Fairways + Greens Season Leader since 1980

Here is the compilation of every player that has averaged the best combined rank in driving accuracy % and GIR % (if #1 in both fairways and greens hit = 2) for the season since 1980:

1980 Mike Reid 3

1981 Calvin Peete 2

1982 Calvin Peete 2

1983 Calvin Peete 2

1984 Calvin Peete 4

1985 Calvin Peete 5

1986 Calvin Peete 4

1987 Mike Reid 9

1988 Calvin Peete 7

1989 Bruce Lietzke 5

1990 Doug Tewell 4

1991 Bruce Lietzke 10

1992 Doug Tewell 11

1993 David Edwards 9

1994 Fuzzy Zoeller 27

1995 Larry Mize 26

1996 David Duval 29

1997 Nick Price 25

1998 Hal Sutton 5

1999 Hal Sutton 7

2000 Joe Durant 4

2001 Joe Durant 5

2002 Jim Furyk 6

2003 Jim Furyk 10

2004 Joe Durant 5

2005 Joe Durant 15

2006 Joe Durant 7

2007 Jim Furyk 9

2008 Joe Durant 9

2009 Joe Durant 4

2010 Joe Durant 5

2011 Joe Durant 4

2012 Ben Curtis 20

2013 Steve Stricker 5

2014 Justin Hicks 5

2015 Francesco Molinari 7

2016 Thomas Aiken 7

2017 Ryan Armour 6

2018 Henrik Stenson 2

2019 Jim Furyk 27

2020 Jim Furyk 2

2021 Collin Morikawa 15

2022 Russell Henley 21


Forty two years, and 9 majors among them (not sure if Furyk has more than 1 major). Only 1 US Open.

I may be wrong, but it would seem this stat is not predictive of success in major championships, even the one that is supposed to be the most stringent test of ball striking ability.

I would say Morikawa had a pretty good season in 2021, don’t you think? Besides, these guys who lead in this stat are playing the least stressful golf over anybody else, especially Calvin Peete and Joe Durant and Jim Furyk. I noticed their P6’s are actually very similar even if their backswings are completely different, they seem to get the club head back on the original shaft plane that they set up on at address.

I think it’s pretty interesting that the guy who is unquestionably the greatest player of the 21st century and arguably the greatest ever is not on that list. Even once.

Broadie figured all of this out for us. Fairways hit is not a very predictive stat. GIR is. Put that one up and there will probably be 40-50 majors or more over the same period.

GIR much more important than FIR. Cool list though, focused on certain kind of players.

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If we assume players are aiming at the fairway most of the time, which they are at the tour level, even today, the ranking of fairways hit will always be biased toward short hitters. Just geometry…

Not back in the day…I’d be willing to bet Hogan would make their numbers look silly. Especially 48-49, but 52-54 would probably be even better.

You can bet your ass Snead and Nelson were right there too in the early 40s. And they were long hitters back then…Slammin’ Sammy.

Makes ya wonder what happened, huh…

Out of all of these players, only 4 players were able to lead the tour in the ball striking stat in the same season (total driving + GIR). They are Bruce Lietzke, David Duval, Hal Sutton and Joe Durant. They hit it far enough to keep up in the total driving stat which also focuses on distance.

I did a quick look at some other stat leaders.
For driving accuracy alone, leaders for the same 42 years we have 6 majors (3 by one guy Hale Irwin)
Among the driving distance leaders for the same 42 years, we have 11 majors.
Among the GIR leaders for the same 42 years, we have 41 majors.


And for sub-60 rounds, there’s David Duval and Jim Furyk totaling 3 times, two 59’s and one 58.

Interesting stuff. So, very interesting…

6 vs 41 majors for fairways vs greens hit, that’s incredible. Way bigger difference than I’d ever have guessed.

It might be deceiving…what I did was look at all the players in the list, and count the total number of majors won among the list of leaders for the 42 years. If a guy won GIR or Driving accuracy more than once, I didn’t count their majors twice. So there is a bit of skewing.

Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus are on the list of leaders for GIR. They are never on the list for Driving accuracy or Driving distance.

My point is, if any of these things are a surrogate marker for the kind of golfer who wins majors, it’s GIR hands down.

Very interesting.

Why did you alter the numbers for the majors? Seems a straightforward comparison would have been ideal, I assumed that’s what it was.

I didn’t alter them. I don’t count Tiger’s 14 majors 4 times, I just count them once. The point was, among these players on this list, there are a total of X major championships won. I think counting the player’s majors more than once is lest straightforward.

I’ll have to think about that a bit more, I assumed the majors won were specific to the stats leaders for the years. Is it more just a general assessment - if Tiger led the GIR one year, that counts for 14 majors?

Another way to look at it is to see the number of majors won actually in the year the player was the leader. So, if Jim Furyk was the leader in GIR in 2003, then we count his major, since he won the US open in 2003. But if Tiger won the GIR in 1998, we wouldn’t count his 14, because he didn’t win any majors in 1998.