THERE'S a saying in sport that statistics are overblown.
American fans, pundits and commentators can be especially guilty of this. Watch any sport from United States shores and you'll hear constant reference to the numerical side of sport.
Basketballers look for triple-doubles, American footballers are chasing touchdowns, interceptions and yards gained while baseballers want home runs and RBIs.
Golf is a little different. The key statistics are a little harder to decipher. Driving distance is simply distance off the tee, but doesn't really mean anything. Californian Bryson DeChambeau, for example, is one of the biggest hitters on the PGA Tour but is only ranked seventh overall.
The lesson? Big hitting alone doesn't equate to wins in a finesse sport such as golf.
There's another saying that statistics simply don't lie. Like most adages, perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
A fresh season, a new start was pretty good for me. It got me to knuckle down and just really focus and I've been playing some good golf.- Marc Leishman
But in Marc Leishman's case, they tell the story of a man playing good golf. Arguably career-best golf.
The six-time PGA Tour champion's putting - one of his strengths - has never been better. He ranks 16th on the American circuit with an average of 0.937 which isn't too shabby given the amount of golf he's played.
It sounds complicated but shots gained, which has risen at a similar pace to xG or expected goals in soccer, measures the number of putts a golfer takes relative to the PGA Tour average from that same distance.
It's important as it compares how Leishman ranks against others on the tour for putting.
The Warrnambool golfer's birdie average is also turning heads. Leishman is fourth overall with an average of 5.56 a round.
Only world number six Justin Thomas, world number eight Rory McIlroy and 10th-ranked Viktor Hovland rate higher.
Scoring average has always been an indicator of Leishman playing good golf and it's no surprise he's ranked seventh overall for that metric so far in the 2022 season.
IN OTHER NEWS:
The 38-year-old is currently managing an average round score of 69.5, which is impressive given he's played four tournaments so far. Of those above him, Americans Matthew Wolfe and Sam Burns and South Korean Sungjae Im have only managed better scoring from as many or more rounds.
The bottom line is that Leishman has been better for longer.
The father-of-three isn't a big hitter by PGA Tour standards, but amazingly, the numbers on driving are again in his favour.
Leishman was ranked 124th, 112th and 78th for driving distance in the past three seasons but is holding an impressive 37th spot so far in 2022.
That ranking is his best position since 2014, when he was at his physical peak at 30.
Leishman said missing the PGA Tour Championship for the first had been motivation for his hot start.
"It was obviously pretty disappointing not to get there, but I guess the time off, the extra week off might have helped me," he said.
"Might make this next season we're in now a really good one. For about six months I feel like I've been playing OK, just not getting anything out of it.
"I worked on my wedge game, so everything inside 150. And I started making putts, really that's the difference.
"It can be a crazy game, it can get you down and you can play really well and not have a good score and play mediocre golf and have a really good score.
"A fresh season, a new start was pretty good for me. It got me to knuckle down and just really focus and I've been playing some good golf."
The world number 35 will be keen to join the winner's list in coming weeks and even perhaps snag an elusive major. The stats - and form - are on his side.
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.