Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Most Average Player

While working with one statistic or another, I’ve often needed to know the median or average to assign point values accordingly. It just now occurred to me that I could also identify the players who are in the middle, or even better, document the Most Average Players in the LPGA.

Obviously, the Average Player is a pretty damn good golfer compared to you and me. She’s only average compared to the rest of the LPGA. In 2007, she used 73.315 strokes per round over 30 tournaments. In 2006, she broke 73 – only 72.929 strokes per round. And in 2005, she was virtually the same as 2007 – 73.316. I’m still working on 2004. I ought to determine the medians for stuff like GIR and Driving Distance so I could really figure out who is average, but this will do for now. So here are the Most Average LPGA Players in each of the last three years:

2007 Song-Hee Kim
The 2006 Futures Tour champion, Kim was touted by many (including myself) as a sure-fire Rookie of the Year candidate. Her scoring average of 73.32 ranked 75th out of 146 eligible players. Song-Hee is a long hitter (T18) and reaches GIR in good fashion (38) but her PPGIR (T95) and Putting Average (128) undermine her performance. It wasn’t the season we expected but her results come up way short of her stats. You would think that the MAP could come up with a Top 20 finish sometime (T22 was her best) but Kim seemed to underachieve all year and lost her exempt status by finishing outside the money list Top 90. She is Non-exempt Player #10 so she should get enough starts in 2008 to make Top 90 if she can just get results equal to her statistics.

2006 Beth Bader
Compare 2007 Kim to 2006 Bader – Beth wound up 83rd on the money list with two Top 20 finishes (her best was T12). She was 86th in scoring out of 167 eligible players, using 72.94 strokes per round. Bader had less extremes in her game than Kim – T37 in driving average, 89 in GIR, T94 in PPGIR and 89 in Putting Average – and that may be meaningful but I’m still amazed at Kim’s lack of even marginal success, especially after looking at…

2005 Becky Morgan
Morgan overcame a short driver (T150) and poor putting (T87 in PPGIR, T125 in Putting Average) to finish T70 on the 2005 money list. How did she do this? Top 10, baby! Tied for seventh at Wegmans and also T15 at the British Open. If you’re going to be the Most Average Golfer and want to keep your exemption, it helps to string together three or four good rounds on the same weekend to maximize your output. Becky was 72nd in GIR (an extremely average number) so those long irons must have pretty good that year.

No comments: