Which of the world’s leading golfers win the most and what are their strike rates?

Viktor Hovland ousted Rory McIlroy to win the Dubai Desert Classic but where do the pair feature when looking at the win percentage since 2020 of the top 10 players in the world rankings?

Even the greats of the game have had to come to terms with the idea that you lose far more than you win in golf.

Jack Nicklaus seemed to collect Majors at a prodigious rate. But although any true golf fan can quote the fact that he won 18, it's never discussed that he came up short in the other 146.

Tiger Woods made winning look commonplace in his pomp and his record-equalling tally of 82 PGA Tour wins seems astonishing.

They came from 368 events played so represents a strike-rate of just over 22%.

Winning once in every 4.54 starts is exceptional although it's still a little difficult to imagine that Tiger actually lost 78% of the time.

But what of the current elite: how often do they get it done?

We looked at the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) to see how often each player has hoisted silverware since the start of 2020.

Is anyone anywhere near Tiger's career average of 22%? Or is 10% impressive in an era when the quality seems so high.

Here, in order of win percentage, is how the world's top 10 fare:

1/ Viktor Hovland - strike rate 11.32%

Starts since beginning of 2020: 53

Wins: 6

Notes: Hovland was 100th in the world before gaining his first victory, the Puerto Rico Open, in February 2020. He's since added back-to-back wins at Mayakoba and December's limited-field Hero World Challenge (which carried just four fewer world ranking points than the 2021 Mayakoba) along with DP World Tour victories at the 2021 BMW International Open in Germany and, of course, Sunday's Dubai Desert Classic. Those wins have hoisted him to World No.3. The way Hovland finished in Dubai (birdie-eagle-birdie before coming through a play-off) shows that winning has now become an ingrained habit. In a tight finish, he's the man with the killer instinct.

2/ Dustin Johnson - strike rate 10.25%

Starts since beginning of 2020: 39

Wins: 4

Notes: True, Johnson didn't lift a trophy last year but, over the study period, he's still been winning at a better rate than all but one of his top-10 rivals. His three victories in 2020 were the Travelers Championship, The Northern Trust and The Masters while in 2021 he added the DP World Tour's Saudi Invitational. Since the start of 2016, DJ has won 16 times so, in a sport where the elusive 'W' can be hard to find, he's been one of the very best at getting his nose in front.

3/ Collin Morikawa - strike rate 10%

Starts since beginning of 2020: 50

Wins: 5

Notes: Morikawa is third on the list although if this was being measured in quality not quantity, he'd surely be top. Since the start of 2020, the American has won two Majors (2020 PGA Championship and 2021 Open Championship), a WGC (2020 Workday Championship), the 2021 DP World Tour Championship in Dubai and the 2021 Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village. That's quite the haul.

4/ Patrick Cantlay - strike rate 8.33%

Starts since beginning of 2020: 36

Wins: 3

Notes: Cantlay got hot at the end of the 2021 season when winning the BMW Championship and then also finishing in front at the Tour Championship to land the FedEx Cup jackpot. However, that was a staggered start and he was only tied fourth in 72-hole scoring, something noted on the Official World Golf ranking website, so it's a slight grey area. Three wins from 36 starts is certainly decent and his strike-rate is better than some as he plays less often. Give Cantlay the Tour Championship win and he rises to 11.11% which would put him second behind Hovland.

5/ Bryson DeChambeau - strike rate 7.14%

Starts since beginning of 2020: 42

Wins: 3

Notes: Some believed DeChambeau would start to dominate golf after he pumped up and became the game's biggest hitter. But that simply hasn't happened. Full credit for his wins in the 2020 US Open and 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational but his victory in the low-key Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2020 is the only other trophy he's collected since the start of the study period.

6/ Jon Rahm - strike rate 6.98%

Starts since beginning of 2020: 43

Wins: 3

Notes: Slightly curiously, Rahm has risen to World No.1 despite his win-rate dropping. It's been below 7% since the start of 2020, suggesting he's not a good bet when going off at prices such as 15/2. Those victories were the Memorial Tournament and the BMW Championship in 2020 and the US Open in 2021. To be fair, had he not been forced to withdraw from the 2021 Memorial due to Covid when six clear after 54 holes, that win rate could be 9.3. Rahm also shot the joint-lowest 72 holes in the 2021 Tour Championship but the staggered start meant he only finished runner-up.

7/ Justin Thomas - strike rate 6.52%

Starts since beginning of 2020: 46

Wins: 3

Notes: JT gives the impression that he's a regular winner but that reputation was forged a few years ago when he won five times in 2017, including the PGA Championship. But in 46 starts since the beginning of this decade he's added just three more wins: the Sentry TOC in January 2020, the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational later that year and the 2021 PLAYERS Championship. Another case of quality over quantity.

8/ Hideki Matsuyama - strike rate 6.0%

Starts since beginning of 2020: 50

Wins: 3

Notes: It's just three wins in 50 starts since the start of 2020 for Matsuyama. But if we were measuring over a shorter time span, he's won two of his last three tournaments (Zozo Championship and Sony Open) and three in 18 if starting from his breakthrough victory in the 2021 Masters. For some, a Major victory is the end game; for others, such as Matsuyama, it looks as if it could be the springboard for him becoming a regular winner.

9/ Rory McIlroy - strike rate 4.65%

Starts since beginning of 2020: 43

Wins: 2

Notes: Rory won five times in 2012 and four times in each of 2014, 2015 and 2019. But the victories have started to dry up and his late collapse in the Dubai Desert Classic confirmed a feeling that he finds it much, much harder to get over the winning line these days and the scar tissue of defeat is affecting him. McIlroy has just two wins from the start of 2020, the Wells Fargo Championship and CJ Cup (both in 2021). And yet the bookies still often chalk him up as the man to beat.

10/ Xander Schauffele - strike rate 2.27%

Starts since beginning of 2020: 44

Wins: 1

Notes: Just two wins from 44 starts since the start of 2020 is a poor return for a player who always seems to be there or thereabouts in the Majors. He's yet to win one and Schauffele's only official victory since early 2019 is last summer's Olympics in Japan. His other '1' on the Official World Golf Ranking site is due to him shooting the lowest 72-hole score in the 2020 Tour Championship but, as with Rahm in 2021, that can't be classed as a win. A man to bet each-way it seems.

Where other big names rank and others who win often

It's also interesting to note some players outside the top 10 who we think of as winners.

Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth have won seven Majors between them since the start of 2015 and are still very much in their prime years.

But from the start of 2020, their trophy count has dwindled seriously. Koepka has a strike-rate of just 2.56% (one win in 39 starts) while Spieth's is just 2.32% (one win in 43).

Conversely, there are a couple of less celebrated players, currently outside the top 20, who appear much higher up the win charts than some of the world's top 10.

Tyrrell Hatton has a strike rate of 7.14% after three wins in 42 starts from the beginning of 2020 while Jason Kokrak is at 6.25% after three wins in 48 over that period.

That puts them above the likes of McIlroy, Matsuyama and Schauffele while Hatton has a better strike-rate than Rahm!

Putting all the above players mentioned in our win-rate list from the start of 2020 gives us the following standings. Something to consider perhaps when next having a punt.

11.32% Viktor Hovland - World No.3

10.25% Dustin Johnson - World No.5

10.00% Collin Morikawa - World No.2

8.33% Patrick Cantlay - World No.4

7.14% Bryson DeChambeau - World No.9

7.14% Tyrrell Hatton - World No.21

6.98% Jon Rahm - World No.1

6.52% Justin Thomas - World No.7

6.25% Jason Kokrak - World No.22

6.00% Hideki Matsuyama - World No.10

4.65% Rory McIlroy - World No.6

2.56% Brooks Koepka - World No.18

2.32% Jordan Spieth - World No.15

2.27% Xander Schauffele - World No.8

READ MORE: Dubai Desert Classic: Viktor Hovland wins play-off after Rory McIlroy blows it

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