For years, I’ve made fantasy golf picks, power rankings and given betting tips about PGA Tour events.
I’ve looked at two main factors, current form and course history, and tried to bring those together to offer selections and my best guess as to who will contend in a given week.
However, for 2020, I wanted to become more sophisticated and develop a weekly rubric which offers a clear-cut ranking system based on data points weighted in a formula. I’ve spent the first few weeks of the year parsing through Alpha-phase rubrics, and now I’m ready to move to the Beta phase, which includes showing the results off to GNN Plus members each week.
I’m going to continue working on this rubric, and I hope to have it where I want it for the Masters. Let me walk you through the rubric’s tenets and show off this week’s results.
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ADDITIONAL TOOLS INCLUDE
- Searchable PGA Tour results
- PGA Tour top-15 finish trends
- Player-course fit modeling
- Course demands breakdown
- Quality Strokes Gained data
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How the rubric works
The reason I’m calling this a rubric is because I think a model implies a guess about how the tournament will play out. I don’t think any model can do that. There are plenty of factors data can’t quantify, including luck of the draw, playing partners, hole locations, weather and sheer random stuff.
That’s why the rubric is rooted in things we can quantify more broadly without getting too into the weeds. I don’t believe specific statistics matter for each course. Each player is different, and they achieve their best results slightly differently, as our Course Fit tool indicates. A player can perform well on most PGA Tour courses doing things their way, and their past performance on a course is best indicative of their fit, not where they rank in certain categories.
That said, the biggest chunk of my rubric relies on strokes gained, as well our derivative, Quality Strokes Gained, which weights a player’s strokes gained against the depth of field they face. The rubric looks at this data over the longer term and medium term to derive a player’s quality across the tour and across different fields.
Next, the rubric accounts for two factors I look at every week: current form in the last five PGA Tour events played and their average strokes gained on the host course in the last three years.
All told, the model is designed to point out quality players and boost those middling players who have good current form or good course history.
2020 The Genesis Invitational rankings
You’ll see with the rubric that I’ve listed each player in the field (may just do top 50 moving forward), as well their current betting odds and DraftKings price.
We’re looking for quality, of course, but also for some value. Patrick Cantlay provides some, as do Adam Scott, Xander Schauffele and Hideki Matsuyama. I would look to discount Rafa and Furyk a little, as the model does take a long-term approach, and they have limited PGA Tour results compared to the others.
Collin Morkiawa is ranked high, but he doesn’t have a ton of Riviera experience, which is key here. In future weeks, I’ll likely try to make adjustments on course history on those courses where that means the most — and discount it at places, like TPC Sawgrass, where it seems to matter little at all.
Click header to sort
|11||Cabrera Bello, Rafa||125/1||7300|
|20||van Rooyen, Erik||150/1||7000|
|35||Howell III, Charles||80/1||7500|
|59||Varner III, Harold||300/1||6200|
|117||Kim, Si Woo||300/1||6100|