2021 US Open model and fantasy golf rankings
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2021 US Open model and fantasy golf rankings



Welcome to my weekly fantasy golf model for the 2021 US Open!

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
  • Arnold Palmer Invitational: Bryson DeChambeau - No. 3
  • The Players Championship: Justin Thomas - No. 3
  • Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship: Joel Dahmen - No. 22
  • Valero Texas Open: Jordan Spieth - No. 9
  • Masters: Hideki Matsuyama - No. 16
  • RBC Heritage: Stewart Cink - No. 75
  • Valspar Championship: Sam Burns - No. 77
  • Wells Fargo Championship: Rory McIlroy - No. 2
  • Charles Schwab Challenge: Jason Kokrak - No. 8
  • the Memorial Tournament: Patrick Cantlay - No. 6

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 US Open rankings

You'll see with the rubric that I've listed the top 75, and I will add their current betting odds and DraftKings price.

The US Open is being played this year at a regular Tour stop as host, so we have that advantage in trying to model out the event. Of course, the course is going to be harder and firmer and faster in USGA hands, but we still have a good idea of what should happen.

  1. Schauffele, Xander: 1.85
  2. Morikawa, Collin: 1.837
  3. Rahm, Jon: 1.767
  4. McIlroy, Rory: 1.737
  5. DeChambeau, Bryson: 1.628
  6. Fitzpatrick, Matt: 1.525
  7. Finau, Tony: 1.519
  8. Simpson, Webb: 1.502
  9. Koepka, Brooks: 1.498
  10. Reed, Patrick: 1.497
  11. Cantlay, Patrick: 1.413
  12. Wolff, Matthew: 1.406
  13. Hovland, Viktor: 1.394
  14. Oosthuizen, Louis: 1.365
  15. Johnson, Dustin: 1.339
  16. Casey, Paul: 1.326
  17. Scheffler, Scottie: 1.282
  18. Scott, Adam: 1.261
  19. Thomas, Justin: 1.25
  20. Matsuyama, Hideki: 1.146
  21. Zalatoris, Will: 1.1
  22. English, Harris: 1.044
  23. Kokrak, Jason: 1.025
  24. Rose, Justin: 0.906
  25. Kim, Chan: 0.896
  26. Berger, Daniel: 0.879
  27. Hoffman, Charley: 0.859
  28. Woodland, Gary: 0.839
  29. Ancer, Abraham: 0.837
  30. Bezuidenhout, Christiaan: 0.777
  31. Im, Sungjae: 0.766
  32. Poulter, Ian: 0.757
  33. Niemann, Joaquin: 0.747
  34. Hatton, Tyrrell: 0.732
  35. Streelman, Kevin: 0.732
  36. Burns, Sam: 0.681
  37. Conners, Corey: 0.671
  38. Spieth, Jordan: 0.656
  39. Todd, Brendon: 0.652
  40. Wallace, Matt: 0.613
  41. Henley, Russell: 0.61
  42. Higgo, Garrick: 0.6
  43. Laird, Martin: 0.585
  44. Griffin, Lanto: 0.581
  45. Lowry, Shane: 0.57
  46. Cink, Stewart: 0.536
  47. Horschel, Billy: 0.523
  48. Pendrith, Taylor: 0.5
  49. Fleetwood, Tommy: 0.491
  50. Van Rooyen, Erik: 0.459
  51. Smith, Cameron: 0.421
  52. Nienaber, Wilco: 0.4
  53. Harman, Brian: 0.375
  54. Ortiz, Carlos: 0.346
  55. Vegas, Jhonattan: 0.328
  56. Steele, Brendan: 0.286
  57. Westwood, Lee: 0.28
  58. Reavie, Chez: 0.27
  59. Palmer, Ryan: 0.256
  60. Hadwin, Adam: 0.243
  61. Molinari, Francesco: 0.235
  62. Watson, Bubba: 0.211
  63. Jones, Matt: 0.192
  64. Kisner, Kevin: 0.192
  65. Johnson, Zach: 0.184
  66. Homa, Max: 0.162
  67. Barjon, Paul: 0.139
  68. Mickelson, Phil: 0.135
  69. Hughes, Mackenzie: 0.078
  70. Rodgers, Patrick: 0.062
  71. Garcia, Sergio: 0.043
  72. Detry, Thomas: 0.042
  73. Hoag, Bo: 0.035
  74. Schwartzel, Charl: 0.027
  75. Armitage, Marcus: 0.02

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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