Strokes Gained Performance in the Wind

The Fantasy Golfanac considers windy rounds to be any round where the average wind is at least 14 mph for the day. It’s near impossible to consider wind by wave and/or player as gusts can come and go by the hour or even by the minute. So using the entire day grabs an overall feel for whether it was a windy day or not but this is not an exact science.

This data should be taken as a supplement to prior research, not a leading factor AKA use this as a tiebreaker if needed, on weeks with heavy winds in the forecast.

* Minimum 30 rounds to qualify. Stats are time-weighted and adjusted to the strength of competition.

Top 25 Performers in the Wind (since 2014)

Rory McIlroy (3.409 sg:total)
Jason Day (3.142 sg:total)
Dustin Johnson (3.055 sg:total)
Hideki Matsuyama (2.964 sg:total)
Sergio Garcia (2.912 sg:total)
Jordan Spieth (2.909 sg:total)
Jon Rahm (2.616 sg:total)
Rickie Fowler (2.599 sg:total)
Phil Mickelson (2.456 sg:total)
Paul Casey (2.319 sg:total)
Henrik Stenson (2.303 sg:total)
Matt Kuchar (2.249 sg:total)
Adam Scott (2.158 sg:total)
Justin Rose (2.132 sg:total)
Patrick Reed (2.121 sg:total)
Bill Haas (2.11 sg:total)
Pat Perez (2.108 sg:total)
Brandt Snedeker (2.104 sg:total)
Marc Leishman (1.999 sg:total)
Charles Howell III (1.991 sg:total)
Charley Hoffman (1.986 sg:total)
Tony Finau (1.977 sg:total)
Daniel Berger (1.947 sg:total)
Steve Stricker (1.847 sg:total)
Gary Woodland (1.825 sg:total)

Top 25 Wind Specialists
(Wind vs. Expected Strokes Gained)

Kevin Tway (1.79 sg:wind vs. 0.854 sg:total)
Jason Gore (0.994 sg:wind vs. 0.139 sg:total)
Danny Willett (1.403 sg:wind vs. 0.572 sg:total)
Andrew Loupe (0.286 sg:wind vs. -0.532 sg:total)
George McNeill (1.459 sg:wind vs. 0.749 sg:total)
Tim Herron (0.118 sg:wind vs. -0.59 sg:total)
Padraig Harrington (1.19 sg:wind vs. 0.512 sg:total)
Smylie Kaufman (1.046 sg:wind vs. 0.432 sg:total)
Alex Cejka (1.396 sg:wind vs. 0.784 sg:total)
Colt Knost (1.246 sg:wind vs. 0.658 sg:total)
Billy Hurley III (1.224 sg:wind vs. 0.65 sg:total)
Rory McIlroy (3.409 sg:wind vs. 2.853 sg:total)
Si Woo Kim (1.267 sg:wind vs. 0.72 sg:total)
Ernie Els (0.832 sg:wind vs. 0.339 sg:total)
Ryan Armour (1.354 sg:wind vs. 0.867 sg:total)
Vijay Singh (1.058 sg:wind vs. 0.573 sg:total)
Luke Donald (1.604 sg:wind vs. 1.14 sg:total)
Sergio Garcia (2.912 sg:wind vs. 2.451 sg:total)
Hideki Matsuyama (2.964 sg:wind vs. 2.505 sg:total)
Chesson Hadley (1.309 sg:wind vs. 0.864 sg:total)
Charles Howell III (1.991 sg:wind vs. 1.557 sg:total)
Blayne Barber (1.022 sg:wind vs. 0.605 sg:total)
Graeme McDowell (1.524 sg:wind vs. 1.112 sg:total)
Tyler Aldridge (0.279 sg:wind vs. -0.127 sg:total)
Bill Haas (2.11 sg:wind vs. 1.705 sg:total)

Top 25 Wind Anti-Specialists
(Wind vs. Expected Strokes Gained)

John Merrick (-0.817 sg:wind vs. 0.006 sg:total)
Wesley Bryan (-0.088 sg:wind vs. 0.73 sg:total)
Alex Prugh (-0.463 sg:wind vs. 0.335 sg:total)
Martin Flores (0.147 sg:wind vs. 0.875 sg:total)
K.J. Choi (-0.08 sg:wind vs. 0.621 sg:total)
Justin Thomas (1.509 sg:wind vs. 2.209 sg:total)
Sangmoon Bae (-0.034 sg:wind vs. 0.624 sg:total)
Jonathan Byrd (-0.009 sg:wind vs. 0.598 sg:total)
Derek Fathauer (-0.116 sg:wind vs. 0.465 sg:total)
Brendan Steele (1.186 sg:wind vs. 1.747 sg:total)
Adam Hadwin (0.812 sg:wind vs. 1.371 sg:total)
Wes Roach (-0.412 sg:wind vs. 0.127 sg:total)
Ryan Blaum (0.197 sg:wind vs. 0.73 sg:total)
Rory Sabbatini (0.069 sg:wind vs. 0.592 sg:total)
Andrew Svoboda (-0.617 sg:wind vs. -0.099 sg:total)
Keegan Bradley (1.083 sg:wind vs. 1.592 sg:total)
Fabian Gomez (-0.002 sg:wind vs. 0.495 sg:total)
Justin Rose (2.132 sg:wind vs. 2.62 sg:total)
Henrik Stenson (2.303 sg:wind vs. 2.777 sg:total)
Justin Hicks (-0.501 sg:wind vs. -0.031 sg:total)
Harold Varner III (0.428 sg:wind vs. 0.889 sg:total)
Jason Kokrak (0.906 sg:wind vs. 1.367 sg:total)
Grayson Murray (0.259 sg:wind vs. 0.701 sg:total)
Ryo Ishikawa (-0.267 sg:wind vs. 0.157 sg:total)
J.J. Spaun (0.534 sg:wind vs. 0.956 sg:total)

Last Updated: February 20th, 2018

Golfer Quotes

Q. Do you like the windy conditions? Do you prefer the wind? Obviously with a good ball striking day, the windier it gets, the better.
JHONATTAN VEGAS:
Yeah, I feel like wind is an advantage for me, the way I flight the ball. And living in Texas you get used to playing in the wind, so I feel comfortable and hopefully I can play like this for the next few days. -2018 TOC

Q. We’ve talked about this about three thousand times, but just for the benefit of this time in explaining to others, you grew up in the wind, talk us through what sort of things you had to deal with to get to this point of talent in this sort of breeze.
MARC LEISHMAN:
Yeah, I grew up in it. I enjoy playing in it, which is helpful. When you enjoy playing on certain golf courses or certain conditions it’s easy to play well. So I played well in the wind before and I think growing up in it certainly helps. It just takes a little imagination, I think, that you’re reading the — well, that you’re, you got to trust what the wind’s going to do to your ball and deal with it if it doesn’t do that or hopefully you get a birdie chance if it works out. -2018 TOC

Q. When you go back to midsummer and what you’ve been able to do since midsummer last year and into the fall and now this week, has anything changed, or is it just a matter of your game’s coming together?
BRIAN HARMAN:
I switched golf balls, and it’s made a huge difference. I wasn’t a very good wind player, and I switched golf balls — and I know it’s kind of like a Titleist commercial, but honestly, when I switched, I was 90th in the world. I won the first week I put it in, and I’m just able to flight the ball so much better than I used to be able to, and the wind doesn’t seem to take it as much. -2018 Sony

Q. Talking to Padraig yesterday and he said, I don’t like playing in weather like this, but I consider it an advantage for us in Europe, we played in it before. Was that your mindset going in?
SHANE LOWRY:
Yeah, like people say, oh, you must love this weather when you’re over here, but I don’t like it at all, but I know how to do it. That’s just the way it is. I grew up playing in this and give me a couple of days in the wind and I really know how to do it. So, yeah, it’s just something that I’m accustomed to and I don’t particularly enjoy it, but it’s a good challenge. It was particularly enjoyable today because I shot a good score, but some days are tougher than others. -2017 Pebble Beach

This article has 38 comments

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  7. Thanks Josh,

    This is Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

    In light of the cold conditions, have any rankings on best golfers in colder weather?

    Reply
  8. Can someone explain the meaning of :
    1. (Wind vs. Expected Strokes Gained)
    2. Wind Anti-Specialists
    Does Anti-specialist mean they are bad wind players? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • SG: Wind is the adjusted strokes gained per round when playing on a day where average wind speeds were greater than 14 mph.

      Expected Strokes Gained= baseline performance for all round (adjusted to strength of field)

      Wind Anti-Specialists are the golfers whose performance in windy rounds is the lowest when comparing to their baseline. So yes, Anti-Specialists would be bad wind players in this instance.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for the excellent and prompt response! Great article btw. Very interesting info. Have a wonderful evening!

        Reply
  9. Hi Josh –
    I use your specialist documents weekly in my DFS preparation. Is there anyway we can get an update on this document; looks like 4.3.17 was the last update?
    Thank you

    Reply
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  11. Hi Josh –
    I use your specialist documents weekly in my DFS preparation. Is there anyway we can get an update on this document; looks like 4.18.17 was the last update? Much appreciated.
    Thank you

    Reply
  12. Hi Josh –

    Just hoping we can get a refresh on all the relevant sheets for the USO. Good luck in DK this week.

    Thank you.

    Reply
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    • Haha all about consistency. Some golfers pick up a reputation based on one event or one round played in the wind.

      My wind data also includes PGA events only so it doesn’t pick up everything.

      Reply
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  15. I find it difficult to believe Mc Ilroy is the best wind player. Any time I have seen him he has played poorly. Also he hits the ball so high it is more difficult to get control of it.

    Reply
    • This was a big problem for Rory early in his career. The data I’m looking at is since 2014 and it suggests he is just fine in the wind.

      There is nothing subjective here. I’m just showing the data.

      Distance is a big part of wind performance in the long term. Having an extra 15 yards in your tank can help carry hazards or go for a green where others may be forced to lay back in the same situation. So it may not always look pretty but guys like DJ, Rory, J Day, JB, etc. can attack in the wind despite their high ball flight.

      Reply

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