Arccos has plotted each of Phil Mickelson’s 283 shots at last week's PGA Championship to provide a series of fascinating stats around his historic victory
The Stats Behind Phil Mickelson’s PGA Championship Win
Phil Mickelson entered the record books on Sunday with his age-defying victory at the PGA Championship.
Despite being a month away from his 51st birthday, Mickelson unleashed a series of “bombs” off the tee while displaying his usual deft touch around the greens to pick up the Wanamaker trophy for the second time.
But where do the stats say he outperformed a typical tour pro that week?
Well, according to the Arccos team, who have plotted every shot during his four rounds of 70-69-71-73 at Kiawah Island’s treacherous Ocean Course, a big part of his success was his driving.
Mickelson, whom Arccos has given a +7.1 handicap, put a new driver in the bag at the start of the week with just 5.25° of loft and a 47.9 inch shaft.
Versus a tour pro average, he gained 1.2 shots with his driving over the four days, including a full two shots in round two. Where a tour pro averages 280 yards, he averaged a whopping 299 yards from the 56 tee shots he hit on par fours and fives.
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This is despite only hitting 26 per cent of fairways, where a tour pro would be finding 54 per cent on average.
Mickelson also gained 0.9 shots on his approach play, being particularly effective on long approach shots from 200+ yards.
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It was his short chips, as you might expect, where Mickelson really hammered home his advantage. On shots from inside 25 yards, he averaged 6ft from the hole versus the 10ft average of a tour pro, while he got up and down 71 per cent of the time.
His bunker prowess was also a big earner for Lefty, average just 5 feet away from the hole on bunker shots inside 25 yards – helped by his spectacular hole out from the bunker on the par-three fifth hole for birdie.
He got up and down 83 per cent of the time from the bunker, which is significantly better than the 54 per cent average of a tour pro.
It’s worth pointing out that technically there were no bunkers at Kiawah Island, only sandy areas from which players were able to make practice swings and ground their club, which will have contributed to the uplift in results.
To get up and down, you need to hole putts and while Mickelson marginally lost shots overall on the greens, he had a higher number of one putts and fewer three putts than tour average.
He also putted much better at the start of the round and then tailed off on the back nine, as his putting momentum chart (above left) clearly shows.
Mickelson is known for his age-defying distance and quirky ways in which he can hit the ball further and this approach clearly worked at Kiawah, along with his razor-sharp wedge game which we come to expect.