Yearly PGA Tour Scoring Leaders

Tiger Woods appears often on the list of PGA Tour scoring leaders
Below are the annual leaders in scoring average on the PGA Tour. The list goes back to 1980, which is the year the tour started keeping this as an official tour statistic. This stat is for adjusted scoring average, rather than actual scoring average — adjusted scoring average is what is used to determine the PGA Tour's Byron Nelson Award (low scorer of the year) and the PGA's Vardon Trophy award. (An explanation is at the bottom.)

A few notes about the list:

  • Tiger Woods and Greg Norman dominate the list. Woods has led the PGA Tour in scoring average nine times. And Norman was the low scorer on tour six times.
  • The lowest scoring average yet recorded is 67.79, and Woods hit that number twice, first in 2000, and again in 2007. To date, those are the only sub-68 averages on the list.
  • The highest scoring average to lead the tour is 70.61 by Raymond Floyd in 1983. No golfer has led the tour with a scoring average in the 70s since 1987.

Here is the list:

Scoring Average Leaders on the PGA Tour By Year

2018 — Dustin Johnson, 68.698
2017 — Jordan Spieth, 68.846
2016 — Dustin Johnson, 69.172
2015 — Jordan Spieth, 68.938
2014 — Rory McIlroy, 68.827
2013 — Steve Stricker, 68.945
2012 — Rory McIlroy, 68.873
2011 — Luke Donald, 68.86
2010 — Matt Kuchar, 69.61
2009 — Tiger Woods, 68.05
2008 — Sergio Garcia, 69.12
2007 — Tiger Woods, 67.79
2006 — Tiger Woods, 68.11
2005 — Tiger Woods, 68.66
2004 — Vijay Singh, 68.84
2003 — Tiger Woods, 68.41
2002 — Tiger Woods, 68.56
2001 — Tiger Woods, 68.81
2000 — Tiger Woods, 67.79
1999 — Tiger Woods, 68.43
1998 — David Duval, 69.13
1997 — Nick Price, 68.98
1996 — Tom Lehman, 69.32
1995 — Greg Norman, 69.06
1994 — Greg Norman, 68.81
1993 — Greg Norman, 68.90
1992 — Fred Couples, 69.38
1991 — Fred Couples, 69.59
1990 — Greg Norman, 69.10
1989 — Greg Norman, 69.49
1988 — Greg Norman, 69.38
1987 — David Frost, 70.09
1986 — Scott Hoch, 70.08
1985 — Don Pooley, 70.36
1984 — Calvin Peete, 70.56
1983 — Raymond Floyd, 70.61
1982 — Tom Kite, 70.21
1981 — Tom Kite, 69.80
1980 — Lee Trevino, 69.73

Using Adjusted Scoring Average

Why adjusted scoring average rather than actual scoring average? Imagine two golfers. Golfer A plays lots of "easy" tournaments where the winning score is 15-under, 20-under, 25-under. Golfer B skips those tournaments and focuses only on the "tough" events such as majors, where winning scores are closer to par. Golfer A would have a lower actual scoring average than Golfer B — but is A really a better scorer than B? Maybe not; their averages are reflective, in part, of the courses/tournaments they play.

Adjusted scoring average takes that into account. The PGA Tour explains adjusted scoring average as the "... weighted scoring average which takes the stroke average of the field into account. It is computed by adding a player's total strokes to an adjustment and dividing by the total rounds played. The adjustment is computed by determining the stroke average of the field for each round played. This average is subtracted from par to create an adjustment for each round."

Photo credit: "Tiger Woods" by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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