2024 PGA Championship: 1 surprising stat that stands out after 2 rounds

Golf teacher Bill Schmedes assesses a few interesting stats that he noticed from the first two rounds of the 2024 PGA Championship

Nearly halfway through the 2024 PGA Championship, these stats have proven to be the most important thus far.

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The 2024 PGA Championship has been one of the wildest golf tournaments ever — and that’s not hyperbolic, despite not even officially being through two rounds yet.

From the rainy weather conditions to Xander Schauffle’s historic start to an unfathomable incident Friday morning that led to the world’s No. 1-ranked player, Scottie Scheffler, getting arrested, the scene around Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville has been wild.

But at the epicenter of it all has been the second major championship of the season, with the world’s best players competing to build their legacies.

As we prepare for the cut line and the weekend ahead, is there something that stands out about the haves versus the have-nots? I asked golf teacher Bill Schmedes to dive into some data to find out — and he found a trend that could help reveal the victor at the 2024 PGA Championship.

1 telling stat from the 2024 PGA Championship

In golf, there’s an old adage that you drive for show and putt for dough — but that certainly hasn’t been the case for the majority of major champions over the years when you dive into the stats.

More than ever before, golf is full of data, which allows players, teachers, and fans to analyze trends from some of the best players in the world.

As a golf coach, I use data to help me formulate better plans with some of the pro golfers that I work with, helping to identify what stats really matter from a performance standpoint — and the 2024 PGA Championship is no different.

Using info from Data Golf, we’re able to see the Strokes Gained metric, which provides real-time tracking for players relative to the rest of the field.

Scottie Scheffler at the 2024 PGA Championship on Friday.
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So far in the 2024 PGA, one interesting stat has stood out: The top 26 players (including tied) are excelling in strokes gained: tee-to-green, which is calculated based on their performance from each shot from the tee box until they reach the green.

Including ties, there are 33 players inside of the T26 threshold (as of press time), with 27 of them performing better in strokes gained: tee-to-green opposed to strokes gained: putting.

What does this tell me? That, through nearly two rounds of the PGA Championship, ball control is much more valuable than putting — which isn’t always the case in Tour events.

For example, when Hideki Matsuyama won the Masters in 2021, he was ranked 175th in strokes gained: putting, but ranked 15th in strokes gained: tee-to-green. That same year, when Collin Morikawa won the Open Championship, he was ranked 178th strokes gained: putting, but 2nd in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

A look at the current leaders in strokes gained: tee-to-green from the 2024 PGA Championship Image via Data Golf

Of the players who are currently near the top of the leaderboard at this year’s PGA Championship, it’s no surprise that they rank high in strokes gained: tee-to-green, with Scheffler (1st in this category), Morikawa (2nd in this category), and Xander Schauffele (3rd in this category) all currently in the T3 of the actual leaderboard at Valhalla.

So while driving for show and putting for dough usually holds true, thus far at the 2024 PGA Championship, it’s actually been much of the opposite.

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Bill Schmedes III


Nick Dimengo

Golf.com Editor