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Saturday, June 26, 2021

The KPMG Performance Insights Program

No doubt you've at least heard about the new stats program that KPMG initiated this week at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Here are a few more details.

LPGA player and KPMG banner

You need to understand that the LPGA has been moving toward something like this for nearly five years, trying to restructure their historical scoring and stats database to get more complete info. Why has it taken so long?

I think it basically comes down to money. (Doesn't everything these days?) Don't make the mistake of thinking this is the LPGA equivalent of ShotLink, because it isn't. The PGA Tour's ShotLink program is an expensive program that has used both lasers and cameras positioned all over the course to capture all kinds of info.

KPGM Performance Insights is, at least for now, far less expensive to implement. Caddies are paid to keep a second pre-formatted scorecard, and the info they collect will be compiled and analyzed by KPMG. Still, as the NewsTribune article referenced below puts it, "The women would have access to the popular 'strokes gained' statistics off the tee, to the green and putting, along with shot dispersion and proximity to the hole from various distances."

By comparison, the LPGA is currently pretty much limited to fairways hit, greens hit, and putts taken. The new system is similar to what the European Tour does, albeit initially a bit slower to get the results out. (KPGM hopes to get the lag down to an hour after the rounds are finished as the system gets up-to-speed.) According to lpga.com, "There will also be data on how players perform from 25-yard increments and on proximity to the pin from certain distances. Also available will be shot dispersion charts, average birdie putt length and performance indexing over time against the field."

In addition, KPMG will now be promoted as the official data and analytics advisor of the LPGA Tour. And given how much effort KPMG has already put into eliminating the huge disparities between the men's and women's game, this is still a pretty big deal.

So while it isn't ShotLink, it's still a huge step forward. And officially, although caddies have already been working with the new system, it officially began at this week's major.

Those are the basics. The best single article I found on this new program came from an article published by both the NewsTribune website and the USAToday website. There are also a number of articles out there that go into detail about what we've got to look forward to as the program progresses. But the big news is that the LPGA will finally get more complete analytics showing just how good the girls really are.

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