Strokes Gained is a concept that has dramatically changed how golf fans, prognosticators, punters and fantasy players understand the game.
The work Mark Broadie did with the PGA Tour to create the original Strokes Gained and Strokes Gained Putting, then further breaking out into Strokes Gained figures from Off the Tee, On the Approach and Around the Green, was genius.
While Strokes Gained gives us a tremendously better understanding of how PGA Tour and European Tour players gain their edge against their top-tier peers, Strokes Gained Total does not account for field strength. Strokes Gained Total tells us how well players are doing in a single tournament against how the course is playing, as Strokes Gained Total is a tally of the strokes players gain against the course average during a tournament.
We can, as of June 2016, also calculate Strokes Gained Total as an addition problem of Strokes Gained Putting + Strokes Gained Off the Tee + Strokes Gained Approach + Strokes Gained Around the Green. They're the same.
However, gaining strokes on a weak field is different than gaining strokes on a deeper field. If we want to compare the performance of players across their schedules and the competition they face week to week, then we need to include field strength in Strokes Gained Total.
(The component pieces shouldn't account for field strength separately because each golfer gets to their Strokes Gained Total in different ways, but you could conceivably do it for each component.)
We've seen others try to account for field strength in their modeling, and we think it's key to have it broken out as its own statistic. So, we offer Quality Strokes Gained. Quality Strokes Gained begins with Strokes Gained Total and multiplies that by a figure derived from each individual tournament's first-place points from the Official World Golf Ranking.
The Official World Golf Ranking offers up to 100 points for first-place finishers in majors on down, and it depends on the number of top-200 players in the world that week in a particular field.
To get our Quality Strokes Gained multiple, we take the first-place points for each event and divide them by 50.
For example, the PGA Championship (the only major which offers Strokes Gained data) winner gets 100 OWGR points. Divided that by 50, and that means each player's Strokes Gained Total in the field are multiplied by 2.
Conversely, if a PGA Tour event offers 50 OWGR points to first place, then the Strokes Gained Total are multiplied by 1.
If a PGA Tour event offers 40 OWGR points to first place, then the Strokes Gained Total are multiplied by 0.8.
By way of giving examples, here's a look at the Quality Strokes Gained of last season's PGA Tour winners (where Strokes Gained data is tabulated).
Click header to sort
|Thomas, Justin||PGA Championship||16.365||100||2||32.730|
|Matsuyama, Hideki||WGC Bridgestone||17.987||76||1.52||27.340|
|Johnson, Dustin||The Northern Trust||16.972||74||1.48||25.119|
|Kim, Si Woo||The Players||15.644||80||1.6||25.030|
|Leishman, Marc||BMW Championship||15.463||72||1.44||22.267|
|Johnson, Dustin||Genesis Open||16.497||66||1.32||21.776|
|Johnson, Dustin||WGC Mexico||14.198||76||1.52||21.581|
|Thomas, Justin||Sony Open||20.238||50||1||20.238|
|Henley, Russell||Houston Open||19.697||50||1||19.697|
|Leishman, Marc||Arnold Palmer Invitational||14.22||62||1.24||17.633|
|Fowler, Rickie||The Honda Classic||14.4||54||1.08||15.552|
|Hadwin, Adam||Valspar Championship||16.013||48||0.96||15.372|
|Matsuyama, Hideki||Waste Management Phoenix Open||13.267||56||1.12||14.859|
|Horschel, Billy||Byron Nelson||14.473||50||1||14.473|
|Harman, Brian||Wells Fargo Championship||12.783||50||1||12.783|
|Spieth, Jordan||Travelers Championship||12.279||52||1.04||12.770|
|Chappell, Kevin||Valero Texas Open||16.326||38||0.76||12.408|
|Rahm, Jon||Farmers Insurance Open||11.002||54||1.08||11.882|
|Stenson, Henrik||Wyndham Championship||17.349||34||0.68||11.797|
|Thomas, Justin||Tournament of Champions||11.501||50||1||11.501|
|Schauffele, Xander||Tour Championship||9.533||60||1.2||11.440|
|Bryan, Wesley||RBC Heritage||11.813||48||0.96||11.340|
|Vegas, Jhonattan||RBC Canadian Open||14.229||38||0.76||10.814|
|Pampling, Rod||Shriners Open||14.317||36||0.72||10.308|
|Steele, Brendan||Safeway Open||12.745||38||0.76||9.686|
|Berger, Daniel||FedEx St. Jude Classic||12.56||38||0.76||9.546|
|Schauffele, Xander||The Greenbrier Classic||13.213||34||0.68||8.985|
|Gribble, Cody||Sanderson Farms Championship||16.372||24||0.48||7.859|
|DeChambeau, Bryson||John Deere Classic||12.083||30||0.6||7.250|
|Spieth, Jordan||AT&T Pebble Beach||6.486||52||1.04||6.745|
|Murray, Grayson||Barbasol Championship||13.549||24||0.48||6.504|
|Hughes, Mackenzie||RSM Classic||9.551||32||0.64||6.113|
|Swafford, Hudson||CareerBuilder Challenge||5.895||42||0.84||4.952|
We'll continue working with Quality Strokes Gained and try to give an idea of how players' schedules impact their Strokes Gained.