Phil Mickelson. Sergio Garcia. Henrik Stenson.
You don’t hear his name thrown around as the world’s second best golfer right now, but you would be hard pressed to find someone(other than Tiger), who has played better so far this season.
Casey has posted elite field wins at Abu Dhabi, the BMW EPGA Championship and the somewhat luck aided win over a strong field at the Shell Houston Open. In addition, Casey was 4th in Dubai, 2nd at the Match Play and will most likely be tops in the new European Tour Order of Merit standings. He only has one missed cut worldwide and otherwise hasn’t finished worse that 31st. Not a bad a season so far for Casey.
He posted another great performance over the weekend at Wentworth. In shooting rounds of 67-68-68-69, Casey excelled at hitting the greens and making putts. That makes it easy to do well(Duh!)
Casey hit 14 greens in each of the final three rounds and took 28-29-29 putts, respectively. Those are pretty incredible numbers considering how many greens he hit.
Before the tournament started, I noticed that over the past three years hitting a lot of greens and putting well were the two most important factors at Wentworth.
That was true again this year as GIR had the biggest correlation to scoring for the week. PPGIR was not far behind and putts per round also was fairly important.
I casually threw out Casey, Noren, Goosen, McIlroy and Edfors as potential “horse for the course” candidates. I’m not putting any weight in that because I did that in 4 seconds and the official stats are far from accurate, but I do plan to keep looking into these course stats on the EPGA Tour.
To many people, besides my stubborn self, Alex Noren finished a distant after thought tied for 21st 14 shots off the lead. However, looking at the stats Noren had a pretty good week…except around the green.
Ballstriking-wise, Noren hit 54 greens in regulation this week. As usual, his short game was miserable, though. He took an average of 33.3 putts over the final three rounds, almost 2 ppgir for the tournament and saved par on missed GIR’s only 3/9 times over the weekend. When Noren missed the green in regulation he took an average of 1.5 putts. I don’t know if that reflects on poor chipping, poor putting or both, but still it wasn’t very good.
Simply put, that is just not good enough around the greens to win. I would suggest that Noren is one of the top ten ballstrikers on the Euro Tour, but if he keeps putting like a dog he may never be better than a bunch of top-10 finishes.
Noren absolutely has the talent to win a tournament one of these days and I can’t help but hope that he A) realizes his short game sucks and keeps working on it or B) gets lucky around the greens one week. Luckily, he’s only 27 and there is definitely room to grow.
That’s why when I look at Noren, I keep thinking it’s only a matter of time.