The Best Putter Is...

April 11, 2004

Who's the best putter in pro golf? The PGA Tour rates players on
putts per green-hit-in-regulation, which doesn't take into
account the length of a player's putts. If someone finishes a
round with 18 one-putts but all of them are from less than six
feet, that means he's a great iron player, not a great putter.
Instead, we've examined Tour putts from 12 distances and compared
how many putts a player made from each with the Tour average from
that distance. For example, over the last 15 months our winner,
Ben Crane, attempted 177 putts of 15 to 20 feet in length, and he
made 45 of them (25.4%). If he had made the Tour average (19.2%),
Crane would have holed 34, so he had a +11 rating (45-34=11) from
that distance. Crane, in fact, had a plus rating in 11 of the 12
distances (three feet or less; four to five feet; and so on, up
to 25 feet and more). Overall, he made a total of 70.9 more putts
than average, which, divided by his number of rounds (93), gives
him a percentage of .762, meaning he saved three quarters of a
stroke per round over the average player.

This system debunks the notion that the Tour is a putting
contest. Based on data from January 2003 to present, only two of
the top five putters (Brad Faxon and Jay Haas) finished in the
top 30 on the 2003 money list. Meanwhile, no one in the top 10
World Ranking is among the top 25 putters. --David Barrett

BARRETT-O-METER

BEST PUTTERS

PLAYER RATING

Ben Crane +.762
Brad Faxon +.734
Aaron Baddeley +.645
Jay Haas +.638
Scott McCarron +.600

WORST PUTTERS

PLAYER RATING

Sergio Garcia -.700
Gene Sauers -.628
David Sutherland -.606
Ian Leggatt -.574
Joe Durant -.512

TOUR STATS

BEST PUTTERS

PLAYER PPG

Scott Verplank 1.717
Stewart Cink 1.722
Aaron Baddeley 1.723
Tiger Woods 1.728
Chris DiMarco 1.729

WORST PUTTERS

PLAYER PPG

Matt Kuchar 1.856
Ian Leggatt 1.856
John Morgan 1.818
David Sutherland 1.814
Chris Smith 1.812

COLOR PHOTO: ERIK S. LESSER/AP (CRANE) Crane COLOR PHOTO: ANDREW REDINGTON/GETTY IMAGES (GARCIA) Garcia COLOR PHOTO: AL MESSERSCHMIDT/WIREIMAGE.COM (VERPLANK) Verplank COLOR PHOTO: BOB FALCETTI/ICON SMI (MORGAN) Morgan

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)