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Shotlink reveals some interesting statistics

The PGA Tour has run a series of commercials this past year that winds up with the line, "These guys are good."

No one will question that, especially if you caught some of the "Best of Tiger Woods" highlights on the Golf Channel last week. It's still difficult to believe that he could hit a 6-iron some 205 yards out of a bunker, over trees and water to within 15 feet of the pin.

However, if you read the stats produced by ShotLink, which made its debut on the PGA Tour this past year, it doesn't back up the PGA Tour's main theme. ShotLink uses GPS technology to measure every shot by every player in every tournament.

In his GolfWorld column, Jaime Diaz points out that every PGA Tour approach shot for the year averaged 41 feet, 2 inches from the hole. From the fairway it was 25 feet, 10 inches. Players who hit from the rough averaged almost 65 feet.

The stunning statistic was that from 125 yards and in, John Huston led the PGA Tour with an average of 17 feet, 6 inches. The Tour average was 24 feet, 6 inches. Remember, when we watch a PGA Tour event on television, we're only seeing the leaders, who seem to knock it stiff on every hole. The also-rans and those who didn't make the cut also figure in.

Woods leads the Tour on shots of more than 200 yards at 38 feet, 11 inches. The average is 60-8. He also was No. 3 in shots inside 125 yards, but ranked worse than 100th from 125-150, 150-175 and 175-200 yards, according to Diaz. Overall, Woods' total average distance from the pin was 38 feet, 6 inches. That was only 55th on Tour.

ShotLink also defines putting. For example, when Tommy Armour III won the Valero Texas Open, he made 58 of 60 putts inside 10 feet. Vijay Singh was 60 of 62 from seven feet or less in his win at Phoenix.

Diaz pointed out that in 1989 the Tour did a study that showed that pros made about 55 percent of their putts from six feet. This past year, according to ShotLink, they made 70.4 percent from that distance, with young Aaron Baddeley leading the way at 86.3.

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