Els v. Couples
There seems to be this emerging school of thought Fred Couples is a favorite for the Masters. This is preposterous. I have Couples as the 60th best player in the world based on PGA Tour rounds. Obviously, he has dominated the Senior Tour, but there has to be a HUGE adjustment to equate those rounds to a PGA Tour event.
Couples could win the Masters, but it’s important to remember that golfers 1-59 will be in the field with him. I don’t think there is a better than 200-1 chance that it happens.
Els, on the other hand, could be considered a legitimate threat. I have him 12th in the world, but more importantly that puts him in a tier of players that isn’t Tiger Woods, isn’t Furyk, Stricker or Mickelson, but is right there after that. Els might be 1 in 40 to win at Augusta, which puts him among the best players, but makes him far from the favorite.
Another point about Els, is he seems to have turned the corner on putting, making everything this week. If you’re counting on that to continue, I wouldn’t. First, the greens at Bay Hill were flattened during the re-do; Augusta’s, however, were not. Second, this reminds me of Phil who magically turned around his putting with Dave Stockton late last year and made everything for a few weeks. Then, it stopped, and Phil has been pretty overrated based on his marginal results so far this year.
-I’m glad I took Allenby without Woods last week before he dropped back down to 50-1. Call it a gut feeling that I can’t explain, but something about Allenby strikes me as the 2010 version of Kenny Perry. I just hope when he falls apart and bogeys the last four holes, he loses to Woods in the playoff.
-Tom Watson. 375-1??? That seems like a stretch. Especially considering you can get him at 2000-1 to win the British Open where he finished SECOND last year. One in 400 might appear to be good odds, but the average of players that are not regular tour members puts them closer to 10,000-1 to win. Maybe Watson is better, but I’m not buying it based on the British Open and one good showing on the Euro Tour.
-No one is talking about Sergio Garcia, at all. Crap.
-Other ideas include Na, Hurricane Steve and AK, but I don’t see any reason to act now.
Funniest thing I read online this week
It’s a toss-up between the nonsense in this article, which literally had 0 substantive points in it, this poll, pointed about by 17483 over at C-ville or reading this about Alex Prugh:
you hate to yell at a rookie that started the year on fire, but Prugh is currently in that uh-oh area for young professionals. After starting the year making six of six cuts, Prugh missed his third cut in a row at Bay Hill, playing the last six rounds of golfer 13-over par.
Or, he’s a slightly above average player who had a few good weeks in a row and was due to miss some cuts at some point. Either one. It cracked me up that Alex Prugh was a player that 99% of people had never heard of coming into this season, now people are bashing him when he misses a cut.
Numbers from my rankings
Ernie Els(19 to 12), Edoardo Molinari (252 to 206), Chris Couch(177 to 125), Kevin Na (45 to 37), Louis Oosthuizen(105 to 86)
I bring up this group of players for one reason: I have constantly discounted recent performance in my mind, but my rankings do give some bonus to playing well last week. Of course it’s small, and in most cases worth only fractions of a shot per round. Also, and this is important, the players aren’t getting a bonus for playing well last week, their getting a bonus because last week’s good play gives us a more accurate picture of their overall ability in the past 2 years.
I’m way too low on Molinari, because I haven’t factored in his dominance of the European JV Tour last year. Keep that in mind before you make any judgments on him. Couch made a big jump, but had under 70 rounds so it’s not like we have as complete picture of him as some other golfers.
Major winners you might not expect
I was thinking about this as part of my Marino Mania planning. I doubt these will be my actual picks for the contest, but here were my ideas.
Masters: Robert Allenby
US Open: Luke Donald
British Open: Alex Noren
PGA Championship: Steve Marino
Northern California PGA Tour Member-Guest Championship: Mitch Lowe.
A little random, but who knows?
File this under huge estimation, but I tried to adjust Couples based on his senior tour dominance. To do that, I took the 14 players in last week’s senior field that had 20+ rounds on major tours in the past two years, calculated their senior tour averages for this season and compared that to their two year rankings.
The average player was about .85 standard deviations better on the senior tour, which equates to around two and a half shots. I added in Couples senior play to my rankings and came up with an adjustment. He doesn’t have that many regular rounds(61) and he has been quite dominant so he got a huge bonus, but he still only gained around .2 shots.
Ernie Els has won his last two starts, so I’m obviously looking to go against him. Couples’ senior dominance must have white middle aged America very excited right now, I think he is way overpriced this week. Sadly, J.B. Holmes(working with Dave Stockton!) isn’t in the field, because he finished in a playoff last year with Casey and is playing way over his head so far this year.
It was pretty hard to find someone that I outright liked this week, but looking at the match-ups Phil is undervalued. It’s hilarious how Phil had one sleeve in the Green Jacket following a nice round on Friday, now with a terrible weekend he can’t play anymore. I’m not sure I follow that logic.
Anyway, Phil v. Els, Phil v. Casey, Trahan v. Couples and Love III v. Couples is what I came up with. Prices are posted here.
Na and Marino contending last week takes away two of my automatic looks after that. With those two out, I don’t think the options are nearly as exciting.
Aaron Baddeley has played like garbage this season, but 400-1 is intriguing. Baird and Goggin are undervalued as always, but those two clowns don’t seem like they will ever win. Throw Pampling and Sutherland in that group as well. If you’re looking for a Euro, Chris Wood isn’t getting nearly the attention that he would if this event was played on the other side of the pond. I’d add in Merrick and Westwood, whose price is out of line with other headliners as people I thought about.