2020 Zozo Championship at Sherwood model and fantasy golf rankings
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2020 Zozo Championship at Sherwood 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, 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
1 Thomas, Justin 1.767 10600 3 1200 3
2 McIlroy, Rory 1.718 10400 4 1400 4
3 Rahm, Jon 1.684 11000 2 1000 1
4 Simpson, Webb 1.539 9700 7 2000 5
5 Schauffele, Xander 1.53 11200 1 1000 1
6 Berger, Daniel 1.299 8900 15 4000 14
7 Finau, Tony 1.296 9500 9 3000 9
8 Scott, Adam 1.296 7900 25 4000 14
9 Cantlay, Patrick 1.275 9400 10 3000 9
10 Matsuyama, Hideki 1.154 9300 11 3000 9
11 Fitzpatrick, Matthew 1.112 8300 21 4000 14
12 English, Harris 1.107 8800 16 4000 14
13 Reed, Patrick 1.09 9600 8 2500 7
14 Hovland, Viktor 1.038 9200 12 3500 13
15 Kokrak, Jason 0.992 8600 18 5000 22
16 Hatton, Tyrrell 0.987 10000 5 2000 5
17 Morikawa, Collin 0.987 9800 6 2500 7
18 Fleetwood, Tommy 0.778 8500 19 4000 14
19 Scheffler, Scottie 0.757 8200 22 5000 22
20 Henley, Russell 0.746 8100 23 5000 22
21 Ancer, Abraham 0.716 7800 26 5000 22
22 Horschel, Billy 0.699 7400 31 8000 30
23 Niemann, Joaquin 0.657 8400 20 4000 14
24 Watson, Bubba 0.632 8700 17 4000 14
25 Fowler, Rickie 0.58 7700 27 5000 22
26 Woodland, Gary 0.53 7300 33 8000 30
27 Hubbard, Mark 0.519 6400 57 25000 59
28 Rose, Justin 0.498 7400 31 8000 30
29 Na, Kevin 0.486 6900 41 12500 44
30 Harman, Brian 0.466 7300 33 10000 37
31 Conners, Corey 0.46 6600 50 12500 44
32 Im, Sungjae 0.457 8000 24 5000 22
33 Casey, Paul 0.451 7500 29 8000 30
34 Smith, Cameron 0.451 7200 35 8000 30
35 Woods, Tiger 0.447 9000 14 4000 14
36 Wolff, Matthew 0.43 9100 13 3000 9
37 Kim, Chan 0.41 6000 73 50000 69
38 Dahmen, Joel 0.396 6500 53 20000 54
39 Kisner, Kevin 0.372 6800 43 10000 37
40 Day, Jason 0.366 7600 28 5000 22
41 Griffin, Lanto 0.347 7000 39 10000 37
42 Munoz, Sebastian 0.339 7200 35 8000 30
43 Gooch, Talor 0.271 7100 37 10000 37
44 Hadwin, Adam 0.244 6700 47 15000 49
45 An, Byeong Hun 0.24 6700 47 15000 49
46 Todd, Brendon 0.211 7000 39 8000 30
47 Taylor, Nick 0.192 6100 69 40000 67
48 Kuchar, Matt 0.191 6800 43 10000 37
49 Spieth, Jordan 0.181 6900 41 10000 37
50 Streelman, Kevin 0.178 6600 50 12500 44
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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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