A Look at the Champions Tour in Numbers!

Press Release

Dec 12,2014

Jay Haas a 17-time winner of the Champions Tour also converts 67.14% for sand saves. His son Bill Haas leads the PGA Tour in Sand Saves with 62.15%. Photo courtesy of golfweek

Many golfers who come late to golfnow dream of joining the Champions Tour. It’s possible but extremely tough. Most events have 78 places, of which 69 are reserved for former PGA players, leaving 9 places to compete for. To even be considered, players must pay $3000 and then wait to be invited to grueling: Q School.
The success of Bernard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Fred Perry and Fred Couples has prompted many to make comparisons with the PGA Tour.  The Stats from the PGATour and the Champions Tour websites are as follows:

PGA TOUR       Champions Tour
Leader Average   Average Leader
Bubba Watson (314.3) 288.8 Driving Distance 270.5 John Riegger (295.3)
David Toms (74.49%) 61.33% Driving Accuracy 69.86% Joe Durant (85.40%)
Chad Campbell (72.43%) 64.08% Greens in Regulation 68.13% Bernhard Langer (79.01%)
Jim Furyk (69.33%) 57.38% Scrambling 56.23% Jay Haas (73.33%)
Bill Haas (62.15%) 49.41% Sand Saves 45.91% Jay Haas (67.14%)
Rory McIlroy (1.708) 1.781 Putting Average 1.789 David Frost (1.701)
Jordan Spieth (45.86%) 38.95% One-putt percentage 31.54% Scott Hoch (41.53%)
Bubba Watson (68.52) NA Scoring Average NA Bernhard Langer (68.03)

It’s close – even within the Haas family! But is it a valid comparison?  Fairway width standards are the same for both tours at 30 to 32 yards at landing zones, coming down to 24 yards for some majors, compared to amateur fairway widths of 35-45 yards.  Course length on both tours has increased but stats are hard to find.  In 2009 average PGA course length was 7,215 yards.  In the 1980s, the Champions Tour courses averaged 6,500 yards but now average over 7,000 yards and can be over 7,500 yards.  The small number of players who play on both tours have shot on average 1.2 shots less on the Champion’s Tour in the same year.
Since the 1980’s, Champions Tour performances have improved significantly.  Scoring averages reduced by over 2 shots from 73.3 to now 71.  Driving distances increased from 249 yards in 1984 to the current 270.5 yards, with technology changes and more players fit and competing.  Initially, the younger players dominated but now there is only 0.04 shot difference between the average scores of players on the 50-54 and 55-59 age groups.
Except for majors, events are only 54 holes, with no cut, one reason suggested for Champion’s Tour players tend to play more aggressively.  The fact that many of them are already millionaires may also help!

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