There are a lot of stats in professional golf. You have the regular season standings, playoff standings, money leaders, world rankings, driving distance leaders, greens in regulation hawks and the list goes on and on. For me, the most interesting stat in golf belongs to the scramblers. These men didn’t hit their green in regulation and they didn’t give up. Despite a poor tee shot or the occasional chunk on the fairway, these masters of disaster found a way to overcome their shortcomings and make par or better. Today we examine the scrambling statistic and those who excelled at it in 2012.
What is “scrambling”? It is when a player misses the green in regulation and still manages to make par or better on that particular whole. The green in regulation stat, or “GIR”, measures how many shots it would take to get onto the green in relation to par. Par on a hole in golf always includes two putts. So if you have a par four hole, to hit the green in regulation, you would have to be there in two shots or less. The scrambling statistic simply measures the amount of times a golfer missed the GIR and divides it by the amount of times par or better was achieved on those holes.
Surprisingly, the best scrambler on the PGA Tour in 2012 was Brian Gay. Who in the world is Brian Gay?! Well, Gay is currently ranked 302nd in The World Golf Rankings, has a scoring average above 70, and is certainly the master of his domain, so long as his domain is the short game that perplexes golfers worldwide. Gay and a slew of big names like Ian Poulter, Jim Furyk, Luke Donald and Tiger Woods round out the top five in best scrambling percentages.
The next time I am lying two in the rough on a par four, gripping the club a little tighter because I am two strokes behind my dad with one hole to go and knowing I need to knock it dead on the green and preferably with a dainty five foot putt for par, who will I be thinking of? Will it be Rory? No. Tiger? No. Phil? NO! I will be thinking of Brain Gay, the Macgyver of the hardest shot golf, the one you really need and can’t afford to screw up.