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, I developed 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
- The Northern Trust: Dustin Johnson – No. 20
- BMW Championship: Jon Rahm – No. 2
- US Open: Bryson DeChambeau – No. 9
- Sanderson Farms Championship: Sergio Garcia – No. 40
- CJ Cup at Shadow Creek: Jason Kokrak – No. 17
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 Zozo Championship at Sherwood rankings
You’ll see with the rubric that I’ve listed the top 50, as well their current betting odds and DraftKings price.
Last week, we had Marty Laird at No. 102 in our ranking. He won. This goes to prove how a model cannot fully account for a lot of what happens in golf and demonstrates just how talented these guys are, with not that big of a gap between, say, the 50th best player and the 150th best player. It also proves that horses for courses is a real thing and can make a worthwhile long-shot bet.
This is going to be a fascinating week, with a very strong field taking on Sherwood outside of LA. My theory is that players who like Harbour Town, Colonial and similarly tight courses will find this pleasing. The upside for wilder long hitters is having five par 5s to attack on a 7,000-yard course.
The ranking at the top absolutely makes sense, so hopefully we find some gems in the 20s and 30s.
Click header to sort; the better their position, the more the rubric likes them
|POS||PLAYER||PTS||DK PRICE||DK RANK||ODDS||ODDS RANK|
|45||An, Byeong Hun||0.24||6700||47||15000||49|