By the Numbers: Michelle Wie

Michelle Wie
Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Michelle Wie

June 24 2014, Nicklaus Parker

The narrative for Michelle Wie’s spectacular two-win first half of the 2014 season has centered on her improved putting. But is that it? It feels like more is needed to explain a scoring average 2.58 strokes lower per round than her career average.

Her numbers in all the major statistical categories actually closely mirror the best year of her career prior to now – 2009, when she finished 9th on the money list – but only this year those stats are even better. She’s basically having a career year in every category that means something since she became a full-card carrying member of the LPGA Tour.

Her 1.765 putts per GIR and 29.96 putts per round actually are very close but not quite as low as her numbers in 2009. What this is more about – and we started to see this in the latter half of 2013 – is Wie’s ball striking has ventured into unprecedented heights and she’s back to putting on the level of her best years after a four-year swoon. This is the best Wie has ever hit the ball – bar none. She’s hitting 78.4% of greens (3rd on tour)  – by the far the best year of her career – and when she does hit greens, she’s nailing putts. Her 1.765 putts per green in regulation is 3rd on tour.

So why is Wie hitting so many greens? For one, she’s hitting a ton of fairways after making a concerted effort to hit driver less. Unsurprisingly her driving average is down from previous years, but she’s hitting the most fairways of her career. Prior to the switch in 2013, Wie had never hit more than 58% of fairways in an LPGA season. Last year she hit 62% and this year she’s up to 67%.

What we saw at Pinehurst was a continuation of those season-long themes with Wie. Her golf swing has so much power that she frequently was able to just hit stinger 3-woods off the tee but was still 10th in the field in driving distance. That helped her to hit the 5th most greens in the field. Add to that the 10th fewest putts of the week and it’s not hard to see why Wie held the trophy on Sunday.


Putts Per GIR

2014 – 1.765
2013 – 1.799
2012 – 1.892
2011 – 1.920
2010 – 1.840
2009 – 1.760

Greens in Regulation

2014 – 78.4%
2013 – 69%
2012 – 66%
2011 – 65%
2010 – 73%
2009 – 70%


2014 – 262.3 (67%)
2013 – 254.0 (62%)
2012 – 268.6 (53%)
2011 – 268.3 (53%)
2010 – 274.5 (54%)
2009 – 269.1 (58%)

Topics: Wie, Michelle, Numbers tell the Story

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