Sport Jason Day is having statistically the best putting season ever, and yet, Phil Mickelson(?!) isn't far behind

23:27  07 may  2018
23:27  07 may  2018 Source:   golfdigest.com

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler make quite the group for Players Championship

  Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler make quite the group for Players Championship Megawatt group of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler highlight the first two rounds of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.And loud.

Jordan Spieth and Jason Day are two of the favourites to win the Green Jacket. With three Green Jackets in the locker, it might seem harsh that Phil Mickelson is only down in ninth place. Plus, Mickelson has found form in 2016 having switched coach during the off- season and with the driver

TROON, Scotland (AP) — Phil Mickelson was 16 feet away from a place in history he wouldn' t have to share with anyone. Fans watched from a rooftop balcony. "It was one of the best rounds I've ever played and yet I want to shed a tear right now," Mickelson said.

a man that is standing in the grass© Streeter Lecka

Jason Day didn't need to make that eight-footer for par on the final hole of the Wells Fargo Championship on Sunday, but that he did anyway was no surprise. From a distance that PGA Tour pros convert about 50 percent of the time, the Aussie's chances are decidedly higher. In fact, these days, Day has a better chance of sinking putts from anywhere than anyone. Ever.

OK, so before all you Bobby Locke fans bombard me with emails -- or probably, actual letters -- let me be clear that I'm referring to the Strokes Gained Era. Created by Columbia University professor Mark Broadie, the best putting metric has existed since 2004 and Day's most recent performance has him on pace to have the best strokes gained/putting average in those 15 years.

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Phil Mickelson has a putt from just off the green for birdie on the ninth, but he's come up short. Day moves further up. Four-under-par through nine holes at Royal Troon, and Jason Day is having a fantastic day .

Yet the truth remains. Phil Mickelson ’s career is winding down, and after watching him record another runner-up finish — his 11th, the second-most ever — it’s only natural to wonder where he fits in golf’s greater But Mickelson has other things working in his favor that puts him alongside that latter group.

RELATED: The clubs Jason Day used to win the Wells Fargo

Day is currently gaining 1.594 strokes on the field during the 2017-2018 PGA Tour season. That's 1.594 strokes per round, meaning he's gaining more than six shots than the average putter during a four-round tournament. He had an even bigger advantage at Quail Hollow where he picked up more than eight shots of the field with a +2.061 SGP, helping offset his struggles off the tee on Sunday.

"I just didn't have my driving today, didn't have my irons going to the greens," Day said after picking up his 12th PGA Tour title. "Good thing I had my short game around the greens and my putting was phenomenal."

But Jason Day being a great putter isn't exactly shocking. In fact, Day already holds the best strokes gained/putting season on the books with the +1.130 (the only recorded SGP above +1.00 for an entire season) he put up in 2015-2016. What is a bit eye-opening, however, is who ranks right behind him: Phil Mickelson. Not always known as the most reliable putter -- especially from short range -- not only is Mickelson the tour's current No. 2 in the SGP stat, he's tracking to post the second-best average ever in the category at +1.177.

Jason Day is a force again, and Tiger Woods still looking for first W since 2013

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Rory McIlroy had the round of the day with a 67 until Stenson and Mickelson came through. We got quite possibly the greatest final round in major history from Stenson over one of the 10-12 best golfers to ever put on golf spikes (who also played his own best final round at a major).

Through 54 holes, Phil Mickelson leads the field in strokes gained/ putting at 2.666. Considering that the five-time major winner is second on tour in the category for the whole season (1.082, behind only Jason Day ’s 1.386), Mickelson being out front in the stat this week isn ’ t surprising, although

“There’s a number of areas in my game that, if I look back 10, 15 years ago, I feel like I’m significantly better,” Mickelson said on the Dan Patrick Show in March. “Certainly, I’ve gotten a ton better at putting.”

Yes he has. And this is no fluke. While Day's red-hot start has come in only 13 measured rounds (Unfortunately, strokes gained/putting isn't kept at every event, including the Masters), Mickelson has kept his lofty mark through 30 rounds. Putting nearly twice as well as his previous best season (+.66 in 2013), it's no wonder Mickelson, 47, is enjoying a rejuvenation that already includes a victory at the WGC-Mexico Championship, his first win in nearly five years.

But back to Day, he looks like he's on his way to becoming just the third player to lead the tour in SGP for multiple seasons, joining Luke Donald (2009-2011) and Ben Crane (2005-2006). With considerably more firepower than those other two, it's no wonder that when Day is putting at his best, he's difficult to beat.

After a trying 2017, Day's two titles already in 2018 have him looking like the guy who ripped off seven wins in 17 starts (including a first major) from 2015 to 2016 to ascend to the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking. Current World No. 1 Dustin Johnson has Justin Thomas nipping at his heels, but both might want to keep their eyes on the rearview mirror with this Aussie closing in fast.

FEINSTEIN: Jason Day is happy and healthy again

Dustin Johnson plays like No. 1-ranked player, shoots 66 and is tied for Players Championship lead .
Dustin Johnson plays like No. 1-ranked player, shoots 66 and is tied for Players Championship leadIt made an affirmative statement in the first round of the Players Championship, when Johnson shot a bogey-free six-under par 66, his best score ever on the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

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