Stats, glorious stats — Lara Tennant’s winning press conference from the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Sarah Kellam, September 16, 2021
Ladies and gentleman, we have strokes gained DATA! After the announcement of the KPMG Performance Insights initiative back in June, we hadn’t heard much from the LPGA Tour’s new stats tracking system. But with 240,000 golf shots worth of analytics so far and the release of the strokes gained metric, we now have reference points to quantify the skill with which these athletes compete and the talent they have compared to their male counterparts. And per the usual, the numbers don’t lie.
I’m not going to bore you with my own interpretation of what’s been gathered so far. For that, I suggest you turn to this article on LPGA.com. What I’d instead like to do is reiterate once again how important these stats are to the growth and health of women’s golf moving forward and how the face of the game could be changed with the existence of this type of information.
In golf, numbers are everything. I know that’s the case in most sports, but for this one in particular, statistics completely tell the story of a round, qualifying a great even par 72 or a poor four under 68, spelling out whether you scrambled your tail off or played like a dog. You have to be able to understand how many fairways and greens you hit, how close you hit your approaches, and how many times you get up and down to fully grasp how well or poorly you played.
The KPMG Performance Insights tool arms players with all of the necessary information about their games allowing them to adjust and improve as needed, but it more importantly validates what most of us women’s golf advocates have been saying for years: the women ARE just as good as the men. Now, with the addition of the strokes gained metric to the categories of stats that will be collected, we can further prove our point with easy-to-understand, quantitative data that every golf fan can recognize and interpret, enabling them to draw their own conclusions about male versus female players on the professional tours.
Take this section from the article, for example, that discusses the strength of Inbee Park’s putting:
“Let’s take putts from 10 to 15 feet. Since KPMG Performance Insight tracking started, putts from that range have been made 28% of the time by LPGA Tour players. In the men’s game, the overall percentage is comparable, hovering right around 30%. The last three season leaders in the men’s game in that statistic have made from 40 to 41% of putts from 10 to 15 feet away.
Inbee Park? She is making those putts a whopping 64% of the time. Park is currently making a higher rate of putts from 10 to 15 feet than her male counterparts did last season, on average, from 5 to 10 feet.
At the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Park drained a 100-foot putt on the 18th hole in the opening round. With that miraculous make, Park gained 1.70 strokes on the field, the most in any single putt since tracking began.”
Park has always been considered to be one of the greatest putters of all time, but very rarely is recognized as such because more attention is paid to the statistics that the men’s game has readily available to back up the Brad Faxons and Ben Crenshaws of the world. Looking at the percentages calculated from the short amount of time the KPMG Performance Insights tracking has been implemented, the numbers CLEARLY put her far and above the PGA Tour players that lead their circuit in the 10 to 15 feet category. Almost immediately Inbee’s legendary prowess on the greens is proven and proven in a way that golf fans can easily digest as truth.
This data is game-changing. We are already seeing the ripple effects of what even just a few months of numbers can do in terms of validating the skill of some of the game’s best on the LPGA Tour. And with the strokes gained metric being added, the information is just becoming richer and richer, allowing for a bigger, better picture to be painted of the immense talent that exists in the women’s game, some of which is even stronger than the men.
This week in women’s golf
(Reminder: First: the underlined words are the links. Second: CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. ESPECIALLY NOW, as newsrooms are forced to make difficult choices. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers, and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me! firstname.lastname@example.org.)
What we can learn from the early statistics gathered by KPMG Performance Insights. (via LPGA.com)
There have been many memorable moments at the Cambia Portland Classic throughout the years. (via LPGA.com)
Brooke Henderson is feeling at home in Portland this week. (via LPGA.com)
Hannah Green finds reminders of her home country in all sorts of places. (via LPGA.com)
Early stats reassure Austin Ernst’s faith in her long game. (via LPGA.com)
Yealimi Noh reflects on the lessons she’s learned so far on the LPGA Tour. (via LPGA.com)
How to watch the Cambia Portland Classic. (via LPGA.com)
A cool piece from Meghan MacLaren on a pro athlete’s constant need to get better. (via LPGA.com)
Ruixin Liu is officially qualified for the LPGA Tour next season. (via LPGA.com)
Here are the featured groups for the Guardian Championship. (via SymetraTour.com)
Here are some storylines at the Guardian Championship. (via SymetraTour.com)
A preview of the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout. (via SymetraTour.com)
Celine Boutier is looking to cap off her great play this summer at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Memories from the Lacoste Ladies Open de France. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Here’s what to watch for at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Atthaya Thitikul wins the VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
How Thitikul got it done at the VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Trust Golf’s Birdies for Better campaign raised $46,400 for charity. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Laura Diaz and Jan Stephenson won the BJ’s Charity Championship on the Legends of the LPGA Tour. (via LegendsoftheLPGA.com)
It’s Lara Tennant versus Ellen Port in the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur final. (via USGA.org)
A look back at the 2020 ANA Inspiration one year later. (via Golfweek.com)
Here’s who won the LPGA Professionals national awards. (via LPGA.com)
The LPGA Foundation’s virtual scramble returns for a second year. (via LPGA.com)
There are some notable female junior players on the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team. (via Golfweek.com)
All about the University of South Carolina women’s team and their good play at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate. (via Golfweek.com)
Tweets of the Week
Five at The IX: Lara Tennant’s winning press conference from the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur
It seems really cool that you and Ellen are so close. What was it like to compete today?
It was very difficult, but both Ellen and I have competed enough to know that we’re not really competing against each other, we’re competing against the course. We’ve played enough to know that really you play your best when you play the golf course and not the person you’re playing against.
You started out today with some wonderful golf. You had a couple birdies in a row. You almost had a third. You were really striping it. Did you have a real sort of mindset, I’ve got to get off to a strong start?
I knew that Ellen would get off to a very strong start. She would be fast out of the gates. I told myself that I needed to share in that intensity, and she won the first hole, and we were even, and I wasn’t too stressed about that. But I sort of put the pedal to the metal, and having those two birdies kind of allowed me to calm down a little bit and just get back into my own groove.
The golf was spectacular. I mean, tee to green, if you missed the fairway you were off by a foot, if you missed the green you were on the apron. It was great playing.
I think we put on a very, very good show. It was excellent golf. I have no idea what I shot, but I think we both had a lot of great opportunities for birdies. The putting is tough out there, so sometimes you’re just lagging a birdie putt because you want to make sure you get that two-putt and at least a tie on the hole. We both, I think, played well, and I’m sure Ellen would have wanted to play a little bit better, but I was pleased with my game. I should just talk about myself.
Now that you’ve done it, you tried to block out entertaining the idea of winning three straight. Now that it’s happened, what’s the feeling?
The feeling is I’m just grateful. I’m grateful that I was able to hang in there all week long. Like I said before, I had a lot of tough matches. There was not one easy match I had this week. And there really isn’t. The caliber of players just is very good here, obviously. But I just worked hard and was lucky that I was able to get to the finals and play well today.
The trophy goes back to the same spot, you don’t have to find something new to put there in the house.
I know, I’m very excited to have it back home.
Where will it go in the house?
It’ll go in the front entry, yes. It’s been there for now I think four years, so it’s a beautiful trophy, and it’s a beautiful reminder of how lucky I am.