Monthly Archives: March 2011

2011 SHELL HOUSTON OPEN

Nick Watney or any other Masters winners

I got a request to talk about Nick Watney and winning the Masters, but it really applies to all. Watney is a young player, playing well, with the confidence of winning, and probably has an upside. Everyone knows this. It probably makes him better than just my flat two year ranking at the moment, but the books know this, and more importantly people know this. Watney looks like a surprise winner of the Masters right now. The problem is, you’re going to pay for it. I’m sure Watney will get a bonus in my adjusted rankings next week, but I’m sure it won’t be enough to make it a good price unless you can find him at some rogue price. Since he will be a popular pick, I doubt that happens.

The other point is, making Masters bets this week is really silly, unless there is a blatantly wrong line floating around. All the books will offer lower juice options next Wednesday, so why not try to get the best price possible then, instead of guessing what will happen this week. The odds of anything meaningful happening this week are already factored into the future odd, and you’re hunches about who is going to win the Shell Houston Open is wrong, so just wait for a better price next week.

Steve Stricker

My adjusted ranking is spot on with where I think he should be and that turns out to be a slightly more likely to win than the price would indicate. Only Lee Westwood, is more likely to win this week, in fact. There are a small sample size of players comparable to Stricker this week on the PGA Tour (Casey and Furyk were the best I found) and they have basically played to their average over 16 rounds. If Stricker does, too, then 21-1 is a great price this week, if not it’s still probably okay. Retief Goosen also falls into this category.

Uber Long Shots

Last week I mentioned Tom Gillis and Charlie Wi, who finished T30 and T24, respectively, so let’s take some more shots in the dark. Tim Petrovic has been god awful this season, but otherwise is probably a better than average PGA Tour pro. For another random golfer with no shot of winning, how about Will Mackenzie?

TOP 25 ADJUSTED ODDS

Player

total wins

odds

Lee Westwood

6.34%

1476

Steve Stricker

5.93%

1586

Matt Kuchar

5.47%

1727

Phil Mickelson

4.70%

2029

Hunter Mahan

4.02%

2386

Francesco Molinari

3.22%

3002

Retief Goosen

2.93%

3311

Charl Schwartzel

2.87%

3382

Padraig Harrington

2.43%

4019

Jason Day

2.29%

4263

Ernie Els

2.24%

4372

Robert Allenby

2.06%

4745

Steve Marino

1.92%

5108

J.B. Holmes

1.87%

5236

Y.E. Yang

1.79%

5480

Anthony Kim

1.78%

5524

Ben Crane

1.78%

5531

Charles Howell III

1.35%

7329

John Senden

1.33%

7419

Robert Karlsson

1.28%

7737

Fred Couples

1.23%

8057

Ross Fisher

1.22%

8097

Justin Leonard

1.13%

8781

Lucas Glover

1.07%

9228

Fredrik Jacobson

1.03%

9571

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2011 SHELL HOUSTON OPEN POWER RANKINGS

Adjusted for those in the field:

Rnk

Player

Adj Z

1

Tiger Woods

-0.82948

2

Lee Westwood

-0.61209

3

Steve Stricker

-0.59867

4

Matt Kuchar

-0.57543

5

Paul Casey

-0.5666

6

Jim Furyk

-0.54717

7

Phil Mickelson

-0.54109

8

Martin Kaymer

-0.53901

9

Hunter Mahan

-0.50271

10

Luke Donald

-0.49431

11

Graeme McDowell

-0.49367

12

Nick Watney

-0.47059

13

Rory McIlroy

-0.46257

14

Francesco Molinari

-0.45034

15

Zach Johnson

-0.44338

16

Retief Goosen

-0.42685

17

Charl Schwartzel

-0.42221

18

Dustin Johnson

-0.41874

19

Tim Clark

-0.39668

20

Ian Poulter

-0.38976

21

Padraig Harrington

-0.388

22

Jason Day

-0.37305

23

Ernie Els

-0.37197

24

Robert Allenby

-0.35312

25

Geoff Ogilvy

-0.35058

I have a feeling next week could be the first time in the history of my rankings (back to 2002) that Tiger Woods won’t be No. 1 in the world.

I’ll try to add in some commentary later, if you want my thoughts on any player in particular let me know in the comments.

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2011 ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL

POWER RANKINGS

I’ll present these pretty much without comment now. They are my rankings adjusted for the vegas line for those players in the field this week. The sample size isn’t huge, but I’m pretty sure they are close and better than using just my straight rankings. More discussion and explanation coming Master’s week, but for now the Top-25:

Rk

Player

Adj Z

1

Tiger Woods

-0.811

2

Steve Stricker

-0.707

3

Lee Westwood

-0.639

4

Paul Casey

-0.567

5

Matt Kuchar

-0.564

6

Graeme McDowell

-0.545

7

Martin Kaymer

-0.539

8

Phil Mickelson

-0.534

9

Retief Goosen

-0.524

10

Dustin Johnson

-0.500

11

Luke Donald

-0.494

12

Hunter Mahan

-0.475

13

Nick Watney

-0.471

14

Francesco Molinari

-0.470

15

Rory McIlroy

-0.463

16

Jim Furyk

-0.436

17

Padraig Harrington

-0.409

18

Tim Clark

-0.397

19

Ernie Els

-0.388

20

Justin Rose

-0.383

21

Zach Johnson

-0.383

22

Bubba Watson

-0.378

23

Charl Schwartzel

-0.376

24

Robert Allenby

-0.371

25

Vijay Singh

-0.363

 

CONTENDERS

Jim Furyk is playing some pretty poor golf so far this season, and I think that’s why this price is available. It doesn’t seem unreasonable for a player of his age that is playing poorly. Still, Furyk looked better last week and a very small sample of comparable players suggests that Furyk can contend. Maybe not the second favorite in the field this week, but still probably better than 40-1. Outside of Furyk, Jeff Overton may be a little overlooked, though I have a big suspicion that last season will pretty much be the high point of his career (Ryder Cupper!). Otherwise maybe a random sighting on the leaderboard by Tom Gillis or Charlie Wi this week, but there’s not really too much that excites me.

TOP-25:

Player

total wins

odds

vegas

ROI

Tiger Woods

12.37%

709

740

$1.04

Jim Furyk

4.00%

2401

4200

$1.72

Phil Mickelson

3.48%

2775

2300

$0.83

Graeme McDowell

3.29%

2943

1900

$0.66

Hunter Mahan

3.06%

3166

2000

$0.64

Zach Johnson

2.58%

3779

4600

$1.21

Dustin Johnson

2.58%

3782

1700

$0.46

Ernie Els

2.57%

3797

4200

$1.10

Ian Poulter

2.09%

4694

7500

$1.59

Robert Allenby

2.00%

4905

5500

$1.12

Charl Schwartzel

1.98%

4951

4600

$0.93

Justin Rose

1.84%

5323

3400

$0.65

Bo Van Pelt

1.73%

5687

9500

$1.66

Bubba Watson

1.66%

5924

4000

$0.68

Sean O’Hair

1.59%

6174

7500

$1.21

Stewart Cink

1.58%

6245

7500

$1.20

Ryan Moore

1.57%

6286

8000

$1.27

David Toms

1.57%

6286

15000

$2.36

Kevin Na

1.56%

6318

6600

$1.04

Vijay Singh

1.56%

6318

4600

$0.73

Steve Marino

1.49%

6593

9500

$1.43

Bill Haas

1.48%

6648

6000

$0.90

Brandt Snedeker

1.39%

7105

5500

$0.78

Peter Hanson

1.34%

7352

11000

$1.49

Rickie Fowler

1.28%

7725

3800

$0.50

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FILLING OUT TWO NCAA BASKETBALL BRACKETS: PART 1

I’m in two pools this year, the first is a standard 1-2-4-8-16-32 pool and the second is a 1-2-4-6-10-14 format. That changes the strategy a lot.

As always, winning this bracket is about trying to pick the best possible outlier. Unless you’re in a pool with only a handful of people, picking the best average score does you no good. You want to go for the outlier that gets you in the top few of your pool if you get lucky. I’ll start with the traditional ESPN format.

10-20-40-80-160-320:

The most important round to win in this one is the champion. If you don’t get the Champion you probably aren’t winning. It also helps if you don’t take the team that everyone else is taking. If Kansas, Duke and Ohio State all have about the same chance of winning, you’re better off taking the least popular and hoping you get lucky.

So, I made a chart of marginal points to win*

*If you care, marginal points is a team’s (Chance to win)*(Points for round)*(% of ESPN contestants that picked the team to win)+(Chance to lose)*-(Average of all other teams points for round)*(1-% of ESPN contestants that picked the team)

To win it all:

Rk 

Team 

Pct picked 

% to win 

Marg. Pts 

1 

Duke  

15.00% 

12.70% 

31.257 

2 

Kansas  

22.80% 

13.25% 

29.790 

3 

Ohio State

26.30% 

12.39% 

26.351 

4 

Pittsburgh  

6.20% 

8.47% 

21.424 

5 

North Carolina  

4.10% 

4.01% 

7.820 

6 

Texas  

1.80% 

3.81% 

7.359 

7 

San Diego State  

1.80% 

3.81% 

7.359 

8 

Kentucky  

1.90% 

3.81% 

7.351 

9 

Notre Dame  

3.80% 

3.46% 

6.110 

10 

Florida  

1.30% 

2.99%

4.721 

I’m guessing I’m in a pool of 50-100 people so I think Duke is the way to go. If you’re trying to win the ESPN tourney challenge, I wouldn’t even bother with the top seeds. Even if you get it right, the odds of the rest of your bracket being good enough to win are not very good. I think San Diego St. and Kentucky are the way to go in super large pools. For me, I’ll stick with Duke again.

The next most important round is not surprisingly, the National Runner up. here’s the same chart of that:

Rk 

Team

Pct picked 

% to win 

Marg. Pts 

1 

Duke

24.20% 

20.79% 

22.836 

2 

Pittsburgh  

17.50% 

17.81% 

20.722 

3 

Kansas  

47.40% 

25.25% 

19.783 

4 

Ohio State  

39.20% 

20.52% 

18.038 

5 

Notre Dame  

12.00% 

8.46% 

8.224 

6 

San Diego State  

4.00% 

7.80% 

7.894 

7 

North Carolina

7.40% 

7.80% 

7.615 

8 

Kentucky  

3.50% 

7.42% 

7.329 

9 

Texas  

3.70% 

7.42% 

7.314 

10 

Florida  

4.20% 

7.05% 

6.667 

It’s pretty much a toss-up between Kansas, who is better, but super-popular, and Pitt the No. 1 seed in by far the weakest region in the bracket. I’ve already taken Duke to win, so that leaves me with Pitt. Trying to win ESPN’s overall pool, I like the Aztecs if you haven’t already taken them, Notre Dame could be a good option, but overall I’d slide down to the 11 spot (unlisted) and go with Purdue. If Wisconsin didn’t have an absurdly hard pod, then I would recommend them, too, but because of that they come in at 16 on my list. Pitt seems to be the No. 1 seed most people are picking to lose early, so how about a National runner up?

On to the rest of the final four, see a pattern developing?

Rk 

Team 

Pct picked 

% to win 

Marg. Pts 

1 

Duke

48.50% 

37.41% 

14.337 

2 

Pittsburgh

49.70% 

32.73% 

11.958 

3 

Ohio State  

58.90% 

36.35% 

11.064 

4 

Kansas  

60.20% 

36.16% 

10.650 

5 

San Diego State  

11.90% 

17.74% 

9.324 

6 

Purdue  

7.40% 

16.03% 

8.397 

7 

Notre Dame  

20.00% 

17.34% 

8.185 

8 

Kentucky  

8.20% 

15.82% 

8.148 

9 

Florida  

15.10% 

15.90% 

7.596 

10 

Texas  

10.50% 

14.96% 

7.263 

11 

Syracuse  

12.50% 

14.86% 

7.017 

12 

Louisville  

8.50% 

12.68% 

5.564 

13 

North Carolina  

16.30% 

13.14%

5.432 

14 

Connecticut  

25.00% 

13.24% 

4.931 

15 

Wisconsin  

6.70% 

10.43% 

3.796 

16 

BYU  

11.00% 

9.27% 

2.696 

17 

Kansas State  

5.80% 

6.68% 

0.657 

18 

St. John’s  

6.10% 

5.96% 

0.050 

19 

Washington  

1.10% 

5.42% 

-0.427 

20 

Georgetown  

1.50% 

4.47% 

-1.269 

Duke and Pitt are already off my bracket, so I’m looking for someone out of the East and Southwest. Ohio State and Kansas would fit in nicely, but I’m going with Kentucky and Purdue. I’m not sure what size pool going away from the No. 1 seeds is the best idea, but I’m hoping mine is big enough. As far as going for the ESPN bracket, with SDSU or Kentucky as your winner, and Purdue as the runner up, I think Kentucky and SDSU should be in the final four. It pains me to say it, but Florida might be the pick as the 2 seed in the SE. Wisconsin would be a perfect option out of this region, but they really get screwed by having such a hard first two games for a 4-seed. I’d tend to lean towards the more dangerous Wisconsin because they are less popular and I like them better than Florida.

Moving on to the Elite 8: (I couldn’t find odds so I switched to KPom’s log5 projections)

Rk 

Team 

Pct picked 

% to win 

Marg. Pts 

1 

San Diego State  

32.00% 

47.10% 

11.724 

2 

Purdue

31.10% 

41.80% 

10.186 

3 

BYU  

27.00% 

35.40% 

8.596 

4 

Texas

19.40% 

32.00% 

8.187 

5 

Syracuse  

42.90% 

35.20% 

6.670 

6 

Duke

73.10% 

56.50% 

5.789 

7 

Louisville  

16.60% 

25.20% 

5.740 

8 

Florida  

39.50% 

29.40% 

5.392 

9 

Notre Dame  

55.80% 

36.20% 

5.372 

10 

Ohio State  

78.10% 

62.00% 

5.250 

11 

Pittsburgh

70.00% 

47.40% 

5.214

12 

Kentucky

16.50% 

23.10% 

4.894 

13 

North Carolina  

45.20% 

28.60% 

4.673 

14 

Kansas  

79.20% 

52.40% 

4.090 

15 

Wisconsin  

12.80% 

20.40% 

3.958 

16 

Washington  

5.70% 

19.70% 

3.956 

17 

Connecticut  

60.60% 

22.10% 

2.117 

18 

Utah State  

1.40% 

11.90% 

0.320 

19 

Cincinnati  

2.70% 

11.80% 

0.267 

20 

Gonzaga  

3.00% 

11.10% 

-0.074 

Now, you’ve got to use your head a bit. I want to throw out BYU and Syracuse because of potential regional biases and BYU is probably overrated slightly by this anyway, but Cuse is the only remotely good option in the bottom half of the East, unless you’re trying to win ESPN, then take the Huskies. I doubt San Diego St. is quite likely to advance to the Elite 8 as KPom overstated their chances in winning, getting to the Champ and making the Final four, but they are still the way to go. Again, KPom seems to be overstating the case for Texas, and I think you pick up more by taking Duke out of this region in more important rounds, so I’m going to ignore that. In the Southwest, it’s hard to go against Louisville. KPom has Kansas at only around a coinflip to make the Elite 8, and he was close on all the other odds, so with nearly 80% of the people taking them, they aren’t worth it if you don’t already have them winning the title. In the Southeast, Florida is really the only good option for my purposes, where Jimmer should be overrated. On ESPN, I think taking BYU to the elite 8 is probably the way to go.

Rk 

Team 

Pct picked 

% to win 

Marg. Pts 

1 

Brigham Young  

50.20% 

55.70% 

4.896 

2 

Texas  

65.50% 

67.90%

4.448 

3 

Washington  

15.60% 

37.70% 

4.180 

4 

Purdue  

69.70% 

68.00% 

3.914 

5 

Florida

71.50% 

57.80% 

2.956 

6 

Wisconsin  

44.60% 

38.50% 

2.869 

7 

Kentucky

74.70% 

61.00% 

2.830 

8 

Louisville

76.20% 

60.80% 

2.650 

9 

Syracuse

78.80% 

62.20% 

2.435 

10 

San Diego St.

82.50% 

70.10% 

2.349 

11 

Cincinnati  

7.70% 

28.70% 

2.170 

12 

Notre Dame  

86.70% 

66.60% 

1.673 

13 

North Carolina  

81.40% 

52.40% 

1.668 

14 

Utah St.  

10.40% 

26.90% 

1.629 

15 

Pittsburgh

91.50% 

76.50% 

1.269 

16 

Connecticut  

85.50% 

48.30% 

1.142 

17 

Duke

94.10%

84.50% 

0.988 

18 

Ohio St.  

94.50% 

83.20% 

0.905 

19 

Arizona  

26.00% 

24.10% 

0.725 

20 

Kansas  

96.00% 

72.60% 

0.561 

Let’start with the Easy ones. Texas losing to Duke, Washington to the Sweet 16, (though KPom probably overstates their case), Ohio State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Kansas. That leaves BYU’s pod, where I would guarantee that they are more than 50% picked in my pool. Even at a 75% clip, I still feel like they are better than the next option, Gonzaga, so BYU it is. Finally, incredibly unpopular on ESPN Cincinnati rounds out the sweet 16.

Finally, let’s go matchup by matchup for the rest of it. George Mason is only slightly better to the point that it basically doesn’t matter in terms of marginal points. Feel free to pick this one by uniform color or mascot if you like. With 82% of people taking West Virginia, there is no point in not picking Clemson for the upset. Xavier and Marquette is another complete toss-up, so I’ll say Xavier, the favorite. North Carolina is actually a –EV pick, but I don’t want to give up the 9.6 expected points you’re getting in that matchup. UCLA is an underdog as a seven seed, but Michigan State is a little too popular. Gonzaga is an easy upset in basically a toss-up game against much more popular St. John’s. Old Dominion is an easy pick as an unpopular favorite. I’ll take UNLV in the 8/9 game in the Southwest, as well as USC/VCU against No. 6 Georgetown though that is a complete guess. In the two final games in that region, I’m going with, Richmond and Texas A&M. Michigan, Arizona, Bucknell and Temple round out my bracket.

Part 2, with a different scoring system will be up later tonight/tomorrow morning.

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WGC CADILLAC CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 2

Player

total wins

odds

vegas

$ROI

Hunter Mahan*

14.17%

606

720

$1.16

Martin Kaymer

7.53%

1228

555

$0.49

Matt Kuchar

7.19%

1291

1100

$0.86

Lee Westwood

6.98%

1333

1300

$0.98

Steve Stricker*

6.98%

1333

5000

$3.56

Nick Watney*

6.25%

1500

1200

$0.81

Luke Donald

5.82%

1618

1200

$0.76

Tiger Woods*

4.27%

2242

3200

$1.41

Rory McIlroy*

3.89%

2471

2400

$0.97

Vijay Singh*

3.78%

2546

2100

$0.83

Padraig Harrington*

2.76%

3523

5500

$1.55

Retief Goosen

1.97%

4976

7500

$1.50

Phil Mickelson*

1.95%

5028

3800

$0.76

Francesco Molinari

1.76%

5582

9000

$1.60

Charl Schwartzel*

1.75%

5614

4200

$0.75

Paul Casey*

1.72%

5714

8000

$1.39

Ernie Els

1.59%

6189

5500

$0.89

Adam Scott*

1.43%

6893

7500

$1.09

Ryan Moore*

1.27%

7774

8500

$1.09

Camilo Villegas*

1.23%

8030

12000

$1.49

Charley Hoffman

1.18%

8375

10000

$1.19

Graeme McDowell*

1.17%

8447

5000

$0.60

Martin Laird*

1.15%

8596

6000

$0.70

Alvaro Quiros*

1.02%

9704

3800

$0.40

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BIG FREAKING DEAL: PUTTS GAINED!

First, read panelist Sean Martin’s take on the Sloan Sports Conference’s golf panel over at Golfweek.

I was interested in a couple of things: First up was the PGA Tour’s great new stat, putts gained. Not.

I think this has to be the most useless use of a great source of data: shotlink. I may go crazy saying this, but putting just really isn’t that important in the long run on the PGA Tour. Yes, on any given week, they guy who gets lucky and makes a lot of putts is going to do well. Over a three or five-year period, it’s remarkable how similar PGA players are on the putting greens. (For more: Read here and here.) I’m not saying there is no difference, I’m saying most of it in the short run can be explained by randomness, and it’s just not as large as it appears when Tiger is fist pumping with a full gallery screaming on Sunday afternoon over the long run.

Luckily, Putts gained will probably tell us this. I banged out a putts gained type stat based on the PGA Tour in 2010. It’s basically the difference between your percentage of putts made in certain areas (inside 5 feet, 5-10, etc.) multiplied by the average number of putts made from those distances subtracted from the average number of made putts from that distance by a PGA Tour pro. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn close for 20 minutes of copying and pasting.

Here’s a look at the top-10:

Paul Casey

-0.76298

Greg Chalmers

-0.70169

Luke Donald

-0.66905

Brian Gay

-0.59227

Chad Collins

-0.57711

Retief Goosen

-0.5576

Carl Pettersson

-0.54883

Zach Johnson

-0.5157

Dean Wilson

-0.51411

Matt Kuchar

-0.4964

And, the Bottom-10:

Cameron Tringale

0.635091

Garth Mulroy

0.635747

Greg Owen

0.644039

Roger Tambellini

0.644478

Omar Uresti

0.662839

Chris Wilson

0.665283

Nicholas Thompson

0.669942

Mark Calcavecchia

0.675236

Billy Mayfair

0.771679

Jeff Gove

0.786741

So, roughly 1.6 strokes per round difference between the absolute best putter on the PGA Tour and absolute worst putter on PGA Tour. In terms of actual strokes between these players, the difference between the absolute best and absolute worst was around 4.5. Based on the standard deviations, putting accounts for roughly 15% of the variance between players on tour. The R-sq is around .22 between this “putts-gained” and actual stroke. Not meaningless, but not a huge correlation.

Of course the other issue is how much randomness seeps into putting. Here’s a look at the correlation in putting percentages on 6-foot putts from year-to-year:

 

Rsq

2009-10

0.011954

2008-09

0.047202

2007-08

0.061885

2006-07

0.091687

Meaning that there isn’t a whole lot of carry over from being a good putter in 2009 to being a good putter in 2010, etc. Again, that’s not perfect and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a little higher with some kind of “putts gained” stat, but the point is, most of what we define as skill in putting is just luck or good variance. Good putting is just not that predictive of more good putting or good play. Hopefully the PGA Tour acknowledges that, but I doubt they will.

My second point of contention with this was this paragraph:

Analytics never will allow us to predict the winner of a golf tournament with 100 percent certainty. It never will guarantee that a certain college star will become a major champion, or that one of his peers is destined to a career on the Nationwide Tour. There always will be exceptions to the conclusions reached through quantitative analysis, but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. Analytics provide a new way to evaluate what we see.

If you think about it like that, then there is really no point of using “analytics.” I suck at telling you who will win a certain golf tournament, but I am pretty darn good at estimating the chances of someone winning. It’s not perfect, but I’m always hopeful I can be more accurate. The other part of this is the exceptions part. Of course there are exceptions. Tiger Woods is an exception. The winner of a tournament each week is an exception. Every pro golfer is an exception compared to the regular golfer. I hate when people use the exception to say that quantitative analysis doesn’t matter. The average can tell us a lot about golf, or anything, and more often than not the exceptions are just normal statistical outliers.

Anyway, the Sloan Conference seemed to have some potential, but not surprisingly, I’m not sure much came out of it. Maybe when the PGA Tour stops hogging its “much coveted” data people can make some real breakthroughs in golf.

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2011 WGC CADILLAC CHAMP AT DORAL

Note: I banged this out off the opening odds, and they changed. I’m not changing the post. I’ll answer questions on other players and prices in the comments section.

CONTENDERS

Jim Furyk: What a first round loss in the WGC Match Play is supposed to discourage me here. Furyk had one of his luckiest seasons in 2010, in terms of wins, but on a round-for-round basis it was actually a down year. Looking at the big picture, there is no reason in his early forties that Furyk’s slow start is any predictor of an overall decline. Now, it is possible, that Furyk took his $10 million check and celebrated this offseason (though I think it’s an annuity) and that is the reason behind his slow start. In cases like this, I’ve found the market is usually a better predictor than me. To get an idea, I’ve started to record ROI and how players fare with certain ROI’s. Furyk is -.29 better than this field, with an ROI of $1.69. In just two tournaments on the PGA Tour (SSS!) similar players have averaged around -.2 better than average and include Robert Allenby and Ryan Moore’s T4 at the Northern Trust Open. The larger picture, suggests players with value do regress back towards the Vegas line (Shocker!), but not nearly enough to make Furyk a bad pick, all other things considered. Furyk also has three top four finishes here in the last five tries.

Tiger Woods: It’s basically meaningless to run the same kind of comparison on Tiger Woods. He is pretty much a unique case at this point only comparable with himself and since I only have the Honda, Northern Trust and Avantha Masters recorded you’re out of luck. Personally, I think Tiger should be around -.9 and I’ve thought that basically since the Chevron, although his start to the season has been pretty bad in eight stroke play rounds. Aside from the bad drive on the 19th in Arizona (I assume he won’t find too many cacti at Doral) I thought his ball-striking was pretty good down the stretch. Scouting him, I would say his pitching, where Tiger usually had a large advantage on the field was terrible. I’m not sure that means anything, though.

Retief Goosen: I’m really shocked that you can still find nice prices on Retief Goosen. Goosen is No. 20 in the world just on rounds played in 2011, and unlike some players (cough, cough…Graeme McDowell, Nick Watney) it actually seems to be a reasonable average and a sustainable level. Again, based on the line, I think you could expect Goosen to maybe not be as good as my rankings suggest, but you could also draw reasonable comparisons to Moore and Allenby again. Possibly the best comparison might be Justin Leonard last week who went off at $2.05 by my rankings, played above average and finished T17. However, it’s probably smarter to assume he is not as good as my rankings suggest, but I don’t see any way he is THAT much worse.

PRETENDERS

Martin Kaymer: Okay, so Kaymer is the No. 1 player in the world. Is he this good? Probably not. Only a handful of golfers have been able to match Kaymer’s level in the short run over a two year period. Only Tiger Woods, has played well enough over an extended period of time to warrant this price against this field. Is Kaymer that good? It’s doubtful. I have Kaymer at about the same level as Jim Furyk this week. He’s playing well recently and has upside, but it’s not worth this much. By my admitted estimation, even if you make some adjustments to Kaymer you can make him the second best player in the field currently, but 18-1 sounds way more fair than 8-1. Keep in mind, this is a really good field and Kaymer has not proved over any length of time that there is any reason to separate him from the group of Westwood, Stricker, Furyk, Kuchar and Casey.

Graeme McDowell: Sometimes, like in Kaymer’s case, I agree with adding to a player’s rating. I really can’t see it in McDowell’s case. Sure he should be entering the prime of his career, but his 2010 was so far above what he previously posted, that it’s hard to believe that there wasn’t some good variance in there. In three tournaments, he’s been tiger-like in 2011. I do not expect this to continue. Not surprisingly, his odds are comparable to the likes of Rickie Fowler, Vijay Singh and J.B. Holmes in PGA Tournaments this year. That group has basically played to average in 16 rounds. The larger picture suggests, maybe to factor in some kind of bonus for good recent play, but (a) it’s not enough to make Graeme close to 15-1 and (b) I don’t see any reason why it is fair in his case.

Phil Mickelson: I think the recent rise of the “European Dominance” has actually shifted the insane public perception around Phil to somewhat near his actual level of play. It is certainly reflected in the OWGR’s. Phil has historically played pretty well at Doral, but I think that just puts him into the next group behind Tiger. Straight up, I have him at 33-1, I think you’re safe saying he is more in the 20-1 to win this week, but I really see no evidence yet that it should be lower.

MATCHUPS:

I tried to use some adjustments for these. Obviously, I’m working with a pretty small sample size, so I’m not sure how I did.

Player

Opponent

Wins

Ties

Implied

Odds

Tiger Woods

Martin Kaymer

56.73%

5.04%

59.74%

-148

Paul Casey

Graeme McDowell

49.24%

4.80%

51.73%

-107

Nick Watney

Luke Donald

47.65%

5.07%

50.19%

-101

Lee Westwood

Steve Stricker

58.17%

4.51%

60.91%

-156

Jim Furyk

Geoff Ogilvy

50.25%

5.05%

52.92%

-112

Dustin Johnson

Ian Poulter

47.92%

5.21%

50.55%

-102

Hunter Mahan

Bill Haas

51.18%

4.77%

53.74%

-116

Ben Crane

Rory Sabbatini

50.72%

4.80%

53.28%

-114

Retief Goosen

Ernie Els

47.20%

5.12%

49.74%

101

Justin Rose

Jason Day

49.91%

4.76%

52.41%

-110

Padraig Harrington

Ryan Moore

49.63%

4.93%

52.20%

-109

Mark Wilson

Ryan Palmer

49.34%

4.80%

51.83%

-108

Peter Hanson

Anders Hansen

54.97%

4.86%

57.78%

-137

Camilo Villegas

Bo Van Pelt

53.44%

5.05%

56.28%

-129

Seung-Yul Noh

Ryo Ishikawa

48.94%

4.66%

51.33%

-105

Phil Mickelson

Graeme McDowell

48.04%

5.04%

50.59%

-102

Ross Fisher

Jhonattan Vegas

55.99%

4.88%

58.86%

-143

Francesco Molinari

Edoardo Molinari

55.81%

4.89%

58.68%

-142

Zach Johnson

Thomas Aiken

49.52%

4.79%

52.01%

-108

Rickie Fowler

Aaron Baddeley

58.76%

4.60%

61.59%

-160

Anthony Kim

Adam Scott

50.11%

5.15%

52.83%

-112

Bubba Watson

Y.E. Yang

50.84%

4.96%

53.50%

-115

Jim Furyk

Alvaro Quiros

54.73%

4.81%

57.49%

-135

Matt Kuchar

Rory McIlroy

50.96%

4.98%

53.63%

-116

Tiger Woods

Phil Mickelson

60.19%

5.11%

63.43%

-173

Charl Schwartzel

Vijay Singh

51.03%

5.10%

53.78%

-116

K.J. Choi

Jeff Overton

44.79%

4.98%

47.13%

112

Robert Allenby

Robert Karlsson

53.53%

4.87%

56.27%

-129

Tim Clark

Kevin Na

54.65%

4.92%

57.48%

-135

Martin Laird

Louis Oosthuizen

48.76%

5.13%

51.39%

-106

Miguel Angel Jimenez

D.A. Points

50.06%

4.96%

52.67%

-111

Charley Hoffman

S.S.P. Chowrasia

79.39%

3.23%

82.03%

-457

Jonathan Byrd

Thomas Bjorn

49.93%

4.70%

52.39%

-110

Hiroyuki Fujita

Kevin Streelman

27.39%

4.11%

28.56%

250

Kyung-Tae Kim

Rhys Davies

27.44%

3.89%

28.55%

250

Martin Kaymer

Luke Donald

53.77%

5.10%

56.66%

-131

Tiger Woods

Graeme McDowell

61.38%

4.69%

64.40%

-181

 

TOP-25:


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