Masters tip: Watch out for the PGA Tour’s best putters

Golfer Putting

The best putter on the PGA Tour is not going to win the Masters this year. How do I know? Steve Stricker cut back on his schedule a few years ago and did not qualify for Augusta this year.

The hottest putter going into this Masters would seem to be Jordan Spieth, who leads the tour in putts-per-hole at 1.674 and ranks second behind Stricker in putts per round, Stricker at 27.227 and Spieth at 27.308. Those are averages, by the way – the likes of Stricker and Spieth aren’t happy with 27 putts in a round of golf and could go much lower.

Most of us score low when we have a lot of one-putts. I always count my putts because putting is my business, so I should be a good putter. For me, 32 putts is way too many. Acceptable would be 23, and I’d like to get even lower.

We can all track our putts-per-hole and putts-per-round statistics. Sometimes the pros have 18 putts in a round. Of course, for them there’s an eagle in there somewhere.

The PGA Tour has a third putting stat that’s too complicated a formula for recreational players to apply. It’s called “strokes gained – putting” and is based on the distance from the hole on the first putt.

Stricker leads strokes gained – putting with an average of 1.224 strokes gained per round. Second is Jamie Donaldson, third is Jason Day, and Spieth is way down that list in 17th place.

Usually the player who makes the most critical putts wins the Masters. One exception might be Bubba Watson, with his amazing shot out of the trees in 2012– but would we so revere that shot if he had then three-putted? Bubba two-putted for par and won the green jacket.

He might win another one in 2016, but watch out for Spieth and for Phil Mickelson, who’s right there in the top 5 in putts-per-hole and putts-per-round.

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