Trevor Immelman fighting injuries. He hasn't had an injury for a few years yet no matter what you hear the tv dudes constantly say he's "coming back from some injuries". Incredible. I think Lee Janzen is still fighting back from injuries too. And David Duval......GIVE ME A BREAK!
11.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDJ
@Sun actually Luke rolls it better than Tiger did back in the day. Prior to this year he'd led the tour in SG putting each of the past 3 years, Tiger was generally around the top 10 but never the best.

BTW while Luke Donald is an excellent putter inside 10ft it's a crappy stat for a couple of reasons: 1) 184 pro's make 85% or better of putts inside 10ft, so there's very little separation between even the very best and the terrible 2) there's a massive difference (as Luke's stats bear out) between a 3ft and an 8ft, while pro's make 90% of 3ft the break even (50%) pt is 7.5ft, 3ft and 8ft shouldn't be lumped in together into one stat.
11.21.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Yeah, but I want to see him putt like that on my greens! Thing is, he probably would. They are not like you and me, anchored or not.
@Martin DV

Anecdotally, listening to the Euro tour announcers on the Golf Channel talk about Donald's accuracy, they are usually quick to mention that he is way off line when he strays.

Accuracy in terms of tour stats is "missing vs hitting" the fairway. However, if it was done in terms of how far he misses the center line, things would be worse (BTW - this is why Tiger's driving stats look pretty good, because they don't communicate how much he misses the fairway by - his customary 1st tee snap hook driver/3 wood counts as though it missed the short grass by an inch yet often the ball is in an adjoining fairway).
11.21.2012 | Unregistered Commentersgolfer
Luke Donald needs to smarten up - tweeting your own putting stats is a sure way to catch the attention of the unforgiving golf gods.
@Chico: Great post....and sooooo very true. I never made it a big Tour...but can 110% validate what you said...it don't matter how easily one gets to the green...it's the getting the ball in the hole what counts...otherwise go find a nice place to fold sweaters (they wouldn't let me touch the cash register ;-))

@Smacking: I thought along similar lines...the golf gods have been roused.


As for Luke's inside 10' stats....IMO this is all related to how many greens he hits in regulation as well as how ungodly his skills are at pitching/chipping/sand/etc. If one can pitch/chip it inside 5 feet....one will always be able to post decent scores.
11.22.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
0-for-0 from any length on putts to close out a major so something is missing.....what is it?
11.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
stats show Luke is a great putter ... but it's one thing winning the Hondas, Disneys and Southern Farm Bureau tournaments and quite another displaying the ability to make the putts in Majors where Luke has drastically underachieved - something like 6 top 10s in his career and most in the form of the "back door top 10" when no pressure is on in the final round
11.22.2012 | Unregistered Commenterbayhill bogey
Speaking of Luke's Southern Farm Bureau triumph - that was a 54-hole tournament, so he won it without having to defend a 54-hole lead - tailor made for Luke.

Also, his Honda was at Mirasol, before it moved to PGA National and before top-ranked golfers started showing up which elevated the event in the last couple of years.
11.22.2012 | Unregistered Commentersgolfer
chico, I know you do much more that fold sweaters for a living. And if I am able to cross the pond to visit Ghost Jr. this summer during his 12 weeks in Paris and Oxford (lucky little ghost, he is) I'm coming up to see you for that lesson on how to hit a high draw with the driver!
@sgolfer Not to let stats get in the way of your fun (or a good announcer narrative) but Luke is slightly above avg in distance from the center of the fairway and distance from the edge of the fairway stats. As to Tiger, everyone hits the occasional snap hook, you just don't see it on TV when most guys do it.

At some point I really hope that the rest of the strokes gained stats will become publicly available (he's starting to calculate them for driving, approaches to greens, short game), but Rory was 2nd this year off the tee, and Tiger 10th in his formula. And that takes into account how far wide the miss was.

(oh, and Luke has also won a WGC & two BMW PGA's but I guess he stinks in all big events)
11.22.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
@markgolf, yes as others have noted that was said with tongue planted firmly in cheek. If you were a frequent visitor to the site you'd know we have a number of posters who feel Luke Donald falls way short of what his world rankings say, and they remind us of it on a constant basis. They have also coined something called 'Luke Donald Disease.' My post was directed at them.
11.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
@elf - it is amazing how one is able to fit all of Luke's greatest golf achievements into a single sentence with brackets that doesn't even take up the width of the blog post space.

That is not a resume worthy of the Fort Knox fortune this pretender has accumulated.

LUKE DONALD DISEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
11.22.2012 | Unregistered Commentersgolfer
Luke Donald is 13th on the career money list with $28.9 million....directly in front of Adam Scott, directly behind Sergio Garcia. Not a major between them.

8 of the top-10 have majors, the exceptions being Stricker and Perry. Amazing how close Phil and Vijay are at #'s 2 and 3 with only $400,000 separating them, over $67 million in earnings each. Tiger has $101,000,000.
11.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Other interesting tidbits from the career money list:
Nicklaus (yeah, that one): 216
Snead (JC, not Sam): 372
Snead (Sam, not JC): 597
Nicklaus (the notable amateur): 603
Hogan (one spot clear of Feherty(!) which is the closest DF ever got to Hogan): 758
Nelson: 892
Now, can we stop talking about this. Scott, Donald, Stricker et al. are extremely fortunate young men who seem to realize their good fortune. They are also outstanding golfers. Champion golfers, not so much. Yet.

BTW, the inflation-adjusted money list mentioned in these parts recently is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_golfers_with_most_PGA_Tour_wins
Tiger may yet catch Snead. I'd say the odds are 3:1 in favor.
11.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Does anyone know if these are putts where approach shot finished or do they count 2+ putts toward this stat?
11.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarter Redbush
Math question
Luke made 16 cuts in 17 tour events. That is 1,188 holes. Yet according to his stats he olny holed 843 putts from inside 10 feet. That's 345 hole outs not accounted for. I'm guessing he did not hole out 345 times from outside of 10 feet.
What gives?
11.27.2012 | Unregistered Commentermdrgolf

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