WATFO: TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP

If you weren’t all golfed out from the US Open, and hungover from celebrating Uruguay’s heroic world cup victory it sounds like the end to the Traveler’s Championship was quite exciting. Thanks to a new simulation(with help from XLS Sports) I took a look at the closing stretch of the Traveler’s Championship.

I didn’t actually watch this, so the groupings might be a little off, but I started with the final pairing on 15 and went back from there.

To start things off, Rose and Curtis have walked onto the 15th tee and Corey Pavin is playing his last hole. The Leaderboard, would look like this:

Player (to par) thru hole #
Bubba Watson (-15) 16
Verplank (-14) F
Pavin (-14) 17
Rose (-14) 14

After 500 simulations, here are the chances of winning:

PLAYER WIN REG WIN PLAY PLAYOFF TOTAL
Bubba Watson 43.60% 13.20% 30.00% 56.80%
Justin Rose 18.00% 8.20% 20.40% 26.20%
Corey Pavin 4.20% 7.00% 19.80% 11.20%
Scott Verplank 0.20% 3.60% 13.20% 3.80%
Ben Curtis 1.20% 0.80% 3.40% 2.00%
Ricky Barnes 0.00% 0.20% 0.20% 0.20%

Now, just one hole later it get’s interesting. Watson and Rose completely butcher the 17th and 15th holes, respectively. Pavin makes a par on 18 and ties for the clubhouse lead. Now it looks more like this:

PLAYER WIN REG WIN PLAY PLAYOFF TOTAL
Scott Verplank 0.00% 46.20% 98.20% 46.20%
Corey Pavin 0.00% 42.00% 98.20% 42.00%
Bubba Watson 1.00% 6.20% 20.00% 7.20%
Ben Curtis 0.40% 2.40% 7.00% 2.80%
Justin Rose 0.60% 1.40% 5.60% 2.00%

As you can see, Watson and Rose, who had an 83% chance of winning before holes 15 and 17 are now down to 9.2%. Pavin and Verplank who before were about 1 in 5 to make a playoff are now over 98% to make it to a playoff. Then, Bubba birdies the last to tie:

PLAYER WIN REG WIN PLAY PLAYOFF TOTAL
Bubba Watson 0.00% 31.80% 100.00% 31.80%
Corey Pavin 0.00% 32.00% 100.00% 32.00%
Scott Verplank 0.00% 36.20% 100.00% 36.20%
Justin Rose 0.00% 0.00% 0.20% 0.00%

Bubba’s birdie guarantees a playoff. My simulation is slightly high on eagles happening, so Rose making a playoff 1 out of 500 times is probably too big. To be honest, it’s probably about 1 in 500 of Rose making eagle at 17, then 1 in 5 or 6 that he makes birdie on 18, so his odds of making a playoff are much higher at this point. Once Rose makes par at 17, the outcome is set. Verplank, Pavin and Bubba are going to a playoff. After 500 more simulations, the playoff odds look like this:

PLAYER WIN REG WIN PLAY PLAYOFF TOTAL
Bubba Watson 0.00% 34.30% 100.00% 34.30%
Scott Verplank 0.00% 33.60% 100.00% 33.60%
Corey Pavin 0.00% 32.10% 100.00% 32.10%

Overall, Verplank is the best player(by a hair over Bubba) but one hole of golf offers enough variance that Bubba is more likely to win. Honestly, it’s not much of a difference at this point. After the first hole, Bubba and Verplank are still tied:

PLAYER WIN REG WIN PLAY PLAYOFF TOTAL
Scott Verplank 0.00% 52.70% 100.00% 52.70%
Bubba Watson 0.00% 47.30% 100.00% 47.30%

Bubba obviously won this coin flip with a third straight birdie and took home the title, but it was not an easy final few holes.

All in all, I think this worked pretty well aside from the fact this puts eagles at about 1 in 200 when they should be more like 1 in 500, I think. Other than that, I’m very pleased and will bring this new method back in a live fashion when I’m around.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “WATFO: TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP

  1. rolub

    Not that it matters, but Bubba made par on the 2nd playoff hole; Verplank missed the green on his tee shot and tried putting over approximately 5 yards of fringe/apron, uphill, and on a slant. Obviously, bad things happen when you try that, even to pros. Left him with a long putt to save par and couldn’t, while Bubba put his 40+ish foot birdie putt within 3 feet for a makeable par.

    • Thanks you’re right. Thought they replayed 18 on the second playoff hole, guess it was a par 3. Doesn’t think it affects the odds, I’m just a moron for writing about something I didn’t watch.

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