Phil’s wins for his 5th time on the hallowed grounds of Pebble Beach Golf Links. He started his round 3 strokes back and ended up winning by 3 after posting a 7 under 65 to lap the field. Phil also lets us in on why Pebble Beach is such a special place for him and his family. We take a look at Phil’s stats and see where his performance was above his 2018 averages and carried him on to the win. We also compare Phil’s statistics to our established benchmarks, to continue refining how we are going to track our own games and make sure we get better this summer. Let’s tee it up!

Listen to the full episode here:—Phils-Personal-Playing-Ground-e36dg4


Phil Mickelson again makes Pebble Beach his own personal playground with his fifth win on the Monterey Peninsula. Let’s dive into the data that matters and see how Phil got it done. Let’s tee it up!

Welcome to Data Axis Golf, your home for rapid golf improvement. And now from the thin air of the Rocky Mountains, next on the number one tee, your host, Aaron Stewart.

Hello everyone! Welcome to another episode of Data Axis Golf, the podcast. It is a Data Monday and we will hop into the data soon enough to kind of see what Phil did in order to make that happen there in the Monterey Peninsula. Once again, for his fifth AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Title.

He has to feel very positive about the US Open being there at Pebble Beach later, right? Later this year that could be really cool. It would be fun to see him finish off the career Grand Slam there. And there’s a lot to be excited about. Phil talked about this week how his driver speed has picked up six miles an hour. And a lot of people I heard talk about that ir was just completely impossible and you can’t get that kind of done. Well, that is completely false. Personally, I’ve seen somebody in their mid 60s work on some speed training and work on their body and work on some flexibility who picked up 10 miles an hour speed in the driver swing. So it is possible. There are just certain things that we have to do.

But again, going back to data, if we look at the data and use technology and understand our bodies, our swings, get them on the plane, and then work on the stuff that’s not working properly identified by this technology, we can do incredible things. Even as we get older in life, technologies this much better and it’s pretty exciting.

So back to Phil and what he’s been doing. I really enjoyed watching this morning, two holes to play. Shout out and congratulations to Ryan Smith of Qualtrics, who was the amateur who contributed the most to his partnership. I didn’t even know that Ryan plays that our home club here at Riverside. I didn’t even know he was in the tournament, but he was playing well representing Riverside in our club very well. He’s a good dude. I like Ryan a lot. Congratulations to him.

Also, I really love to listen to Phil talk about his family and talk about specifically his grandfather. And he showed a kind of on TV, the silver dollar that his grandfather kept with him in his pocket at all times. And he would put his hand in his pocket and grab hold of that silver dollar every time he felt poor. And he was poor, he was struggling financially and he thought to himself, you know what, I’m just going to do whatever I can to make sure that my family that’s coming behind me has more opportunities than I’ve had in my own life. Phil is proof that that actually worked out. It’s so kind of cool to hear Phil talk about that and that tie in. Phil now uses the actual coin only at Pebble Beach but then uses the replica everywhere else, which again, super special and really cool and obviously makes Pebble Beach a very special place for him. I guess that’s where his grandfather caddied. so a very special place for their family. And then I heard that Phil used to have his caddy pull off the flag and even send it to his grandfather. So his grandfather could have that as sort of a token of how grateful Phil was to his grandfather for providing them with these wonderful opportunities. So, a really cool story that kind of endears us to feel when you hear things like that. I definitely did that for me. This morning and was really grateful to hear him talk about it. It is very cool.

So, okay! So let’s talk about this. This morning was pretty amazing. As we went into resuming this round, there was a little controversy last night as Phil wanted to kind of keep playing. He had a three-stroke lead. He was warmed up. He was playing well. He said, as I say it, it’s great, which is right. Super great for Sony and right for us but he just wanted to get it done with the three-stroke lead. I think we get it wanted to go up to the peninsula airport hop on his plane fly home. But Paul Casey, again, I totally understood why he wanted to not finish out. He wasn’t playing well but he also wanted to protect his amateur partner that he could finish it off and together could win the amateur portion of the AT&T program. And they did. They won that and Paul seems to be very happy with that. And then finished nice second birdie 19th hole, which is very cool. But it was funny listening up to where the tournament started. Everybody talking about whether Phil can get it done and what’s it going to take. And you know, Phil’s getting older and it’s cold and all this and what is Phil do off the 17th tee. He just halls often and reps a seven iron. I guess there’s a little breeze at their back. Ribs a seven iron down and puts it. It was like eight feet or something six to eight feet.

He almost made that putt. But when he hit the green and had complete control over his ball for a swing out of the gate, everybody just kind of said hey, you know Paul, Better luck next time. Because he’s got this thing sewn up. And then he almost made that birdie putt goes up on 18 hits an iron off the tee right in the middle of the fairway. You know hits us third place the three-hole, a three-stroke hole hits his approach shot in there and then makes the pot for birdie. It was cool to see Paul Casey make his putt for birdie as well to finish solo second, which is awesome. So really cool, great finish. It was great. Really fun to watch and glad we got to do it.

So, jumping into the numbers then. So we’re going to look at sort of the fun numbers, the consistency numbers to get to know Phil’s game a little bit better. And then we’ll jump into Phil’s performance not only this week but his performance over 2018 and kind of see how that fits in with our benchmarks like we do every week. And I will try to speak more slowly so we don’t confuse anybody. I know that comments coming in that I’ve done that in the past so we’ll try to avoid that today. We’ll see how we do.

Driving Accuracy

So first, Mickelson winning the tournament takes him from 40th place in the FedEx cup all the way up to sixth place. Phil has played in 598 events over the course of his career. 598. Out of those 598, Phil has made 500 cuts. For a cut percentage of 84%, which again, we know Tiger Woods leads this stat with 91% but that’s pretty solid, 84% is pretty great. We’re just going to go right into the numbers and how that looks for Phil and how he played this week. Phil typically, he’s driving accuracy average, how many times he hits a fairway, is right around 53% in 2019. At Pebble Beach, he hit the fairway 60% at the time. So definitely better. But when you consider that, Phil actually started the week (he kind of put out a video on Instagram) with hitting 100% of his fairways. So he was playing off 100% and finished 60. So we would think that that probably didn’t go so well through the week. So let’s take a look at that.

So round one, we know it was 100%. Round two was 43% and he played on Spyglass that day. So 43% at Spyglass. His first day at Pebble Beach was Saturday, 50% of the time. And then, his final day at Pebble Beach, the final round also 50% of the time. So average it was all up together and that is the 60% that we’re talking about. So that’s it. So he averaged 60%, which is definitely better than his standard 53% but he started with a 100% day at Monterey Peninsula Country Club. So, yeah, grabbing percentage a little weird. Again, it was raining. When it rains it makes the course soft. When the course is soft, it’s easier to hit fairways. So something to keep an eye on. And Phil’s definitely hitting the ball further now. He picked up six miles an hour on his on a swing speed with this driver. So something to keep an eye on but still that 53% is what we call our benchmark is 47 to 62%. So that’s right in that range there to our quality still is right in that 50% range. So he was right there. But it is funny to note that even with his very obviously 100% is way above. So these benchmarks are very accurate. When comparing looking at Phils game.

Greens & Regulation

All right greens or regulation. Typically, Phil hit 65% of his greens and regulation at least he did in 2018. But for this week he hit 79%, much higher, which is interesting. These greens are known to be a lot smaller at Pebble Beach so his accuracy with designs was awesome, incredible this week. We all saw that if you watched any of the tournament.


Scrambling. His scrambling percentage for 2018 was 58% that fits right within our benchmark of 44 to 58%. It’s not way above. It’s not way below. Phil’s known to be a very good scrambler. He’s a wizard with the wedge, right? Well, he is right there in our benchmark. So again, a very good way for us to measure our games against these pros as far as greens and regulation. So Phil is 65% typically and was 79% for the tournament. Our benchmarks are 57 to 67%, so Phil typically fits right within that. Then for this particular tournament, he was way quite a bit above that at 79%.

Sand Saves

All right next to sand saves. So Phil typically gets up and down from the sand 59% of the time. But for this particular tournament, it was only 25% of the time, which I don’t have the data. I couldn’t find the data in front of me. It simply just means that he probably was in the sand trap a very few times and got up and down, one out of four, right? So I don’t know exactly how that works out. Phil’s typically a much better sand player than this. Our benchmark for sand saves is 32% to 55%. And again, we give ourselves quite a bit of leeway just because the sand traps that we play from, frankly stink compared to the sand traps that the tour pros play from. When you compare golf courses that they play versus what we play, sand traps seem to be the most glaring difference between all of them. We have really good greens even the private courses of public courses around here have really good greens. And the agronomy, as far as greens go, has gotten really good, but we just haven’t figured out sand trap. There’s nothing to grow. There’s nothing to do there. It’s just an expense. I know at our club, it’s a disaster. More often than not, it’s brutal. Anyway. So Phil 29, 25% for the week, typically at 59%. And we say somewhere our benchmark is 32 to 55%. So Phil is right in there, but not too far ahead of what those benchmarks are at 59%. Alright, cool.


Over 25 feet

Now we’re going to jump into putting. So parts over 25 feet, we are saying that we should be making somewhere between one and 5% of those. Phil typically makes 6.4%, so above the benchmark. Phil is better than our benchmarks and putting from over 25 feet.

15 to 20 feet

Phil makes 24% of those. Our benchmark is nine to 16%. So again, Phil is a very good putter from 15 to 20 feet compared to those benchmarks. Okay.

10-15 feet

Putting from 10 to 15 feet. Phil makes 39%. Our benchmark from that distance is 37 to 45%. So Phil fits right into there, kind of the lower end of our benchmark but definitely what we call tour quality and we would be okay with that number. I’m guessing because the Phil is higher than those numbers of over 25 feet and 15 to 20 feet. He’s probably not real happy with that 39% number but that’s where he’s at.

3-5 feet

And then three to five feet, we’ve been breaking these out individually. Phil makes 88% of his five footers, 93% of his four footers and 99.6% of his three footers all very, very good.

Putts per round

Phil makes 28 putts per round which puts him fifth in 2018. Yeah, so Phil scrambling numbers are, you know, around 60%. His sand saves and his scrambling is around 58, 59%. So he has a lot of one putt opportunities that he has to make for par. And that’s why those numbers are so low. Phil knows how to get up and down, very cool numbers there!

Phil’s Earnings

So now we’re going down to the fun numbers. I guess we could say a synopsis of Phil’s game is there are definitely some areas where Phil exceeds our benchmarks, but not many. I mean, he’s right there. And really, if it’s, you know, 25 foot putts 15 to 20-foot putts. He kind of exceeds our benchmarks. Sand saves 59% versus 55. So just outside of them. Scrambling, he’s right on our benchmarks. Greens or regulation, right in the benchmark. Driving accuracy, right in the benchmarks. So again, good numbers to us to compare our game to see where we really have weaknesses and where we don’t. So we are working on the right things. Again, try to manage expectations because we are so hard on ourselves as amateurs and we really should not be. Hopefully, these tour numbers will help us be a little bit kinder to ourselves. Okay, so the fun numbers. So Phil for his victory one 1.368 million bucks. 268 was the total score and that averaged out again. We break this out per day, per hour, and per stroke. Just for fun because we like math here at Data Axis Golf. So per day, Phil made $342,000. So that’s not a bad day work, right? Per hour, then we’re assuming five to five and a half hour rounds. That works out to be $68,400 an hour. That’s not a bad way if you can get it 68,000 bucks an hour. And per stroke, with his 268 strokes, it’s $5,104 and 48 cents a stroke. I always use that number to defend Bryson DeChambeau and his slow play Brooks Kepka doesn’t agree with me in the least bit. But if we sat there thinking that every stroke was going to cost us five grand, I think that it would weigh a little more heavily honest and we’ve probably taken our time a little bit better.

So there are the numbers for Phil. Obviously, a popular when sets it up nicely for Pebble Beach coming up for the US Open in the summer. Obviously, going to do some more research. I try to get some more research at into what exactly Phil is doing to pick up the six miles an hour in his drivers’ speed. But I have a pretty good idea. Not only what technologies you need but what tools he’s using in order to get that done and obviously, some flexibility. That’s one of the first things that goes as we get older. I can testify to that. So that’s what we got today. Thank you for tuning in fun to watch Pebble Beach, a beautiful part of the world for sure. Remember: better data always means better golf. Till next time! Thanks!