2020 The Northern Trust model and fantasy golf rankings
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2020 The Northern Trust 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. 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
  • the Memorial Tournament: Jon Rahm – No. 6
  • WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational: Justin Thomas – No. 6
  • PGA Championship: Collin Morikawa – No. 13

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 The Northern Trust rankings

You’ll see with the rubric that I’ve listed the top 75 in this field, as well their current betting odds and DraftKings price.

This week we go back to TPC Boston, so we’re using the old Dell Technologies Championship as our course fit, since a PGA Tour event was last played there in 2018.

Also, if your model had Jim Herman contending, you don’t need me. But we had Horschel and Webb as big tips, as well Mark Hubbard.

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 1.885 10800 3 1400 3
2 Rahm, Jon 1.838 10000 6 1400 3
3 Thomas, Justin 1.822 11300 1 1200 1
4 Cantlay, Patrick 1.683 9200 10 3000 9
5 DeChambeau, Bryson 1.629 11100 2 1200 1
6 Scott, Adam 1.563 8400 18 5000 17
7 Simpson, Webb 1.56 9500 8 3000 9
8 Schauffele, Xander 1.432 9700 7 1800 5
9 Morikawa, Collin 1.297 10200 5 2000 6
10 Rose, Justin 1.285 8000 23 6000 20
11 Matsuyama, Hideki 1.246 8600 16 4000 15
12 Finau, Tony 1.22 8800 14 3500 13
13 Reed, Patrick 1.206 9000 12 3000 9
14 Woods, Tiger 1.13 8700 15 4000 15
15 Koepka, Brooks 1.129 9100 11 3000 9
16 Fitzpatrick, Matthew 1.084 8100 21 6000 20
17 Berger, Daniel 1.082 8900 13 3500 13
18 Woodland, Gary 1.054 7800 27 6000 20
19 Fowler, Rickie 1.005 7900 25 6000 20
20 Johnson, Dustin 0.947 10400 4 2000 6
21 Day, Jason 0.943 9300 9 2500 8
22 Scheffler, Scottie 0.926 8100 21 6000 20
23 Hovland, Viktor 0.918 8200 20 6000 20
24 Na, Kevin 0.864 6800 64 15000 50
25 Fleetwood, Tommy 0.859 8300 19 5000 17
26 Ancer, Abraham 0.822 7700 30 6000 20
27 English, Harris 0.809 7600 33 8000 31
28 Hubbard, Mark 0.807 6600 75 25000 79
29 Casey, Paul 0.733 8500 17 5000 17
30 Henley, Russell 0.705 7300 43 12500 42
31 Hatton, Tyrrell 0.701 8000 23 6000 20
32 Cauley, Bud 0.677 6600 75 20000 60
33 Horschel, Billy 0.676 7900 25 6000 20
34 Wolff, Matthew 0.652 7800 27 6000 20
35 Varner III, Harold 0.645 7400 39 8000 31
36 Lowry, Shane 0.63 7500 36 10000 38
37 Homa, Max 0.628 7000 55 20000 60
38 Snedeker, Brandt 0.599 6900 59 20000 60
39 Spieth, Jordan 0.578 7800 27 8000 31
40 Leishman, Marc 0.548 7400 39 10000 38
41 Kisner, Kevin 0.537 7600 33 8000 31
42 Tringale, Cameron 0.536 6600 75 25000 79
43 Im, Sungjae 0.532 7700 30 6000 20
44 Poulter, Ian 0.505 7200 47 12500 42
45 Griffin, Lanto 0.49 6700 69 20000 60
46 Oosthuizen, Louis 0.486 7500 36 8000 31
47 Burns, Sam 0.485 6900 59 20000 60
48 Glover, Lucas 0.481 6900 59 20000 60
49 Watson, Bubba 0.439 7200 47 12500 42
50 Niemann, Joaquin 0.439 7200 47 12500 42
51 Kokrak, Jason 0.429 6800 64 20000 60
52 Hadwin, Adam 0.412 7200 47 15000 50
53 Davis, Cameron 0.407 6300 94 25000 79
54 Norlander, Henrik 0.399 6600 75 20000 60
55 Harman, Brian 0.397 6800 64 20000 60
56 Werenski, Richy 0.392 6500 81 20000 60
57 Redman, Doc 0.385 7400 39 12500 42
58 Conners, Corey 0.382 6900 59 15000 50
59 Streelman, Kevin 0.378 6700 69 20000 60
60 Kuchar, Matt 0.359 7400 39 10000 38
61 Todd, Brendon 0.353 7500 36 10000 38
62 Grillo, Emiliano 0.35 7000 55 15000 50
63 Frittelli, Dylan 0.321 7000 55 15000 50
64 Reavie, Chez 0.313 7100 51 15000 50
65 NeSmith, Matthew 0.301 6100 108 50000 114
66 McCarthy, Denny 0.297 6700 69 25000 79
67 Hughes, Mackenzie 0.297 6700 69 20000 60
68 Taylor, Nick 0.296 6200 101 30000 94
69 Perez, Pat 0.296 6400 87 25000 79
70 Moore, Ryan 0.285 7100 51 15000 50
71 Sabbatini, Rory 0.257 6500 81 25000 79
72 Rodgers, Patrick 0.237 6500 81 20000 60
73 Hoge, Tom 0.223 6400 87 30000 94
74 Poston, J.T. 0.215 6300 94 25000 79
75 Gooch, Talor 0.211 6500 81 25000 79
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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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