2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational model and fantasy golf rankings
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2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational model and fantasy golf rankings



Welcome to my weekly fantasy golf model for the 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational!

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
  • Sony Open in Hawaii: Kevin Na – No. 33
  • Farmers Insurance Open: Patrick Reed – No. 8
  • Waste Management Phoenix Open: Brooks Koepka – No. 10
  • AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Daniel Berger – No. 1
  • The Genesis Invitational: Max Homa – No. 30
  • WGC-Workday Championship: Collin Morikawa – 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. 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 Arnold Palmer Invitational rankings

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

This week at Bay Hill is pretty straightforward. International players make up a good chunk of the field and, therefore, have a better chance of winning. They’ve dominated since 2006. I’d look for more of the same this year, with some notable exceptions.

Though the model doesn’t love Francesco Molinari because its set to look with a long-term focus, I love him this week personally.

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 1.813 11500 1 900 1
2 Zalatoris, Will 1.663 8600 16 4000 13
3 DeChambeau, Bryson 1.623 11000 2 1200 2
4 Hovland, Viktor 1.26 10600 3 1200 2
5 Reed, Patrick 1.246 10200 4 2000 5
6 Fitzpatrick, Matthew 1.233 9800 6 2500 7
7 Hatton, Tyrrell 1.098 10000 5 1600 4
8 Matsuyama, Hideki 0.951 9400 8 2500 7
9 Burns, Sam 0.898 8400 18 4000 13
10 Casey, Paul 0.83 9100 11 3000 10
11 Homa, Max 0.776 8500 17 5000 19
12 English, Harris 0.74 8300 19 6000 22
13 Griffin, Lanto 0.725 7700 28 8000 26
14 Kokrak, Jason 0.708 8100 21 4000 13
15 Bezuidenhout, Christiaan 0.707 7500 32 8000 26
16 Johnson, Zach 0.697 6900 55 15000 55
17 Van Rooyen, Erik 0.684 6900 55 15000 55
18 Poulter, Ian 0.68 7300 38 10000 32
19 Im, Sungjae 0.632 9700 7 2000 5
20 Gooch, Talor 0.631 7900 24 8000 26
21 Gordon, Will 0.608 6500 77 15000 55
22 Fowler, Rickie 0.604 7800 26 6000 22
23 Day, Jason 0.598 9200 10 4000 13
24 Tringale, Cameron 0.56 7700 28 8000 26
25 Horschel, Billy 0.547 8900 13 4000 13
26 Na, Kevin 0.502 8000 22 5000 19
27 Hoffman, Charley 0.485 7600 30 10000 32
28 Todd, Brendon 0.484 7300 38 10000 32
29 Davis, Cameron 0.48 7900 24 6000 22
30 Norlander, Henrik 0.478 7200 42 12500 41
31 NeSmith, Matthew 0.464 6900 55 12500 41
32 Reavie, Chez 0.446 6700 65 15000 55
33 Kirk, Chris 0.445 7000 50 10000 32
34 Varner III, Harold 0.424 6800 60 15000 55
35 Rodgers, Patrick 0.423 6800 60 15000 55
36 Wallace, Matt 0.422 6900 55 15000 55
37 Oosthuizen, Louis 0.368 8800 14 4000 13
38 Lee, Danny 0.363 6100 105 30000 99
39 Fleetwood, Tommy 0.359 9000 12 3500 12
40 Sabbatini, Rory 0.355 6300 90 20000 73
41 An, Byeong Hun 0.329 7100 46 12500 41
42 Conners, Corey 0.326 7300 38 10000 32
43 Spieth, Jordan 0.325 9300 9 3000 10
44 Ghim, Doug 0.305 6600 71 15000 55
45 Hadwin, Adam 0.289 7400 35 10000 32
46 Kizzire, Patton 0.288 6800 60 15000 55
47 Huh, John 0.262 6600 71 20000 73
48 Molinari, Francesco 0.26 8700 15 2500 7
49 Harrington, Padraig 0.252 6000 114 30000 99
50 Straka, Sepp 0.24 6400 83 20000 73
51 Redman, Doc 0.235 6400 83 20000 73
52 Stenson, Henrik 0.227 7000 50 20000 73
53 Dahmen, Joel 0.222 6800 60 15000 55
54 Snedeker, Brandt 0.218 6400 83 25000 91
55 List, Luke 0.215 7200 42 12500 41
56 Kisner, Kevin 0.214 8000 22 8000 26
57 Hoge, Tom 0.19 6500 77 20000 73
58 Stuard, Brian 0.183 6200 97 30000 99
59 Lowry, Shane 0.162 7600 30 12500 41
60 Steele, Brendan 0.159 6900 55 12500 41
61 Poston, J.T. 0.147 7000 50 12500 41
62 Munoz, Sebastian 0.134 6700 65 12500 41
63 Ventura, Kristoffer 0.123 6200 97 30000 99
64 Hubbard, Mark 0.096 6200 97 25000 91
65 Stricker, Steve 0.089 6400 83 20000 73
66 Taylor, Nick 0.088 6600 71 20000 73
67 Glover, Lucas 0.068 6600 71 20000 73
68 Grillo, Emiliano 0.053 7400 35 12500 41
69 Rose, Justin 0.048 7800 26 6000 22
70 Cook, Austin 0.044 6300 90 30000 99
71 Frittelli, Dylan 0.044 6500 77 15000 55
72 Willett, Danny 0.041 6700 65 20000 73
73 Leishman, Marc 0.036 8200 20 5000 19
74 Westwood, Lee 0.022 7200 42 15000 55
75 Noren, Alex 0.004 7300 38 10000 32
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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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