The Masters: Day v Spieth v McIlroy

With The Masters at Augusta starting this week, the excitement is building here at TSZ in what is anticipated to be a brilliant 4 days of golf with numerous top players in good form at the start of 2016. Here we will take a look at the statistics behind the new so called “big three” in the golfing world, Day, Spieth and McIlroy and how their games compare ahead of the showpiece event.

Firstly we will investigate the performance statistics behind the 3 players with specific focus on driving distance, driving accuracy, greens in regulation percentage and putts per round. For a fair comparison the stats will begin from the start of 2013 as all 3 players were professional from this time onward.

Both Jason Day and Rory McIlroy have significantly greater length off the tee than Jordan Spieth but he makes up for this by being the most accurate out of the 3; Jordan Spieth’s ability to find the fairway more often than the others allows him to compete with the big hitters.

- All 3 are in the same ball park when it comes to Greens in Regulation Percentage but interestingly the longest hitter (McIlroy) just about comes out on top, with the 2nd longest (Day) also 2nd in this category. It’s possible that the extra distance these 2 players are able to generate gives them a slight edge in this category as it can give them a little advantage when it comes to the longer Par 4’s and Par 5’s on the Tour.

- The differences in Putts per Round between the 3 are marginal but according to the numbers Spieth leads the way in this category.

How do these numbers relate to results on the course? (Results from the start of the 2013 PGA Tour season onwards)

Jason Day leads the way in terms of events won both in terms of quantity and in percentage of events played. Interestingly Spieth is only 1 win behind Day and this is very impressive given his deficit in terms of experience against both Day and McIlroy.

- If consistency is what you are after Rory McIlroy is your man as the Northern Irishman has been in the Top 10 in 50% of events played since the start of the 2013 PGA Tour season.

The Majors are what all 3 players hope to get their hands on every year but how have these 3 individuals performed in these events.

On first glance Jason Day’s win percentage doesn’t seem very impressive up against his competitors; however he does have that one win in the bag and a string of impressive Top 10 finishes which sees him lead the way in this category. Can he turn more of these impressive Top 10 finishes in Majors into wins as he has done in the regular Tour Events?

- Given his lack of experience the statistics for Jordan Spieth are all the more impressive. Spieth leads the way in terms of win percentage and he has shown he is able to compete with the big boys right from the start of his professional career, already picking up 2 wins in the Majors.

- Rory McIlroy is the man with the most Major wins and leads the way in terms of experience with the most events played. Is this the best blend of knowhow and experience when it comes to the Majors?

Now we will switch the focus to specifically look on how Day, Spieth and McIlroy have performed at The Masters with all 3 players competing against each other in 2014 and 2015.

Jason Day has performed well at The Masters in recent years with an impressive tied 2nd place in 2011 and a 3rd in 2013 when coming in slightly under the radar. However focusing on the last 2 years he has been less than impressive when expected to do well, coming in a tied 20th

in 2014 and tied 28th in 2015. Day needs to improve on his accuracy both off the tee and approaching the green whilst significantly improving his record on the Par 4 holes.###>###>

- Jordan Spieth has only every played The Masters twice but has an exceptional record, coming in tied for 2nd in 2014 and that hugely impressive wire to wire victory last year. Jordan Spieth is able to take advantage of the Par 5 holes despite his lack of length off the tee, with his high greens in regulation percentage and accuracy off the tee key to success.

- Rory McIlroy craves The Masters title more than any other to complete the Grand Slam of golfing Majors. He has had his troubles in Augusta in the past including that “collapse” in 2011, surrendering a 4 shot lead in the final round. However in the last 2 years he has improved with a tie for 8th

in 2014 and a 4th place finish in 2015. McIlroy has had the power off the tee and the accuracy to match in the last 2 years. Also a high greens in regulation percentage to match the high standards set by Jordan Spieth; however it’s the Par 3 holes where McIlroy needs to improve this time around.###>###>

Can either of these 3 players be Masters Champion 2016? Who is your favourite?