2021 Sony Open in Hawaii model and fantasy golf rankings
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2021 Sony Open in Hawaii model and fantasy golf rankings



Welcome to my weekly fantasy golf model for the 2021 Sony Open in Hawaii!

Beginning in 2020, 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
  • The Masters: Dustin Johnson – No. 7
  • Mayakoba Golf Classic: Viktor Hovland – No. 5
  • Sentry Tournament of Champions: Harris English – 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. In the fall of 2021, I included specific weighting of strokes gained and Quality Strokes Gained against the field strength that week, creating a range of comparison to see how players do against particular competition.

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.

2021 Sony Open in Hawaii rankings

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

This is an interesting week at Waialae. Lots of familiar names and a 144-player field, with most of the players at Kapalua last week coming over here. All kinds of players can win here, but six of the last seven winners played the week prior.

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 Simpson, Webb 1.575 11100 1 1200 1
2 Berger, Daniel 1.099 10000 6 1600 4
3 Morikawa, Collin 1.08 10600 3 1400 2
4 English, Harris 1.056 10800 2 1400 2
5 Matsuyama, Hideki 1.044 10200 5 2000 6
6 Scott, Adam 0.943 9000 11 3500 13
7 Van Rooyen, Erik 0.811 8000 20 6000 26
8 Henley, Russell 0.758 8700 13 3000 9
9 NeSmith, Matthew 0.673 7400 34 8000 28
10 Im, Sungjae 0.659 9800 7 1800 5
11 Snedeker, Brandt 0.617 7200 42 8000 28
12 Kisner, Kevin 0.598 8800 12 3000 9
13 Niemann, Joaquin 0.579 10400 4 2000 6
14 Johnson, Zach 0.573 8500 15 5000 16
15 Harman, Brian 0.572 7800 24 5000 16
16 Kokrak, Jason 0.569 7700 26 5000 16
17 Kuchar, Matt 0.554 8400 16 4000 14
18 Smith, Cameron 0.545 9600 8 2500 8
19 Sabbatini, Rory 0.541 7400 34 10000 36
20 Gooch, Talor 0.495 7600 28 8000 28
21 Ancer, Abraham 0.494 9400 9 3000 9
22 Horschel, Billy 0.478 8600 14 4000 14
23 Taylor, Ben 0.439 6100 118 50000 111
24 Garcia, Sergio 0.436 8300 17 5000 16
25 Poston, J.T. 0.424 7300 38 10000 36
26 Stuard, Brian 0.416 6900 57 15000 47
27 Piercy, Scott 0.408 7300 38 10000 36
28 Palmer, Ryan 0.397 9200 10 3000 9
29 Furyk, Jim 0.385 7200 42 12500 43
30 Hoge, Tom 0.363 7300 38 10000 36
31 Kelly, Jerry 0.346 6200 108 40000 98
32 Norlander, Henrik 0.339 7000 52 15000 47
33 Todd, Brendon 0.334 8200 18 5000 16
34 Griffin, Lanto 0.324 8100 19 5000 16
35 Reavie, Chez 0.32 7400 34 8000 28
36 Vegas, Jhonattan 0.259 7000 52 20000 59
37 Straka, Sepp 0.258 7100 47 12500 43
38 Na, Kevin 0.242 7500 31 6000 26
39 Kizzire, Patton 0.231 7700 26 8000 28
40 Grillo, Emiliano 0.22 7900 22 5000 16
41 Cook, Austin 0.219 6900 57 20000 59
42 Higgs, Harry 0.217 6900 57 25000 75
43 Taylor, Nick 0.212 6700 69 25000 75
44 Hoffman, Charley 0.211 7000 52 15000 47
45 Kim, Michael 0.207 6000 129 100000 124
46 Ghim, Doug 0.192 6900 57 15000 47
47 Gordon, Will 0.189 6600 76 20000 59
48 Bryan, Wesley 0.182 6300 99 30000 86
49 Ortiz, Carlos 0.177 7500 31 8000 28
50 Munoz, Sebastian 0.175 7800 24 5000 16
51 Schenk, Adam 0.161 6600 76 20000 59
52 Perez, Pat 0.131 6800 63 20000 59
53 Howell III, Charles 0.125 8000 20 5000 16
54 Kirk, Chris 0.116 7000 52 15000 47
55 Knox, Russell 0.112 7400 34 10000 36
56 Bradley, Keegan 0.07 7600 28 8000 28
57 Malnati, Peter 0.066 6900 57 15000 47
58 Hughes, Mackenzie 0.053 7500 31 10000 36
59 Yang, Y.E. 0.038 6000 129 100000 124
60 Hubbard, Mark 0.036 6600 76 20000 59
61 Davis, Cameron 0.033 7200 42 10000 36
62 Leishman, Marc 0.027 7900 22 5000 16
63 Stanley, Kyle 0.01 7200 42 15000 47
64 Hahn, James -0.006 7300 38 15000 47
65 Ryder, Sam -0.054 6200 108 40000 98
66 Garnett, Brice -0.068 6500 83 20000 59
67 Sloan, Roger -0.068 6500 83 30000 86
68 Kanaya, Takumi -0.076 7100 47 15000 47
69 Putnam, Andrew -0.076 6700 69 25000 75
70 Lee, Danny -0.088 6800 63 20000 59
71 Steele, Brendan -0.101 7100 47 15000 47
72 Grace, Branden -0.107 7100 47 12500 43
73 Pan, C.T. -0.118 7100 47 15000 47
74 Bramlett, Joseph -0.128 6300 99 40000 98
75 Baker, Chris -0.133 6500 83 40000 98
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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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