RSM, a leading audit, tax and consulting firm, and the European Tour are launching phase two of a unique golf research project to understand how the preparation and routine of elite players can affect their performance.
During phase one in 2016, researchers examined the impact of the time players spent over the ball before taking a shot. In total, the team collected data from 7,672 putts, 4,434 drives, 6,693 approach shots and 1,242 tee shots.
Phase two kicks off this week at the BMW PGA Championship, where RSM are an official partner of the tournament. Twenty European Tour players, including RSM Ambassadors Andy Sullivan and Paul Lawrie, will participate across four European Tour tournaments. Alongside time over the ball, a team of 40 volunteers will collect new data such as the players’ routines prior to addressing the ball and their pre-round preparation on the practice areas of the course.
The RSM Player Performance study, led by Dr Matt Bridge from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham, will use sophisticated data analysis to determine how these behaviours influence performance.
Dr Matt Bridge said:
'This is the very first study of its type looking at the behaviour of elite players in Professional Tournaments and how this affects their game.'
'Already, the data we collected during the pilot phase has revealed some surprising findings. For example, we now know that players who are under par tend to spend less time over the ball than players who are level or over par. With the new data we are collecting we will start to understand how behavioural changes can affect shot outcomes. Ultimately, our aim is to answer some of golf’s longest standing questions to help the professionals – and amateur players – understand and improve their game.'
Three-time European Tour winner and Ryder Cup player Andy Sullivan, said:
'Every player on the European Tour has their own style and technique but in such a competitive environment, we are all focused on how we can improve. I hope this study will help me better understand my game and put me in the best position to optimise my performance on the course.’
The research team of RSM volunteers will be inside the ropes collecting data at four tournaments in 2017- the BMW PGA Championship, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, and the British Masters supported by Sky Sports.
The full study results will be released at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai in November.