World ranking (current/end of year)
Current 2020 Stats
FedEx Cup Rank: 140th
Top 10: 0
Top 25: 2
Made Cut: 0
Off-The-Tee: 13th (2019: 138th, 2018: 39th, 2017: 15th)
Approach: 89th (2019: 155th, 2018: 60th, 2017: 64th)
Around The Green: 78th (2019: 5th, 2018: 122nd, 2017: 174th)
Putting: 134th (2019: 20th, 2018: 167th, 2017: 14th)
Tee-To-Green: 23rd (2019: 112th, 2018: 48th, 2017: 45th)
Total: 33rd (2019: 57th, 2018: 95th, 2017: 21st)
It would be tempting to believe that the Irishman has experienced something of a maiden major championship win hangover. He’s played 15 times since his Open win last July, but his only top ten was T2 in the Asian Tour’s Hong Kong Open. However, closer analysis suggests he’s not far from some really good form because nine of those results were top 30s. An even closer look shows that he keeps getting off to, if not poor, definitely slow starts because in 12 of those 15 starts he finished round one between T20 and T70. His SG stats back-up the anecdotal belief that he’s strong from the tee and excellent when at his best with the putter, but his famed chipping skills have only once been corroborated by the numbers.
Grade so far: C-
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship (on his form since the Open win): “With the back end of last season, I probably tried a little bit too hard in the Race to Dubai. Probably forced it a little bit too much and put a bit too much pressure on myself. I don't have any regrets for last sort of six, seven months. I feel like I've coped with it quite well.
Guardian interview (on major championship golf): “I’m not bigging myself up but in this game you are only ever one week away from greatness. That’s why I took Oakmont so badly; when you are in that position and you let it slip, it’s so hard to take. If I hadn’t won at Portrush from that position on Sunday, I still wouldn’t be over it. It took longer than I realized (to get over Oakmont), my form went really bad after what had been a good 12-18 months."
Guardian interview (on his ability): “If you put me on the back nine on a Sunday against Rory or Brooks Koepka I’d be confident of beating them but that doesn’t mean I think I’m better than them.”
THE MAJORS (most recent result on the left)
The Masters: MC-MC-39-MC
His Augusta National logbook is a little grizzly. He opened with a 68 in 2016 to lie T2 on Thursday evening but it is his only sub-par round in ten and six times out of ten he has failed to break 75. His stats reveal his trouble: He hits only 52% of the greens in regulation and scrambles par just 48% of the time; not a great combo.
PGA Championship: 8-12-48-MC-MC-47-57-MC
What an improvement on his first six efforts! In 2018 at Bellerive a second round 64 helped him to T6 after 54 holes, but he couldn’t push on for the win. A year later at Bethpage Black he opened with a 75 to lie T112. It seemed he was back to his normal PGA ways, but followed it with 69-68-69 to race into the top ten.
U.S. Open: 28-MC-46-2-9-MC-MC
As with the PGA Championship, his best golf is contender-standard, but his B game struggles. When T9 at Chambers Bay he was three back and T5 ahead of the final round. A year later he was four clear with 18 holes to play at Oakmont. He closed with a 76.
Open Championship: 1-MC-MC-MC-MC-9-32-37
His stunning six shot victory at Royal Portrush last year broke a somewhat surprising run of four missed cuts. His only other top ten in the Open was in 2014 he opened with a 68 for T3 at Royal Liverpool, added 75-70 to fall to T23, before closing with a 65 for T9. In all majors he is something or a boom or bust merchant: 27 starts, six top 12s, 17 failures to make the top 40. His best is very, very good; his average labors.