2020 Vivint Houston Open model and fantasy golf rankings
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2020 Vivint Houston Open 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
  • Zozo Championship at Sherwood: Patrick Cantlay – No. 9

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 Vivint Houston Open rankings

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

This is an interesting week in Houston. We have a new host course in Memorial Park, and we have a pretty decent field. Our model is largely a long-term one this week, with no course history to help us.

Specifically, top finishers at Bermuda last week are harmed by the model because there isn’t a strokes gained figure for them from the PGA Tour. Those players should see a bump in their ranking (thinking Denny McCarthy and Wyndham Clark in particular) of maybe a few places.

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 Finau, Tony 1.215 10900 2 2000 3
2 Scott, Adam 1.158 9200 10 3000 9
3 Johnson, Dustin 1.043 11500 1 800 1
4 Hatton, Tyrrell 1.014 10300 4 1600 2
5 Matsuyama, Hideki 0.998 10000 5 2000 3
6 Hovland, Viktor 0.835 9800 6 2500 6
7 Koepka, Brooks 0.833 10600 3 2000 3
8 Henley, Russell 0.815 9400 8 2500 6
9 van der Walt, Dawie 0.737 6000 119 50000 113
10 NeSmith, Matthew 0.724 7000 54 12500 50
11 Varner III, Harold 0.683 7800 26 8000 22
12 Ventura, Kristoffer 0.664 7300 42 12500 50
13 Scheffler, Scottie 0.628 9600 7 2500 6
14 Im, Sungjae 0.607 9300 9 3000 9
15 Lowry, Shane 0.586 8200 20 6000 17
16 Snedeker, Brandt 0.57 7300 42 10000 35
17 Garcia, Sergio 0.515 9100 11 5000 12
18 Westwood, Lee 0.5 7800 26 8000 22
19 Harman, Brian 0.496 8500 17 6000 17
20 Davis, Cameron 0.492 8100 21 8000 22
21 Kim, Michael 0.483 6000 119 100000 120
22 Redman, Doc 0.473 8800 14 5000 12
23 Griffin, Lanto 0.469 8900 13 5000 12
24 Johnson, Zach 0.465 8600 16 5000 12
25 Hubbard, Mark 0.453 6800 63 15000 61
26 van Rooyen, Erik 0.429 7700 29 6000 17
27 Burns, Sam 0.406 7500 35 8000 22
28 Conners, Corey 0.401 8700 15 6000 17
29 Streelman, Kevin 0.382 7600 32 8000 22
30 Day, Jason 0.378 9000 12 4000 11
31 Tringale, Cameron 0.371 7300 42 10000 35
32 Poston, J.T. 0.366 7500 35 8000 22
33 McCarthy, Denny 0.352 7900 24 8000 22
34 Norlander, Henrik 0.352 7100 50 12500 50
35 Schenk, Adam 0.348 7100 50 10000 35
36 Huh, John 0.325 6300 94 25000 94
37 McNealy, Maverick 0.322 6900 58 12500 50
38 Sabbatini, Rory 0.315 6900 58 12500 50
39 Gooch, Talor 0.301 7700 29 8000 22
40 Hoge, Tom 0.266 6700 68 15000 61
41 Stuard, Brian 0.26 6400 87 20000 77
42 Glover, Lucas 0.256 7400 38 10000 35
43 Piercy, Scott 0.25 7200 46 12500 50
44 Straka, Sepp 0.239 7000 54 12500 50
45 Perez, Pat 0.233 6800 63 15000 61
46 Spieth, Jordan 0.186 8400 18 6000 17
47 Stallings, Scott 0.183 6900 58 15000 61
48 Gordon, Will 0.182 6400 87 15000 61
49 Ryder, Sam 0.157 6100 111 25000 94
50 Vegas, Jhonattan 0.153 6600 74 20000 77
51 Schwartzel, Charl 0.145 6700 68 15000 61
52 Grillo, Emiliano 0.143 7900 24 8000 22
53 Hahn, James 0.141 8000 22 8000 22
54 Noren, Alex 0.14 7800 26 8000 22
55 Laird, Martin 0.128 7300 42 10000 35
56 Lee, Danny 0.128 6400 87 20000 77
57 Hughes, Mackenzie 0.113 7600 32 10000 35
58 Hoffman, Charley 0.088 7400 38 10000 35
59 Bradley, Keegan 0.086 7200 46 10000 35
60 Stenson, Henrik 0.066 7400 38 10000 35
61 Higgs, Harry 0.062 7100 50 12500 50
62 Rodgers, Patrick 0.043 6700 68 15000 61
63 Cook, Austin 0.037 6900 58 15000 61
64 Willett, Danny 0.005 6800 63 15000 61
65 Wise, Aaron 0.005 7400 38 10000 35
66 Garnett, Brice -0.002 6600 74 20000 77
67 Merritt, Troy -0.004 6600 74 20000 77
68 Clark, Wyndham -0.005 7700 29 8000 22
69 Frittelli, Dylan -0.01 7600 32 10000 35
70 Shelton, Robby -0.05 6400 87 20000 77
71 List, Luke -0.051 7000 54 12500 50
72 Kirk, Chris -0.053 6200 102 20000 77
73 Duncan, Tyler -0.056 7000 54 12500 50
74 Homa, Max -0.057 6800 63 15000 61
75 Ortiz, Carlos -0.069 6700 68 15000 61
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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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