Inside The Numbers: Lucas Glover’s Unlikely Resurgence From Yipper To Winner

It is a poor workman that blames his tools? 

My father drummed this into me from the time I was old enough to help him with his home improvement projects. He was of the mind that one should never pay someone else for something that you could do yourself.

Tell Lucas Glover that! 

Lucas switched to a long putter at the Rocket Mortgage in late June – Glover’s 19th event in the 2022-23 season and that’s when he completely changed his fortunes.  

As we can see by the chart below, through the first 18 events of the season, Lucas missed 15 cuts and his best finish was a tie for 20th.  In those 18 events, Lucas had only three positive putting Strokes Gained results, the best being +.627 and a missed cut.

I thought it would be interesting to see exactly what changed in his putting stats from before and after the change. I compared Lucas’ putting in his first 18 events: Fortinet thru Travelers  = WORST — to his most recent 5 events: Rocket Mortgage thru FedEx St. Jude = BEST.

His putting Strokes Gained went from these two samples were: Worst: -0.75 vs. Best:  +0.70 = 1.45 stokes/round.

In the graph below, we can see the dramatic difference in 1-Putt success at every range.

As we might expect Lucas’ 3-Putt performance was also significantly improved with the long stick: Worst:  3.9% 3-Putts or 0.7/per round vs. Best: 2.3% or 0.41/round. 

For comparison, the Tour average for 3-Putts/round is 0.49, or approximately one every two rounds.

I don’t recommend making a change to the long putter unless your putting is a weakness in your game. I did it myself when I experienced a serious case of the yips and it saved my enjoyment of the game, especially competition. 

When the USGA banned anchoring, I had to learn the unanchored method, but eventually became comfortable and confident. 

That said, when I watch Lucas and Bernard Langer, I see no gap between the shaft and their chest. Perhaps no one cares anymore?