Jordan Spieth’s Record-Breaking 2015 Masters By the Numbers

April 1, 2016


Spieth’s 18-under total tied the 72-hole record set by Tiger Woods in 1997. In defense of Woods’s mark, Spieth dominated a statistically easier course. Augusta National played an average of 295.3 strokes in ’97, compared with 289.9 strokes last year.


Strokes Gained shows that Spieth had almost no edge on the field on his tee shots on par 4s and par 5s. It was on approach shots (non-drives from outside 100 yards) and putting where he proved dominant. Over the four rounds, he gained a total of 8.5 shots on the field on approach shots and 7.8 shots with his putter. To compare, the average PGA Tour event winner typically gains a little more than five strokes with the putter and about five strokes with approach shots per event. Spieth was best on medium-length putts between five and 25 feet — he made 58 percent (third-best in the field), versus the 41 percent he drained during the Tour season.


Spieth won big (a four-stroke margin) without big drives. The green jacket usually goes to a bomber — the likes of Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods. Spieth is the second-shortest winner since 2001 in terms of season-long driving distance versus the Tour average. Since ’01, the Masters champion has on average exceeded the Tour average by 11.4 yards in his winning season. Spieth was just 1.4 yards longer than that figure in 2015. (During this stretch, only Zach Johnson, in 2007, was shorter.) He made up for moderate power off the tee by playing the four par 3s in 3-under for the week, five strokes better than the field. Only Bubba Watson, in 2012, picked up more strokes on the field on par 3s.


Spieth’s first 8 Masters rounds relative to par.


Analyzing a player’s last 10 shots at any point in his four rounds (as measured by Strokes Gained Per Shot) reveals how hot or cold his play was at a given time. Spieth was hottest in the first round between holes 8 and 14, when his six birdies gained 6.3 strokes on the field. Twenty of his 23 shots in this stretch ranked better than the field average.