What if… Scottie Scheffler had been just average inside 10 feet?

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What if… Scottie Scheffler had been just average inside 10 feet?

Much has been said and written about Scottie Scheffler’s putting. Up until last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, which Scheffler won in style, his Clippd Player Quality score for putting was below tour average. But what if his performance had been just average from 10 feet and in during the 12 months leading up to Bay Hill? How many regular tour titles would he have won?

The Clippd data science team ran the analysis, looking at 17 tournaments (not including majors) across the 12 months leading into his win at Bay Hill. Keeping all of Scheffler’s shots the same, except putts of 10 feet and inside, they simulated the impact of him putting at the standard of the average tour player (Player Quality of 100) at this distance. 

Each of the putts he hit from 10 feet and under have been simulated 10,000 times, in effect resulting in 10,000 different Scottie Scheffler years. Due to the inherent randomness of putting, his performances in tournaments vary from simulation to simulation. 

Scottie Scheffler wins if he's been tour average from 10 feet and inside

In reality, Scheffler won twice over these 17 tournaments. But as the graph above shows, with just an average performance at 10 feet and under, the highest probability is he would have won four times as well as making it into two playoffs.

The second highest probability is three wins, and the third highest is five wins. What's more, the statistical probability of Scheffler winning only two tournaments in the last 12 months had his putting from 10 feet and under been merely average is roughly the same as it is of him winning six!

The biggest differences in the analysis come at the 2023 Memorial Tournament, in which the simulations have Scheffler winning 65% of the time and getting into a playoff 13% of the time, and at the 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial, where he wins 40% of the time and gets into a playoff 22%. 

The largest difference in his scoring is at the 2023 Genesis Scottish Open, where the simulations have him saving 3.7 shots, thus getting into a playoff 16% of the time and winning another 21%. A Rory-Scottie showdown in sudden death at Renaissance last year, even in the howling wind and rain, would certainly have been one to savour!

However, not all results are positive. In these 10,000 simulations, Scheffler loses out at the Hero World Challenge 40% of the time due to losing on average two shots at this range.

The data serves to further underline how ridiculously good Scheffler has been in every other part of his game. If he really has rediscovered his mojo on the greens, it can only be very bad news indeed for his rivals.