The 10 Best Ball-Strikers on the PGA Tour

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2015

The 10 Best Ball-Strikers on the PGA Tour

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    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    The term ball striking (or ballstriking, depending on your persuasion) has numerous definitions. Statistically, however, the PGA Tour calculates its ball striking by totaling a player's total driving and greens in regulation figures. Total driving, of course, is the total of a player's driving distance and accuracy positions.

    We'll look at the top 10 golfers in ball striking on the PGA Tour for 2014-2015 and see how quality play off the tee and precise shots into greens led (or didn't lead) to results. 

    Here are the purest strikers of the ball on tour. 

10. Billy Horschel

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Total driving: 18 (122)

    Greens in regulation: 18 (69.33%)

    Greens or fringe in regulation: 47 (72.22)

    Ball striking: 10 (36)

    Billy Horschel played quality golf from tee to green in 2015. He had trouble when he missed the green, however, as indicated by his 126th and 127th positions in the scrambling and sand saves, which contributed to his 104th ranking in scoring average.

    Thus he totaled only two top-10 finishes in 28 starts, despite the quality ball striking. 

9. Hideki Matsuyama

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    Joshua Paul/Associated Press

    Total driving: 12 (106)

    Greens in regulation: 21 (69.20%)

    Greens or fringe in regulation: 23 (73.49%)

    Ball striking: 9 (33)

    Hideki Matsuyama more than doubled his top-10 tally from 2014 in 2015 (9). A big component of the aforementioned: Matsuyama jumped from 116th to 21st in greens in regulation. His putting also improved, as he improved to 86th from 156th in strokes gained: putting. 

8. Adam Scott

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    Rob Griffith/Associated Press

    Total driving: 15 (111)

    Greens in regulation: 16 (69.62%)

    Greens or fringe in regulation: 59 (71.53%)

    Ball striking: 8 (31)

    If only he could putt! Adam Scott was 158th in strokes gained: putting for 2014-2015. His inability to get the job done with the flat-stick earned him just three top-10 finishes in 15 PGA Tour starts, his lowest total since 2009. 

7. Graham DeLaet

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    George Bridges/Associated Press

    Total driving: 5 (79)

    Greens in regulation: 22 (69.15%)

    Greens or fringe in regulation: 81 (70.73%)

    Ball striking: 7 (27)

    Ninety-first in birdie average and 66th in scoring average, Graham DeLaet failed to turn his superior ball striking into results in 2014-2015. Placing 110th in strokes gained: putting certainly didn't help. The Canadian recorded just three top-10 finishes in 22 starts. 

6. Lucas Glover

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    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Total driving: 11 (104)

    Greens in regulation: 10 (70.46%)

    Greens or fringe in regulation: T10 (74.46%)

    Ball striking: 6 (21)

    Lucas Glover missed 11 cuts in 26 starts in 2014-2015 despite being one of the best ball-strikers on tour. How'd he manage the feat? You guessed it: He's one of the worst putters on tour. Glover was 184th in strokes gained: putting.  

T4. Paul Casey

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Total driving: 8 (93)

    Greens in regulation: 5 (72.36%)

    Greens or fringe in regulation: 5 (75.40%)

    Ball striking: 4 (13)

    Tenth on tour in strokes gained: total, Paul Casey did good work from tee to green last season. Despite finishing 104th in strokes gained: putting, Casey was ninth in scoring average. It's not surprising, then, that the Englishman recorded eight top-10 finishes in 24 starts. 

T4. Justin Rose

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    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Total driving: 4 (78)

    Greens in regulation: 9 (70.54%)

    Greens or fringe in regulation: 14 (73.92%)

    Ball striking: 4 (13)

    Perennially one of the best strikers on tour, winner and eight-time top-10 finisher in 2014-2015, Justin Rose was sixth on tour in strokes gained: total. Only his putting was a real deficiency, with the Englishman finishing 100th in strokes gained: putting.  

3. Jim Herman

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    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Total driving: 9 (95)

    Greens in regulation: 2 (72.23%)

    Greens or fringe in regulation: 2 (76.28%)

    Ball striking: 3 (11)

    One hundred-seventeenth on tour in strokes gained: putting and 65th in scoring average, Jim Herman made 18 of 27 cuts last season with just a pair of top-10 finishes. His impressive play from tee to green was hampered by poor putting and scrambling (118th on tour).  

2. Will Wilcox

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Total driving: 2 (60)

    Greens in regulation: 4 (72.53%)

    Greens or fringe in regulation: 1 (76.99%)

    Ball striking: 2 (6)

    Jim Herman amassed four top-10 finishes 17 starts in 2014-2015. He missed five cuts however, despite a well-rounded game. Will Wilcox was 20th in strokes gained: tee-to-green, 32nd in strokes gained: putting and ninth in strokes gained total.  

1. Henrik Stenson

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    Jan Kruger/Getty Images

    Total driving: 1 (55)

    Greens in regulation: 1 (73.52%)

    Greens or fringe in regulation: 4 (75.63%)

    Ball striking: 1 (2)

    Gothenburg, Sweden native Henrik Stenson tallied eight top-10 finishes in 16 PGA Tour starts in 2014-2015, including four second-place finishes. Arguably the best golfer off the tee and into greens over the past five years, Stenson was no slouch with the flat-stick either in 2015, placing 16th in strokes gained: putting.  

    All stats via PGATour.com