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. So far, it’s been a tremendous success. Here’s a look at the PGA Tour winners in the restart and where they landed in the model:
- Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial: Daniel Berger – No. 21
- RBC Heritage: Webb Simpson – No. 7
- Travelers Championship: Dustin Johnson – No. 10
- Rocket Mortgage Classic: Bryson DeChambeau – No. 2
- Workday Charity Open: Collin Morikawa – No. 11
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 Memorial Tournament 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.
This week, the ranking again feels pretty apparent. We know who to like at this point. However, it was surprising to see Tiger at No. 15 in the ranking, though he’s hurt by not playing much.
Kevin Streelman again stands out here, as does Ian Poulter.
Click header to sort; the better their position, the more the rubric likes them
|POS||PLAYER||PTS||ODDS||ODDS RANK||DK PRICE||DK RANK|
|40||van Rooyen, Erik||0.593||15000||46||7000||54|
|47||Varner III, Harold||0.495||15000||46||7100||49|