About a month ago, professional golfer Dawie Van Der Walt took to Twitter ripping on 2003 Masters Champion, Mike Weir, for taking up valuable (and limited) space in PGA Tour fields. Because of Mike’s victory in 2003, as well as his injuries over the past 10 years, he still is exempt, or sponsored, into many tournaments over the course of the season.Van Der Walt believes Mike is wasting time and taking away spots from younger, more talented individuals who could really use the opportunity to play on golf’s biggest stage.

Well I am here to take a look at Mike’s game, particularly his driving (or lack of), an area of the game many think he may have developed the yips, or as Ernie calls them… the “heebie-jeebies.”ernie-els-yip-at-cimb-classic


Below I made a nice plot of all the drives hit on tour this year (including the wrap-around season). The x-axis is relative distance from the center of the fairway. For example, a value of negative 5 means you were 5 yards left of the middle of the fairway. I separated Mike’s drives from the rest of the tour, as well as Rory McIlroy’s, for a reference.

Data provided by PGA Tour - ShotLink.
Data provided by PGA Tour – ShotLink.

In all seriousness, I was surprised at how good this looked for Weir. However when your eyes do make it over to the vertical axis it does get a little frightening. And considering how short Mike is hitting it, he does not seem to be making up for it in the accuracy department.

Because the above graph is so dense, it can be fairly misleading where the averages lie, so I made some summary statistics before we give Mike the final verdict.

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I think this says it all. He’s hitting significantly more crooked than both Rory and the rest of the tour, and he is hitting it well back of even the Tour Average.

…Being Canadian, this is tough for me to say but…#HangItUpMike

4 Replies to “#HangItUpMike?”

  1. I think a ‘better’ visualization would be to drop the full tour data points and just substitute an ellipse for the ‘dark’ part where the dots overlap. A white background (and slightly larger dots – partially transparent?) would make it easier to distinguish Rory vs. Weir.

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