Monthly Archives: September 2010

BREAKING DOWN FRIDAY FOURBALLS IN THE 2010 RYDER CUP

Match 1: Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson USA v. Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood EURO
There is without a doubt some benefit to playing at home, at least the books are accounting for that, which probably means Martin Kaymer is the best player in this match. His 2010 season, is only fractionally worse than Phil and among the top 10 in the world. Westwood would probably be close to the best player in this Ryder Cup, if he was healthy. It’s safe to assume he will not be 100-percent, but that doesn’t mean he can’t win a few points if he gets lucky.

Mickelson and Johnson make for an interesting fourball pairing, because they tend to play really well or relatively poorly compared to players of their skill. That means you could see a lot of birdies and a lot of bogeys. My sims keep showing that the importance of being able to make birdies and eagles is more valuable in best ball than consistently playing better. That should give the US an advantage in this one if it is the case.

PINNY ODDS

Mickelson/DJ +137
Westwood/Kaymer +110
Tie +518

MY SIM

Mickelson/DJ 48.42% 107
Kaymer/Westwood 38.84% 157
Tie 12.75% 684
Mickelson/DJ  Win only 55.49% -125
Kaymer/Westwood  Win only 44.51% 125

VERDICT: I think my sim slightly overstates the US case for winning this match, because of high standard deviations from Mickelson and Johnson and a pretty low one from Kaymer. Also, overall, I think the adjustment I made for Westwood is good–I’ll update in comments with no adjustment–but it appears that in this case people believe Westwood is going to be close to 100%. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the US is slight value here.

Match 2: Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar USA v. Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell EURO
Truly some match play strategy genius from Corey Pavin here. Of course, since two people went to the same school–at different times–they are guaranteed to be best friends. Cink has literally done nothing since winning the British Open in 2008 and I wonder if he would even be on the team if Pavin thought along the lines of, “will Stewart Cink who is only getting older and hasn’t done anything in a year and a half look like a good Captain’s pick in ten years?” Of course, we now know, Pavin wasn’t thinking along any lines.

Kuchar is certainly a stalwart of the US team right now, but he didn’t get much help as a partner.

On the other side of the match, McIlroy is still woefully overrated. He’s a great player and he’s very young. But, he hasn’t been close to Tiger at his age, and hasn’t been as good yet as comparable, though a few years older, Martin Kaymer. He has the balls to challenge Tiger, though. McDowell, is coming off the US Open win and golf writers always go nuts over same country pairings, though it’s doubtful that really matters. Euros are definitely the stronger of the two teams here.

PINNY
Kuchar/Cink +200
Rory/G-Mac -128
Tie +535

MY SIM

Cink/Kuchar 34.83% 187
Rory/G-Mac 51.84% -108
Tie 13.33% 650
Cink/Kuchar  Win only 40.18% 149
Rory/G-Mac Win only 59.82% -149

VERDICT: McIlroy and McDowell at home will probably be an overrated team. This should be the case tomorrow, but it’s unfortunate that the US couldn’t counter with Kuchar and Mahan here. I’d lean to the US.


Match 3: Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker USA v. Ross Fisher, Ian Poulter EURO

Given that the Euro’s played 8 out of their best 9, this really is another fantastic break for them. This European team is probably the weakest for tomorrow going up against the US’s best. Before last year’s President’s Cup, I looked at the best way to deal with one really strong team. It seemed that throwing out one sacrificial lamb, and improving your chances in three other matches is the way to go.

In the Ryder Cup, this is all luck of the draw, but as it stands, Fisher and Poulter should have a fighting chance with some home-field advantage, and the Euro’s come out looking a lot better in the rest of the matches.

Stricker and Woods are easily the US’ best duo, and should play all four team matches together, but god knows what will happen.

PINNY
Woods/Stricker -116
Poulter/Fisher +185
Tie +522

MY SIM:

Woods/Stricker 45.36% 120
Poulter/Fisher 41.54% 141
Tie 13.10% 663
Woods/Stricker  Win only 52.19% -109
Poulter/Fisher  Win only 47.81% 109

VERDICT: Usually the value on a match like this would be against the big name team.  To be honest, I’m not sure what’s up with this one. Are Tiger and Stricker immune for the home-field advantage that the rest of the team is penalized for? I can certainly see, where the Woods-Stricker line is fair on a neutral surface, but none of the other matches are being treated that way. I’m not sure what to do with this one.

Match 4: Bubba Watson, Jeff Overton USA v. Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington EURO
This is pretty much a disaster for the US team. Let’s go back to the question, “In ten years will Watson and Overton and look like good members of this team?” I’ll answer that, NO. Watson is probably on the edge of making another Ryder Cup team. For Overton, I’d say it’s pretty unlikely he ever plays on another Ryder Cup team. In ten years, we will laugh that Watney, O’Hair and possibly Kim (injured, but still) were overlooked or didn’t make the team to Watson, Fowler, Overton and Cink.

Donald and Harrington is arguably the Euro’s strongest team with tons of experience and playing well. They are rightfully big favorites in this one.

VEGAS
Watson/Overton +234
Donald/Harrington -147
Tie +547

MY SIMS

Watson/Overton 38.18% 162
Donald/Harrington 48.33% 107
Tie 13.49% 641
Watson/Overton  Win only 44.13% 127
Donald/Harrington Win only 55.87% -12

VERDICT: I’m not sure who wants a piece of Overton and Watson here, and that includes me. If they were unpopular because they were underrated then that’s one thing. The problem is I think Overton and Watson are OVERrated. Both are having career years, and in Overton’s case it seems to be extremely fluky (he’s made an obscene amount of 25-foot or longer putts). Donald and Harrington, on the other hand, have pretty much consistently been strong, but haven’t been able to convert that to wins, which leaves them less overrated than others on Euro team.

My numbers are high on Watson and Overton because of the standard deviation issue. They appear to be more likely to make birdies but also more erratic. My sims says that’s an advantage in best ball. Is that true, or is it true that more inconsistent players from round to round are more inconsistent overall, I don’t know. I’m not sure, but everyone knows Watson and Overton are rookies, who are among the worst on the team going against Euro stalwarts. Probably an edge to US here.

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RYDER CUP STRATEGY PART II

It’s incredibly difficult to come up with an estimation of what factor paying a lot and little have because of all the changing factors. So, I toyed with some numbers and came up with some values for each.

Based on what I did yesterday a player in his second round of the day is about .1 stroke worse per round. For the fourth and fifth sessions it turns into around .3. There also appeared to be a disadvantage to playing four matches in a Ryder Cup. If that was the case I added .1 to a players score for singles. Finally there seems to be a disadvantage to not playing a lot too. If a player waited until singles for his debut I added .3*, and .1 if singles was only his second match.

*The only three players to do this were Coltart, Van de Velde and Sandelin in 99. They all lost on Sunday though they faced Tiger, Mickelson and Davis Love, so they were definitely big underdogs in that match.

The data is so hard to get accurate, but it makes sense that players who play one round a day, which they basically do at every other tournament, fare the best comparatively. It will be interesting to see what the books come out with for odds based on how much people have played to see where these guesses are.

US STRATEGY
This makes the US strategy alarmingly boring. Quite Frankly, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Stewart Cink and Jeff Overton are just not in the same class as the other eight. As I alluded to earlier, there are a few American players that would make it interesting and play once a day and really have eight guys rolling into Sunday.

You could have a POD! system where Stricker, Woods, Mickelson and Furyk play all 5, because any penalty they take for playing a lot still leaves them above most players, then rotate in a group of DJ, ZJ, Kim, Mahan, O’Hair, Watney, Kuchar and Steve Marino each playing one match per day and have a pretty powerful Sunday team.

Instead, the US is basically in a situation where, they have to ride their strongest horses and play with everyone either tired by Saturday afternoon or not having played at all.

So, it’s simple for the US:

First Four Sessions:
Tiger
Stricker
Furyk
Dustin Johnson
Phil
Zach Johnson
Mahan
Kuchar

EUROPEAN
Europe is much more intersting. They have a lot more interchangeable parts.

First, I added .5 strokes per round to Westwood’s average. He certainly won’t be dead this week, but he won’t be at the peak of his form. Guys that are “injured” are definitely underrated, but they aren’t at full strength, either.

There top eight players are:
Kaymer
Donald
Westwood
Harrington
F Molinari
McIlroy
Poulter
McDowell

Considering those listed above would be playing a second match of the day, Peter Hanson moves into the top-8 and Ross Fisher is so close that he is probably worth playing. For the third session run those top-8 out again.

Now with the bigger penalty that playing the third match has shown, It gets a little more interesting. Fisher and Hanson definitely get thrown into the mix in place of Westwood and Molinari who would be playing their fourth match each.

Poulter would be sitting on the last spot about a tenth of a stroke better than Edoardo Molinari. So, the choice are Poulter playing three matches in three days or Edoardo Molinari, slightly worse on Saturday, but having less of a penalty on Sunday for already getting on the course. As it turns out, using the bonus system I set out above the euros are about a tenth of a shot better overall if they use Molinari once and save Poulter. I like Miguel Angel Jimenez as much as the next guy, but he is certainly the odd man out on this team.

Euro’s best strategy is as follows:
5 Matches:
Donald
Harrington
Kaymer
McIlroy

4 Matches:
F Molinari
Westwood

3 Matches:
Hanson
Fisher
McDowell
Poulter

2 Matches:
E Molinari

1 Match:
Miguel Angel Jimenez

In comparison, the Euros are only about .15 strokes worse than average on Sunday if they go for this plan, while the Americans are a full .3.

Of course there is a 0% chance that this strategy gets used be either captain. For one, Mark James in 1999 pretty much executed the American strategy I outlined and rode his 7 best horses hard for 3 days and didn’t let Van de Velde, Jarmo Sandelin or Andrew Coltart out of their cages until Sunday. This was literally a perfect strategy and it paid off, as his weaker squad had a lead on the road over an American team of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Davis Love and David Duval in his prime.

On Sunday, even though his pairning lined up perfectly as his sacrificial lambs matched up against the American’s best players. This meant the Euro’s needed only to get four points out of nine matches with a much more even playing field and a slight chance that their weaker players could get something. Of course, on that Sunday nothing went right for the Europeans and that strategy was banished to become a punch line of awful strategy.

The other thing is, this strategy will maximize points over 1000 or more rounds. Obviously that still makes it the best for one Ryder Cup, but there is a ton of variance for one single match. Rickie Fowler is without a doubt the worst player on the US team, but given the right circumstances there could be a one-in-five chance he sweeps two matches.

I did this kind of quickly last night, if anyone thinks they can make a better team given the same parameters feel free to try it in the comments. There is a good chance I overlooked something.

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THE EFFECT OF REST IN THE RYDER CUP

Ever since Paul Azinger tweeted that players with 5 matches lose 80% of the time in singles—I still don’t know where he came up with this—I wanted to take a look at what effect playing lots of matches has on a Ryder Cup record. So, I went back and looked at all the matches since1999 at Brookline.
Let’s start with the issue of playing twice in one day. Players that have played twice in one day record breaks down like this:

First Match: 50-32-19; + 51 (W-L-T; Hole differential)
Second Match: 39-35-28; +11

But, it’s important to take these stats into context. Players that are the best on the team tend to do the double. So, it’s not terribly surprising that they have a great first match record. The second match record is pretty surprising, and a lot worse. Let’s break it down even further among players with two matches.

Fri First Match: 26-18-10; +29
Fri Second Match: 21-18-15; +18
Sat First Match: 24-14-9; +22
Sat Second Match: 18-17-13; -7

Wow. So, there hasn’t appeared to be much effect on Friday (could probably be explained by randomness or sometimes having a weaker partner in the afternoon). But, Saturday is a whole different story. That second match on Saturday, appears to be a lot worse.
If you break it down even further, since 1999 32 players have played in all four team matches. Here is their record by session:

Fri First: 19-10-3; +28
Fri Second: 16-7-9; +22
Sat First: 18-9-5; +19
Sat Second: 14-10-8; +2
Singles: 14-13-5; -1

There is definitely a noticeable drop off after the third session. So, let’s slice it a few other ways. Do players that only play once or not at all on Friday see the same decline on Saturday afternoon. Fourteen players have done this, only one—Jerry Pate in 99, who played with Tiger—has played no matches on Friday and gone on to play two on Saturday. Here’s their record by session

Fri First: 0-0-0; N/A
Fri Second: 2-1-2; +4
Sat First: 6-4-4; +7
Sat Second: 3-7-4; -11
Sunday: 8-4-3; -11

So it seems that these players are equally as responsible for the drop off in play on Saturday afternoon. The one other thing would be to check the record of players whose first match on Saturday is in the afternoon. They are 12-9-11; +11. Players who played twice Friday, then rested on Saturday morning have an obscenely high tie rate, but I’m not sure that means anything. They were 1-2-7; -2. Players who played just once on Friday then Saturday afternoon were, 11-7-4; +13. Here is the session by session break down:

Fri First: 1-10-5; -21
Fri Second: 3-11-10; -24
Sat First: 0-0-0; N/A
Sat Second: 12-9-11; +11
Sunday: 12-13-6; +3

Rest does appear to have some advantage here. Additionally, players who wait until Saturday to make their debut are only 0-1-1; -1. That includes Vaughn Taylor who halved in 2002 and Jesper Parnevik who lost one down in 2006.
So, what does this all mean?

First, it’s important to note that the small sample size could make this pretty meaningless.

Still, the team might be more important than I thought. That makes Captain’s picks like Fowler and Cink even more brutal. It seems for the first three sessions any team is best off just using their best eight players. In the fourth the session, and singles, there probably is some benefit to being able to replace players.

For Tiger/Stricker/Furyk, this probably isn’t a big deal. There is almost certainly no combination of players who even when they are tired will be better. For your more mediocre players in relation to the team, like maybe Kuchar or Phil and Mahan, Zach and Dustin, there probably is a huge benefit to having similarly skilled players like Watney and O’Hair fill in for them at one match on Saturday (Oh, they aren’t on the team). This could be a huge benefit for Europe’s team. They only have one player who shouldn’t be there (E Molinari), while the US has Overton, Watson, Fowler and Cink.

Finally what is this worth?

Here are a few charts showing how a player fared in hole differential per match by session:

Situation HPM Diff
Second match on Fri -0.230
Second match on Sat -0.573
First on Sat after 2 Fri -0.043
Singles After HPM Diff
Four Prior Matches -0.530
Three Prior Matches 0.529
Two Prior Matches 0.960
One Prior Match -0.571

Tomorrow: I’ll work on some adjustments for matches played and come up with a strategy for each team.

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UPDATED FED EX ODDS: TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 2

I should just start calling these how to have content, without actually writing anything.

PLAYER Average Points win avg rank
Paul Casey 2592.3 24.61% 4.34
Matt Kuchar 2894.8 15.80% 2.08
Luke Donald 2105.0 12.96% 6.35
Jim Furyk 1427.0 10.19% 10.07
Geoff Ogilvy 1331.5 8.77% 10.83
Phil Mickelson 1289.1 7.15% 10.66
Dustin Johnson 2591.3 3.55% 3.34
Charley Hoffman 2371.7 3.12% 4.41
Jason Day 1872.3 3.09% 7.17
Steve Stricker 2181.7 2.41% 5.47
Hunter Mahan 943.8 2.31% 14.29
Ernie Els 1413.3 1.70% 9.33
Kevin Na 809.0 1.36% 17.93
Retief Goosen 790.1 1.07% 17.07
K.J. Choi 790.5 1.01% 18.68
Tim Clark 733.4 0.73% 19.25
Ryan Moore 668.1 0.35% 22.45
Ben Crane 648.1 0.28% 21.48
Robert Allenby 649.1 0.16% 22.64
Justin Rose 717.8 0.15% 16.73
Zach Johnson 624.3 0.14% 21.48
Nick Watney 649.4 0.12% 22.91
Adam Scott 689.6 0.12% 17.67
Ryan Palmer 634.9 0.09% 20.00
Camilo Villegas 571.3 0.08% 24.42
Bubba Watson 600.4 0.05% 21.82
Kevin Streelman 565.7 0.03% 25.48
Jeff Overton 524.1 0.02% 26.18
Martin Laird 1033.8 0.01% 11.60
Bo Van Pelt 487.1 0.00% 28.00

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TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP FED EX CUP ODDS PROJECTIONS

PLAYER Average Points win avg rank top- 3%
Matt Kuchar 3039.8 28.44% 2.0 97.42%
Steve Stricker 2558.7 17.44% 4.1 29.53%
Dustin Johnson 2747.7 11.26% 3.0 68.61%
Paul Casey 2150.7 7.69% 5.5 13.14%
Charley Hoffman 2409.9 5.33% 4.2 15.37%
Phil Mickelson 1223.3 5.17% 11.2 7.80%
Jim Furyk 1105.9 3.62% 12.6 7.06%
Ernie Els 1478.0 3.30% 9.0 4.48%
Luke Donald 1678.6 2.97% 7.9 5.47%
Jason Day 1801.2 2.46% 7.1 4.66%
Geoff Ogilvy 931.8 1.80% 14.4 3.51%
Retief Goosen 867.4 1.58% 16.9 4.32%
Hunter Mahan 869.5 1.48% 16.0 3.20%
Zach Johnson 814.9 1.24% 18.5 3.96%
Justin Rose 839.5 1.16% 15.9 2.37%
Kevin Na 743.5 0.85% 20.1 2.79%
Adam Scott 793.9 0.84% 16.8 1.77%
Bubba Watson 739.1 0.72% 19.3 2.04%
Tim Clark 730.3 0.70% 20.3 2.42%
Ben Crane 682.7 0.44% 21.5 1.76%
Ryan Palmer 698.6 0.44% 19.4 1.06%
Camilo Villegas 691.0 0.40% 22.1 2.48%
Martin Laird 1086.7 0.35% 11.3 0.45%
K.J. Choi 649.6 0.34% 22.5 1.40%
Jeff Overton 640.3 0.33% 23.2 1.61%
Ryan Moore 652.4 0.29% 23.6 2.37%
Robert Allenby 709.4 0.24% 22.1 3.09%
Nick Watney 714.8 0.19% 22.3 3.52%
Kevin Streelman 543.1 0.02% 26.6 0.93%
Bo Van Pelt 607.5 0.02% 25.0 1.90%

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WHAT IF THE FEDEX CUP WAS DONE BY SCORING AVERAGE?

With Tiger finishing 43rd, I wondered how different it might have been if scoring average in relation to the field was used by the PGA Tour for the Fed Ex Cup instead of their phony points system.

I used my rankings and weighted them similarly to the PGA Tour. For example, a playoff event is worth five times as much as an average tournament, a major is double and the Tour Championship is effectively half the season. So, if I was to wait until next week the ranking would be 50-percent Tour Championship, 36.3-percent regular season(with Majors counted twice) and 13.6 percent playoffs.

So, with those weights, I got this ranking among players who played at least 30 rounds during the regular season:

PLAYER REG SEA PLAYOFFS ROUNDS AVG
Phil Mickelson -0.726 -0.235 78 -0.264
Ernie Els -0.663 -0.252 68 -0.241
Matt Kuchar -0.655 -1.057 89 -0.238
Steve Stricker -0.599 -0.966 72 -0.218
Paul Casey -0.579 -0.766 56 -0.211
Tiger Woods -0.547 -0.625 49 -0.199
Rory McIlroy -0.545 -0.033 52 -0.198
Dustin Johnson -0.542 -0.620 82 -0.197
J.B. Holmes -0.528 -0.288 86 -0.192
Retief Goosen -0.508 -0.618 71 -0.185
Bubba Watson -0.506 -0.263 67 -0.184
Nick Watney -0.501 -0.272 84 -0.182
Anthony Kim -0.494 0.488 42 -0.180
Jim Furyk -0.483 -0.384 74 -0.176
K.J. Choi -0.468 -0.332 82 -0.170
Bo Van Pelt -0.464 -0.142 94 -0.169
Robert Allenby -0.449 -0.167 66 -0.163
Sean O’Hair -0.447 0.100 79 -0.162
Luke Donald -0.430 -0.941 64 -0.156
Justin Rose -0.404 -0.420 68 -0.147
Ben Crane -0.398 -0.103 80 -0.145
Bryce Molder -0.396 0.053 74 -0.144
Hunter Mahan -0.389 -0.344 78 -0.142
Adam Scott -0.383 -0.890 66 -0.139
Tim Clark -0.380 -0.250 79 -0.138
Padraig Harrington -0.376 0.147 60 -0.137
Camilo Villegas -0.365 -0.046 72 -0.133
Steve Elkington -0.355 0.592 70 -0.129
Ricky Barnes -0.351 0.352 99 -0.128
Shaun Micheel -0.340 0.840 60 -0.124
Jeff Overton -0.324 0.268 83 -0.118
Fredrik Jacobson -0.319 0.057 67 -0.116
Heath Slocum -0.317 -0.109 87 -0.115
Brendon de Jonge -0.312 0.098 100 -0.113
Stewart Cink -0.312 -0.533 78 -0.113
Bill Haas -0.306 -0.403 75 -0.111
Jason Day -0.302 -0.727 74 -0.110
Brandt Snedeker -0.298 -0.371 87 -0.108
Ryan Moore -0.296 -0.289 79 -0.108
David Toms -0.282 -0.179 79 -0.103
Lucas Glover -0.281 0.358 80 -0.102
Charles Howell III -0.264 0.273 85 -0.096
Kevin Na -0.249 -0.486 85 -0.090
Carl Pettersson -0.248 0.470 89 -0.090
Zach Johnson -0.243 -0.605 87 -0.088
Kenny Perry -0.243 0.414 76 -0.088
Rickie Fowler -0.240 -0.153 82 -0.087
Jason Bohn -0.239 0.316 68 -0.087
Geoff Ogilvy -0.235 -0.543 56 -0.085
Vijay Singh -0.233 -0.338 74 -0.085
Angel Cabrera -0.229 -0.133 63 -0.083
Charley Hoffman -0.212 -0.767 67 -0.077
Pat Perez -0.205 0.439 68 -0.075
Steve Marino -0.199 -0.086 79 -0.072
Charlie Wi -0.198 -0.734 69 -0.072
Kevin Sutherland -0.197 0.119 72 -0.072
Y.E. Yang -0.196 0.034 70 -0.071
Scott Verplank -0.193 0.557 78 -0.070
Stephen Ames -0.191 0.104 63 -0.069
D.J. Trahan -0.191 -0.210 74 -0.069
Justin Leonard -0.189 -0.187 78 -0.069
Spencer Levin -0.189 0.388 88 -0.069
D.A. Points -0.188 0.182 80 -0.068
Chris Riley -0.187 0.569 57 -0.068
Tom Gillis -0.184 -0.485 75 -0.067
John Rollins -0.183 0.141 71 -0.067
Matt Jones -0.161 -0.155 73 -0.058
Vaughn Taylor -0.157 -0.378 71 -0.057
Greg Chalmers -0.152 -0.434 75 -0.055
Jason Dufner -0.147 0.040 91 -0.054
Chad Collins -0.135 0.396 77 -0.049
Jonathan Byrd -0.128 0.160 65 -0.047
Ben Curtis -0.124 0.518 72 -0.045
Marc Leishman -0.117 -0.298 83 -0.042
Briny Baird -0.107 0.142 69 -0.039
Davis Love III -0.106 -0.070 69 -0.038
Boo Weekley -0.105 0.390 80 -0.038
Chris Couch -0.104 -0.053 58 -0.038
J.P. Hayes -0.103 -0.049 61 -0.038
Chad Campbell -0.099 0.445 82 -0.036
J.J. Henry -0.096 0.593 88 -0.035
Dean Wilson -0.090 0.142 36 -0.033
John Senden -0.087 -0.386 85 -0.032
Brian Gay -0.084 -0.259 83 -0.031
Stuart Appleby -0.075 0.046 91 -0.027
Blake Adams -0.075 0.726 60 -0.027
Tim Petrovic -0.072 -0.240 79 -0.026
Troy Matteson -0.069 0.253 68 -0.025
Garrett Willis -0.069 0.789 68 -0.025
Ryuji Imada -0.067 -0.175 70 -0.025
Jimmy Walker -0.052 0.276 74 -0.019
Alex Prugh -0.051 0.577 76 -0.018
Andres Romero -0.050 -0.085 53 -0.018
Ryan Palmer -0.048 -0.634 66 -0.017
Ian Poulter -0.047 -0.570 52 -0.017
Jerry Kelly -0.046 0.861 89 -0.017
Alex Cejka -0.045 0.872 77 -0.016
Webb Simpson -0.042 0.288 74 -0.015
Rory Sabbatini -0.019 -0.174 66 -0.007
John Merrick -0.015 0.422 95 -0.006
Kevin Streelman -0.015 -0.337 70 -0.006
Michael Sim -0.012 -0.430 57 -0.004
Aaron Baddeley -0.001 0.245 70 0.000
Martin Laird -0.001 -0.668 77 0.000
Bob Estes 0.007 0.484 67 0.002
Graham Delaet 0.016 1.049 70 0.006
Kevin Stadler 0.031 1.049 72 0.011
Joe Ogilvie 0.031 1.745 85 0.011
Kris Blanks 0.034 0.193 77 0.012
Brian Davis 0.039 0.006 79 0.014
Woody Austin 0.043 0.484 75 0.016
Michael Letzig 0.045 0.319 65 0.016
Jeff Maggert 0.058 2.947 61 0.021
Josh Teater 0.070 -0.103 81 0.025
Paul Goydos 0.074 0.577 72 0.027
Scott Piercy 0.091 0.187 66 0.033
Nathan Green 0.110 1.260 76 0.040
Matt Bettencourt 0.147 1.237 83 0.054
Bill Lunde 0.196 1.425 71 0.071
Robert Garrigus 0.196 0.063 51 0.071
Derek Lamely 0.218 0.484 73 0.079
David Duval 0.225 0.374 63 0.082
Cameron Beckman 0.288 0.142 56 0.105

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RYDER CUP MYTHS

THE US IS THE WEAKER TEAM
Admittedly, I have no idea how to account for any advantage the European crowds may give Europe, but there is not possible way that in a neutral environment the US Team is weaker. They have Stricker, Furyk, Mickelson, Kuchar and Woods.

If you factor in how AK has played coming off injury (and apply that to Westwood if he plays), and how Tiger has turned it around in his last 4 events, the US will almost assuredly have the best FIVE players going into this event. After that, Fowler and Cink and Watson are probably the weakest in Wales, but not by so much that it should be a huge factor especially if Pavin is wise and doesn’t play them a lot.

Home crowds might inspire the Euros, but short of the US playing holes that are 30 yards longer, they should be favorites to win the Ryder Cup.

PLAYING 5 MATCHES IS TOO MUCH
Paul Azinger tweeted today that he thought it was right of Pavin not to play Woods in 5 matches because, players in there “fifth match historically lose 80% of the time.”

I’m not sure where he got that number and I only went back to 2002, but that number seems off. Since 2002, players playing in their 5th match are 10-7-6 in singles play. That seems pretty standard to me since players that play 5 matches are generally the best players. (Every American Captain has figured out that they need to play Tiger 5 times).

Does fatigue have an effect? Maybe, but walking 18 holes of golf isn’t exactly going 15 rounds in a boxing ring. I would guess that players in their fifth match are slightly worse than being “fresh,” but thats easily offset by the fact that most of their opponents have played more golf than they are accustomed to and the advantage of course knowledge that comes from playing more competitive rounds on a course.

CAPTAINS PICKS REALLY MATTER
To be clear, Rickie Fowler and Edoardo Molinari were terrible choices for the Ryder Cup team. They in no way match the pedigree of better players on either side of the Atlantic who could have been selected. Will it really make a difference come Ryder Cup week? Not that you will probably notice.

The biggest factors in earning points in Wales will not be overall skill, but things like luck and good variance. I can predict reasonably well who will be better over the next 1000 rounds. No one can predict who will have good round very accurately.

PAUL AZINGER WAS A GREAT CAPTAIN
Every time I criticize Paul Azinger a few idiots seem to find the site and make the “but Azinger won” argument. Great.

He still made poor captain’s picks. Used his team inefficiently, created a horrendous point system and got a lot of credit for his players having a good week. Congratulations to the US team for winning last time out, but I’d rather have O’Hair, Watney and Woods qualify on automatic points like they should have.

Obviously, I’ll have much more Ryder Cup stuff up in the next few weeks.

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