2020 RBC Heritage model and fantasy golf rankings
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2020 RBC Heritage model and fantasy golf rankings



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. After some weeks of testing, I’m have this rubric where I want it. Let me walk you through the rubric’s tenets and show off this week’s results.
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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 RBC Heritage rankings

You’ll see with the rubric that I’ve listed the top 50 in this field, as well their current betting odds and DraftKings price.

We’re looking for quality, of course, but also for some value.

This week, the ranking again feels pretty apparent. Rory is the best in the world by far. Bryson DeChambeau is moving up the rankings quickly. Gary Woodland is a good value play. Same with Brandt Snedeker.

There are some values out there, and fortunately the model relies very little on form anyhow, so form basically being a 3-month-old concept isn’t a big deal here.

Click header to sort; the better their position, the more the rubric likes them

POS PLAYER PTS DK PRICE DK RANK ODDS ODDS RANK
1 McIlroy, Rory 2.146 11300 1 1200 1
2 DeChambeau, Bryson 1.669 10700 3 1400 2
3 Rahm, Jon 1.664 10500 4 1600 4
4 Thomas, Justin 1.551 10900 2 1400 2
5 Matsuyama, Hideki 1.396 9500 8 3000 8
6 Woodland, Gary 1.372 8400 16 4000 13
7 Simpson, Webb 1.321 9000 10 2500 7
8 Rose, Justin 1.29 9200 9 3000 8
9 Schauffele, Xander 1.237 10200 5 2000 5
10 Morikawa, Collin 1.195 10000 6 2000 5
11 Reed, Patrick 1.065 8800 12 3000 8
12 Johnson, Dustin 1.043 8500 15 4000 13
13 Berger, Daniel 1.01 8900 11 5000 17
14 Finau, Tony 0.956 8200 18 5000 17
15 Snedeker, Brandt 0.916 7500 33 10000 35
16 Im, Sungjae 0.912 9700 7 3000 8
17 Fowler, Rickie 0.908 8100 19 5000 17
18 Koepka, Brooks 0.878 8600 14 4000 13
19 Poulter, Ian 0.865 7600 30 8000 28
20 Dahmen, Joel 0.829 7500 33 8000 28
21 Bezuidenhout, Christiaan 0.821 7200 47 15000 49
22 McNealy, Maverick 0.819 7100 53 15000 49
23 NeSmith, Matthew 0.814 6600 88 20000 65
24 Horschel, Billy 0.792 7700 27 8000 28
25 Kuchar, Matt 0.767 8300 17 4000 13
26 Hatton, Tyrrell 0.76 8000 20 5000 17
27 Lowry, Shane 0.753 7800 24 8000 28
28 Cauley, Bud 0.69 7200 47 12500 45
29 Fitzpatrick, Matthew 0.687 7900 22 6000 23
30 Van Rooyen, Erik 0.678 6600 88 20000 65
31 Homa, Max 0.672 7000 60 15000 49
32 Hovland, Viktor 0.651 7600 30 6000 23
33 Scheffler, Scottie 0.643 7800 24 6000 23
34 Sabbatini, Rory 0.64 7200 47 12500 45
35 Wallace, Matt 0.619 6800 74 20000 65
36 Hadwin, Adam 0.568 7300 42 12500 45
37 Henley, Russell 0.544 7100 53 20000 65
38 Watson, Bubba 0.543 7400 37 10000 35
39 Higgs, Harry 0.54 6900 67 20000 65
40 Ancer, Abraham 0.531 8000 20 6000 23
41 English, Harris 0.526 7300 42 10000 35
42 Day, Jason 0.525 7600 30 200000 152
43 Spieth, Jordan 0.516 8700 13 3000 8
44 Moore, Ryan 0.512 6900 67 15000 49
45 Streelman, Kevin 0.507 7000 60 20000 65
46 Niemann, Joaquin 0.503 7400 37 10000 35
47 Furyk, Jim 0.489 7100 53 15000 49
48 Varner III, Harold 0.478 7400 37 15000 49
49 Lee, Danny 0.469 7000 60 20000 65
50 Kokrak, Jason 0.45 7900 22 6000 23
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About the author

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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