PGA Tour: Statistical analysis of top-10 finishes

PGA Tour stats analysis
Which players have top-10-itis?

Stats man Andy Swales goes number crunching again to discover which players are worth keeping an eye on in the market for Top-10 Finishes...

"In many ways Leishman is an underrated golfer whose gradual and ongoing improvement might one day land him another opportunity to win a major."

Many years ago, two-time major champion and respected TV commentator Johnny Miller observed that players were becoming obsessed with top-10 finishes. He may have even referred to this pre-occupation as 'top 10-itis.'

At his peak, he said he never concerned himself with top-10 finishes, because his only objective was to win tournaments.

And during his career he won 25 times on the PGA Tour, including 15 during a remarkable 30-month period between January 1974 and July 1976.

However, more recently, punters have discovered there is plenty of money to be earned from betting on top-10 finishes.

Following on from last week's 'Analysis of Top 20 finishes,' this time I've produced a series of tables showing the frequency players post top-10s on the PGA Tour.

Once again there is an overall list of top-10 percentages for all five categories combined, along with four other tables breaking this down into different categories, which are decided by quality of field.

Category format

Using points awarded by the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) to determine which category a tournament belongs in, the general rule of thumb is as follows:

Category 1 includes the most prestigious events on the PGA Tour calendar, while Category 5 is for tournaments with the weakest fields, as stipulated by the OWGR points system.

Category 1: Includes Majors, Players Championship, most WGC events, some Fed-Ex Cup Play-Off events.

Category 2: Includes Memorial Tournament, Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Bay Hill, Tour Championship.

Category 3: Includes AT&T Pebble Beach, Honda Classic, Hawaiian Open.

Category 4: Includes Byron Nelson Championship, Greenbrier Classic, Texas Open, Mayakoba Classic.

Category 5: Includes Barbasol Championship, Puerto Rico Open, John Deere Classic, Barracuda Championship.

Match Play tournaments & Team events (Zurich Classic) are not included.

Click here to view golfers' percentages for all five categories combined

Top-10 tournament trends

While the best players are generally the most consistent from week-to-week, looking for anomalies is the key to finding a bargain.

If consistency is important to finding a player who can churn out plenty of top-10s in a particular category, then Marc Leishman is worth taking not of.

The 36-year-old Australian has been ranked inside the world's top 30 for the best part of three years.

He's currently No 15, having peaked at No 12 and yet there is a marked difference between his form in Category 1 and Category 2 events, when compared to his performances in Category 3.

His percentage of top-10 finishes for Categories 1+2 combined, since January 2018, is 16.67% which becomes a whopping 58.33% for Category 3.

In many ways Leishman is an underrated golfer whose gradual and ongoing improvement might one day land him another opportunity to win a major - he lost a play-off at St Andrews in 2015.

Click here to view golfers' percentages for Category 3 events

Another golfer who is rarely talked about in terms of greatness, but his consistency is undeniable, is Webb Simpson.

Simpson figured highly in last week's 'Top-20 Analysis' and he does so again.

The 34-year-old from North Carolina has never been the longest of drivers, which will have been a disadvantage when going up against the big guns such as Rory, Brooks and Dustin - to name a few.

And while his record in Category 1 and Category 2 events is certainly not shabby, his overall high level of consistency certainly shines through in tournaments with a lower category status.

His readings are: 23.08% (Cats 1+2); 66.67% (Cat 3); 61.90% (Cats 3+4+5).

He's already banked a US Open title and Players Championship victory, and he appears to have found a little more yardage in recent months. So perhaps his best years are yet to come?

Click here to view golfers' percentages for Categories 3 + 4 + 5

Two other pros to mention are Canadian Adam Hadwin and American Billy Horschel.

Hadwin's percentages jump greatly from just 7.14% for Categories 1+2 (Just two T-10s from 28 starts), to 33.33% for Categories 3+4+5 (eight from 24).

Horschel, meanwhile, the world No 34 is ranked 15th in the standings for Categories 1+2.

This represents 26.67%, or eight top-10s from 30 starts, in the toughest two categories. Strangely, this drops to 16.67% (five from 30), for Categories 3+4+5.

What does this tell us about the 33-year-old from Florida? Is his game better suited to the tougher courses which tend to host the most important events? Or does he find it harder to motivate himself for less prestigious tournaments?

Click here to view golfers' percentages for Categories 1 + 2

In the lowest two categories, the standings are headed by Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Moore and Andrew Putnam.

Click here to view golfers' percentages for Categories 4 + 5

Leading Dozen For All Five Categories

%...........(Starts - Top 10s)
63.41: Rory McIlroy (41-26)
50.00: Dustin Johnson (40-20)
50.00: Jon Rahm (40-20)
43.48: Justin Thomas (46-20)
43.24: Justin Rose (37-16)
40.43: Webb Simpson (47-19)
37.50: Tiger Woods (32-12)
37.21: Patrick Cantlay (43-16)
35.90: Brooks Koepka (39-14)
34.00: Bryson DeChambeau (50-17)
33.33: Tony Finau (54-18)
30.23: Adam Scott (43-13)
Min. No. of Starts = 15

Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive

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