viz blog
When it Rains, it Pours
Exploring the mysterious link between Collin Morikawa's putting and tee-to-green performance.
The 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions seemingly served as a reminder that when Collin Morikawa putts well, he contends. Buoyed by an elite approach game and accuracy off the tee, even the slightest cooperation from the flat stick will launch Morikawa to the top of any leaderboard. Or, so the story goes...

Plotting Morikawa's Strokes-Gained (SG) Tee-to-Green and SG Putting from 74 Shotlink tournaments reveals something more nuanced.
Good Timing
SG Tee-to-Green vs SG Putting, by tournament
Strokes-gained is displayed in strokes per round and is adjusted for strength of field.
: tournaments that Morikawa won.
Nine of Morikawa's ten best putting weeks coincided with above-average tee-to-green performances (highlighted by the yellow blob on the plot). The outlier tournament was the 2022 Scottish Open, where he was on the unlucky side of a wind-influenced draw. By matching his great putting weeks with good (and sometimes great) tee-to-green weeks, Morikawa was able to win 6 times during a two-year stretch despite averaging a relatively pedestrian +1.5 strokes-gained per round. During that same stretch, Xander Schauffele averaged +1.9 SG per round and only won once; Louis Oosthuizen averaged +1.4 and didn't win at all.

So the story is not simply when Morikawa putts well, he contends. Rather it's when Morikawa putts well, he also typically overperforms from tee-to-green, and as a result contends.

Much of professional golf is about plodding along and making the most of good putting weeks. Whether because of luck or skill, Collin Morikawa has so far made a career out of doing just that.