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Tour Report: Shotlink: McIlroy by the numbers

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Rory McIlroy improved tee-to-green in 2012, but his real spike in improvement came on the greens.

Ehrmann/Getty Images Rory McIlroy improved tee-to-green in 2012, but his real spike in improvement came on the greens.

By Alex Turnbull, Shotlink

MORE: McIlroy named 2012 PGA TOUR Player of the Year | Congratulate him

In 2010, Rory McIlroy ranked 33rd on TOUR with a scoring average of 70.35. Since then, he’s improved that by a shot-and-a-half, leading the TOUR in 2012 with an average of 68.87 in 2012.

How has he done it? ShotLink provides some answers.

He’s 10 yards longer off the tee. In 2010, Rory McIlroy averaged 300 yards from the tee, ranking 12th on the PGA TOUR. That mark jumped to 310.1 yards in 2012. This season, McIlroy hit one out of every three drives over 320 yards. That ranked seventh on TOUR.

Category McIlroy: 2012 McIlroy: 2011 McIlroy: 2010
Driving distance 310.1/5th 307.2/7th 300.0/12th
Clubhead speed 120.21/10th 117.90/23rd 116.55/34th
Driving Accuracy 56.61 percent/156th 60.29 percent/116th 62.64 percent/115th
Total driving 160/T54 N/A 127/21st

In his 12 stroke play starts in 2012 (where he made the cut), he led the field for driving distance three times and did not rank worse than 15th any week.

Event won Driving Distance Rank
BMW Championship 306.9 yards 5th
Deutsche Bank Championship 310.3 yards 5th
PGA Championship 311.5 yards 1st
The Honda Classic 297.6 yards 8th

His iron play continues to improve. McIlroy’s greens in regulation numbers have remained consistent over the past three years on the PGA TOUR. However, his proximity to the hole numbers have improved drastically this season. In 2010, he ranked T129th on TOUR for proximity to the hole, averaging 35 feet to the pin on all approach shots. In 2012, his ranking has improved up to a tie for fifth on TOUR for proximity to the hole.

Category Year/Stat/Rank Year/Stat/Rank Year/Stat/Rank
Greens in Regulation 2012/66.36/60th 2011/68.30/20th 2010/66.24/120th
Proximity to Hole 2012/33′ 0"/5th 2011/32′ 1"/T3 2010/35′ 6"/T129
Approaches: 125-150 2012/19′ 9"/5th 2012/19′ 5"/4th 2010/23′ 10"/T126

Long iron improvement: In 2010, Rory ranked T-133rd on TOUR for approach shots from outside 200 yards, averaging 51 feet 5 inches. However, he’s made a huge climb up the rankings from this distance averaging nearly 10 feet closer to the pin (42 feet 2 inches) ranking second on TOUR in 2012 from outside 200 yards.

Lastly, and most importantly, McIlroy is much better on the greens. McIlroy ranked 82nd on the greens for strokes gained – putting on the 2012 PGA TOUR. 2012 marked the first season in the last three years where McIlroy did not lose strokes to the field on the greens.

Category Year/Stat/Rank Year/Stat/Rank Year/Stat/Rank
Strokes Gained-Putting 2012/+.087/82nd 2011/-.129/130th 2010/-.225/145th
Putting average 2012/1.738/6th 2011/1.780/T92nd 2010/1.795/128th
Putts Per Round 2012/28.72/T32nd 2011/29.76/166th 2010/29.27/T81
Putting – Inside 10′ 2012/88.36/30th 2011/85.80/157th 2010/85.35/170th

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