For every golfer, whether they play with their friends on the weekend or compete on the PGA Tour for their livelihoods, the goal is to get their ball on the green and have a putt for birdie or eagle.
Although it’s possible to chip the ball into the cup from off the green, most golfers would agree that it is much better to be putting than chipping.
The average for the best players in the world to hit greens in regulation (GIR) is just over 65% on the PGA Tour, according to statistics compiled for the entire 2020-2021 season. So even the top performers hit the greens, leaving them with a putt for an under-par score, less than two-thirds of the time.
At the top of the rankings is Cameron Percy, who, in 85 total rounds, managed to hit the green in regulation 72.6 % of the time. Interestingly enough, Percy wasn’t able to convert those opportunities into enough birdies or eagles in order to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs, instead finishing 135th in the standings.
Percy’s failure to make it to the postseason isn’t representative of all but one of the players in the top ten in GIR, like eight others that made it onto the list advanced to the playoffs, with six making it to the second round and four qualifying for the Tour Championship.
So while the GIR measure isn’t a certain indicator of success, it can still be a solid indicator of how well players are performing overall.
Big Names in the Top Ten.
Just behind Percy in second place in GIR is the 2021 U.S. Open champion and six-time winner on Tour Jon Rahm, with a rate of 71.9%. It’s not a surprise that one of the top ball strikers on the PGA Tour hits so many greens.
Rahm had a spectacular 2021 in winning his first major title, finishing in the top ten in 14 other events and coming in second in the season-long FedEx Cup.
Another top player who can attribute much of his success to the ability to get it onto the green is 2021 Open Championship winner Collin Morikawa, one of the most talented young golfers in the game.
The two-time major champion and Ryder Cup standout hit 70.8% of his GIR last season, which is fifth on the list and enabled him to enter the FedEx Cup playoffs in the first place and rise to second in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR).
Finishing just inside the top 10 in GIR was 2021 FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay, a six-time winner on Tour who collected four victories last season as well as picking up the Jack Nicklaus Award as PGA Tour Player of the Year.
The 29-year-old out of UCLA hit almost 70.2% of his greens in regulation, enabling him to post an actual scoring average of 69.4 strokes per round, which was fourth on Tour, according to the official website of the PGA Tour.