EXTREMELY GAY

That is what the field must have been saying as Brian Gay turned bent them over in Hilton Head this weekend.

It was an incredibly dominant performance out of Gay. He averaged 1.83 standard deviations better than the field per round. Adjusted for strength of field that was -1.91 standard deviations better than the mean.

Here is a rundown of the 0ther winners on the PGA Tour this season and their adjusted z-scores:
Mercedes-Benz Championship: Geoff Ogilvy -1.395 average
Sony Open: Zach Johnson -1.375
Bob Hope Classic: Pat Perez -1.065 (5 rounds)
FBR Open: Kenny Perry -1.118
Buick Invitational: Nick Watney -1.275
ATT Pebble Pro Am: Dustin Johnson -1.727(3 rounds)
Northern Trust Open: Phil Mickelson -1.225
Mayacoba Classic: Mark Wilson -1.260
Honda Classic: YE Yang -1.262
WGC-CA Championship: Phil Mickelson -1.565
Puerto Rico Open: Michael Bradley -1.050
Transitions Championship: Retief Goosen -1.188
Arnold Palmer Invitational: Tiger Woods -1.318
Shell Houston Open: Paul Casey -1.003(Fortunate tee times)
Masters: Angel Cabrera -1.328

You can see Brian Gay was about .6 standard deviations better than any of the other winners so far this season. What does that mean for non statistical people like me?

Assuming the average of 72, and 2.88 standard deviation(approximately the PGA Tour numbers from past 16 months) that comes out to 1.72 strokes per round better than the average PGA Tour winners this season. Over four rounds that is almost 7 shots better than the average PGA Tour winner. Nice.

The best other 4 round performance was Phil at the CA Championship. Gay’s performance adjusted for strength of field was just over 1 stroke per round better than than the next best PGA Tour winner this season.

Maybe that is why I never turned off the TV when Gay had the deal closed.

People always talk about what a golf tournament means without Tiger. When you break it down like this, there is very little chance that Tiger being in the field would have changed the outcome here. Using my most optimistic projections from Tiger’s last season(where he won FIVE of 7 stroke play events) Tiger can only be expected to beat Gay here about 7% of the time. More realistically, Tiger only beats that performance about 3% of the time. We can’t be sure Gay would have beaten Tiger this week, but there is a pretty darn good chance he would have.

Looking back to what many people call Tiger’s most dominant season, 2000, how many times did he outdo Gay’s performance at Harbour Town?

Brian Gay is clearly not a better player than 2000 Tiger. However, his one performance at the Heritage was certainly worthy. Only the 15 shot win by Tiger at the US Open is better. As to how rare this kind of performance is against the field over the past 10 years, talk to me in a month if you really want to know. I just don’t have enough data at the moment to be sure.

What is clear, though, is that this was a pretty special performance from Brian Gay.
-He led the field by three coming into Sunday. So much for the nerves of an overnight lead, as he beat the NEXT BEST SCORE FOR THE DAY by TWO shots.
-He only bogeyed two holes all week. 12 on Sunday. 10 on Friday.
-Gay hit 83% of the fairways to a field average of 68%
-Gay hit 67% of the greens in regulation to a field average of 58%
-Gay scrambled on missed greens 91% of the time against a field average of 62%
-Gay was 6 feet closer to the hole on average after his second shot than the rest of the field.
-Gay took over .3 less strokes per GIR than the field.

Just a dominating performance all around.

This will get nowhere near the play of Tiger’s Bay Hill win in the media this week, but Gay threw out a truly spectacular effort at Harbour Town. I have a feeling this is the kind of win that only happens once every few years.

New WGR’s, with a new feature explained, out tomorrow.

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  1. Pingback: INTRODUCING A NEW METRIC « REXFORD BUZZSAW

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