Monthly Archives: April 2011

WHO HAS PLAYED THE BEST IN MAJORS

I had this idea planned for a couple weeks, mainly because I thought it would show how well Tiger has actually played when “it counts.” Obviously, this is a more interesting with the past weekend’s events and how the world’s No. 1 has never won a major:

Player

Rank

Rds

Lee Westwood

-1.02049

16

Tiger Woods

-0.93411

20

Phil Mickelson

-0.87461

20

Charl Schwartzel

-0.78194

20

Jason Day

-0.73707

12

Martin Kaymer

-0.73424

16

Rory McIlroy

-0.65698

16

Adam Scott

-0.6357

18

Matt Kuchar

-0.62724

20

K.J. Choi

-0.61522

18

Brandt Snedeker

-0.59637

12

Dustin Johnson

-0.57111

20

Bo Van Pelt

-0.52193

16

Graeme McDowell

-0.50945

14

Nick Watney

-0.49779

20

Paul Casey

-0.49774

18

Ernie Els

-0.48399

18

David Toms

-0.4698

16

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FINAL ROUND PRESSURE AT A MAJOR

Rory McIlroy’s painful 80 on Sunday at Augusta was not unique.

Rory is the next in a long line of players who have crumbled in the final pairing of a major championship. Rory is also not the only “young gun” who supposedly have no fear of Tiger, or winning to falter when the pressure is on the most. Dustin Johnson and Nick Watney were equally as bad during their collapses at last year’s US Open and PGA Championship, respectively.

So, is there anything to major championship pressure or are these just outliers?

I went back and looked at every major championship since 2005* and which group a player played in in the final round and compared that with how they performed based on their average. It turns out there is a pattern. Players play a lot worse on average when in contention.

*I ignored the 2009 US Open, the 2005 Masters and the 2009 PGA where the final round pairings were not set until after the third round completed on Sunday.

Here’s the graph:

This is ranked by pairings back from the final group. So 0=the final group and -6 is would be near the end.

As you can see, there is a decent correlation between teeing off and performance relative to average. While the general trend seems to dip in the middle of pack, then rising towards the final groups, I still have some questions. In 41 rounds, players in the final pairing have played horrendously poorly. They are basically a Dustin Johnson worse than average in the final round. Players in the second- and third-to-last groups played better than the curve would suggest and the third-to-last group actually played better than average. I’m not sure how much to make of it, but I will say that over a 40ish round sample, there is still a lot of randomness that can occur.

I can’t stress how poorly the final group has played since 2005. However, I do think the pressure may be a little overrated, as the three of the five worst final round scores came since the 2010 US Open (Rory was the worst). The best final round, came from Tiger Woods in the 2006 British Open.

A couple of other notes:

  • There seems to be no correlation between a players overall skill and their performance in the final round. Tiger has played worse than average by about .1, in 8 final pairings. Phil, has played better than average in four final pairings. Unfortunately, the sample is really too small to tell if that is just luck or there is something meaningful to it.
  • It’s important to remember that even though Tiger has played worse than average in final pairings, he’s still better than all golfers with that adjustment, plus a lead. Not that his final round record does not have some luck in it, but I would estimate he probably goes 12 or 13 out of 15 on average given his overall skill and the graph above. He’s 14 for 15 with a lead in a major in his career.
  • Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel had two of the four best final rounds, while in the final three groups this year at the Masters. Maybe that’s why the tournament was so exciting.
  • Tiger Woods is about -.05 worse than average in a final round, mostly because a surprising number of his rounds have come in the final three pairings of the day. Phil Mickelson has played about -.02 better than average on Sunday’s, but has only played 5 times in the final four groups compared to 13 times for Tiger.

I think this is a good start, but I’d like to compare this to regular tour events where it would be much easier to get a large sample size before drawing any serious conclusions.

By the way, here’s a look at the 2011 Masters with pressure factored in:

Player

total wins

odds

vegas

winning

Rory McIlroy

60.86%

-155

-130

$1.08

K.J. Choi

6.56%

1424

895

$0.65

Charl Schwartzel

5.97%

1575

1375

$0.88

Jason Day

5.92%

1589

1750

$1.10

Angel Cabrera

5.04%

1884

1300

$0.71

Luke Donald

5.04%

1884

1050

$0.58

Adam Scott

2.85%

3409

2600

$0.77

Tiger Woods

1.97%

4976

3000

$0.61

Bo Van Pelt

1.03%

9609

12000

$1.25

Bubba Watson

0.81%

12246

10000

$0.82

 

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MASTERS SUNDAY: LIVE CHAT

Follow the link below:
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FINAL ROUND: 2011 MASTERS

Player

total wins

odds

vegas

winning

Rory McIlroy

62.74%

-168

-130

$1.11

Charl Schwartzel

6.04%

1556

1375

$0.89

K.J. Choi

6.03%

1558

895

$0.60

Angel Cabrera

5.64%

1673

1300

$0.79

Jason Day

5.43%

1742

1750

$1.00

Luke Donald

4.70%

2028

1050

$0.54

Adam Scott

2.88%

3372

2600

$0.78

Tiger Woods

1.92%

5108

3000

$0.60

Bo Van Pelt

1.10%

8991

12000

$1.33

Bubba Watson

0.71%

13985

10000

$0.72

Geoff Ogilvy

0.57%

17444

8500

$0.49

Fred Couples

0.40%

24900

18000

$0.72

Ross Fisher

0.36%

27678

16000

$0.58

Matt Kuchar

0.24%

41567

34500

$0.83

Phil Mickelson

0.21%

47519

24500

$0.52

Y.E. Yang

0.20%

49900

45000

$0.90

Lee Westwood

0.19%

52532

25000

$0.48

Martin Laird

0.18%

55456

52500

$0.95

Steve Stricker

0.17%

58724

69500

$1.18

 

I don’t think the price on Rory is as good as it was the past two days. I’m not sure how much final round pressure matters, but I do know the recent history of Saturday night leaders with a lead is not good. (See: Watney, Nick or Johnson, Dustin). Then against Oousthuizen, Louis played pretty darn well with his lead at the British Open.

Should be fun, and the plan is a live chat starting at 2.

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MASTERS SATURDAY

At around 4 p.m., Rory McIlroy made the turn at -10, with almost a 40% chance to win. The story lines were forming in the Masters’ media room: “Rory at 21, tops Tiger’s 1997 performance,” “Will Tiger ever win another major.”

At around the same time Tiger had just three-putted (justifiably, with where he was) No. 7 to go back to Even par for the tournament. Ten strokes back. Rory almost 40% to win. Tiger less than 1%.

Here’s a distribution of what Tiger’s second round score looked like at that point:

That may be slightly skewed by the fact that historical averages at Augusta are slightly harder than course has played the last two days. However, not by that much. Tiger plays the final 11 holes in -7 less than 1 time in 100.

Except that it’s Augusta with a Masters on the line, so of course Tiger does, and shoots 66.

So with that great charge, here are the odds after round 2:

Player

total wins

odds

vegas

winning

Rory McIlroy

31.65%

216

315

$1.31

Tiger Woods

19.74%

407

320

$0.83

Jason Day

8.41%

1089

1450

$1.30

K.J. Choi

6.82%

1366

1250

$0.92

Lee Westwood

6.08%

1545

1150

$0.76

Geoff Ogilvy

4.11%

2333

1400

$0.62

Alvaro Quiros

3.03%

3200

3800

$1.18

Luke Donald

2.15%

4551

2100

$0.47

Rickie Fowler

2.03%

4826

3600

$0.75

Jim Furyk

1.62%

6073

6500

$1.07

Y.E. Yang

1.59%

6189

4600

$0.75

Sergio Garcia

1.39%

7094

7500

$1.06

Fred Couples

1.24%

7965

7500

$0.94

Phil Mickelson

1.21%

8164

2500

$0.31

Charl Schwartzel

1.13%

8750

8000

$0.92

Ricky Barnes

1.08%

9159

8000

$0.87

Brandt Snedeker

0.84%

11805

12000

$1.02

Ross Fisher

0.71%

13985

7500

$0.54

Dustin Johnson

0.65%

15285

10000

$0.66

Steve Stricker

0.62%

16029

19000

$1.18

Paul Casey

0.60%

16567

14000

$0.85

Angel Cabrera

0.42%

23710

14000

$0.59

David Toms

0.37%

26927

25000

$0.93

Matt Kuchar

0.31%

32158

21000

$0.65

Adam Scott

0.27%

36937

27000

$0.73

Robert Karlsson

0.21%

47519

32000

$0.67

Ian Poulter

0.21%

47519

34000

$0.72

Nick Watney

0.21%

47519

22000

$0.46

Trevor Immelman

0.19%

52532

32000

$0.61

Martin Laird

0.17%

58724

48500

$0.83

Tiger Woods:

To be clear, Saturday morning Tiger Woods is no better (or worse) golfer than Thursday morning Tiger Woods. The real question is how good Thursday morning Tiger Woods was?

As I’ve said more times than it takes Steve Marino strokes to finish the back nine when he’s in contention in Sunday, there is no proof that if Tiger commits to playing golf as much as he did circa 2006-2009, there is no proof that he can’t return to that level.

So the max projection for Tiger this weekend is around -1 (against this field), which is basically a Rickie Fowler better. To start, let’s look at Tiger since his return in non-majors against regular tour events.

Tourney Type

Z-Score

Rds

Majors

-0.96237

18

Non-Majors

-0.35211

45

That’s pretty funny and you probably don’t want to see that if you are Tim Finchem trying to sell the PGA Tour on a week-to-week basis. Let’s assume that Tiger’s true skill is -.35. The chance of him playing that well over 18 rounds is about .5%. There is a decimal point in front of that. I think given the nature of the event and Tiger’s ultimate goal, it’s safe to assume that Tiger takes it up a notch at the majors.

So how do we rate Tiger going forward?

You could assume he is back. And put him at -1 ranking adjusted for field, which would make him the favorite over McIlroy for the weekend.

Honestly, I wouldn’t put that out of the question though that is higher than most.

Another way to judge it is based on the books. I plugged in the .83 ROI into my adjustment formula. That is lower than Tiger has been recently, but players around that number have played to about the average that my rankings say. Not surprisingly, Vegas isn’t overreacting to what happened today.

Tiger certainly looked like the Tiger of old today, but I’m just not sure how good he is. If he plays to that major average or better for the past year he is the favorite for the weekend. If he plays to his 2-year average Rory is.

Rory McIlroy:

That price for Rory is about the same as yesterday. It’s not terribly surprising, if you look back at the odds from last year’s final round of the US Open on Dustin Johnson (fail!) and Graeme McDowell (win!) after Tiger had shot a 65 on Saturday. I think people generally overrate winning a major for the first time. For every Dustin Johnson it seems there is a Martin Kaymer or Graeme McDowell.

By Sunday, we will know which one Rory is.

Jason Day:

Pretty much the same deal with Day as Rory. I would just like to say that this couldn’t be a better ending for someone who was screaming about Day as better than Fowler circa Accenture World Golf Championship Match Play Championship. If you liked McIlroy and the leaders yesterday, I’m not sure what’s different about McIlroy and Day today.

For those wondering:

Tiger final pairing: 31.30%

 

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FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE

Updated

3:22:00 PM

10000 sims

Player

Pct

Thru

Rory McIlroy

33.35%

7 (-9)

K.J. Choi

12.02%

16 (-8)

Geoff Ogilvy

5.43%

15 (-6)

Matt Kuchar

5.25%

5 (-4)

Rickie Fowler

4.71%

7 (-5)

Luke Donald

3.95%

F (-4)

Lee Westwood

3.81%

5 (-2)

Y.E. Yang

2.75%

F (-5)

Jim Furyk

2.53%

17 (-4)

Alvaro Quiros

2.46%

14 (-5)

Sergio Garcia

2.37%

2 (-4)

Charl Schwartzel

1.99%

F (-4)

Fred Couples

1.92%

F (-5)

Phil Mickelson

1.79%

15 (-2)

Tiger Woods

1.73%

3 (E)

Nick Watney

1.61%

11 (-1)

Ricky Barnes

1.52%

F (-5)

Steve Stricker

1.30%

F (-2)

Brandt Snedeker

1.11%

12 (-3)

Dustin Johnson

0.93%

11 (-1)

Paul Casey

0.84%

17 (-2)

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FRIDAY MORNING MASTERS MOVERS

Updated

12:04:56 PM

10000 sims

Player

Pct

Thru

Delta

Y.E. Yang

10.00%

9 (-7)

5.16%

K.J. Choi

12.80%

5 (-7)

6.73%

Rory McIlroy

18.04%

– (-7)

-2.27%

Ricky Barnes

4.43%

8 (-6)

2.55%

Alvaro Quiros

4.95%

3 (-6)

-4.06%

Trevor Immelman

1.22%

10 (-4)

0.36%

Fred Couples

2.43%

7 (-4)

1.98%

Gary Woodland

1.06%

3 (-4)

0.10%

Matt Kuchar

6.99%

– (-4)

-0.51%

Ross Fisher

1.07%

2 (-3)

-0.24%

Sergio Garcia

2.14%

– (-3)

-0.30%

Charl Schwartzel

0.67%

13 (-2)

-1.58%

Angel Cabrera

1.03%

11 (-2)

0.39%

Luke Donald

2.73%

7 (-2)

1.45%

Paul Casey

2.39%

6 (-2)

-0.88%

Jim Furyk

1.99%

6 (-2)

1.20%

Phil Mickelson

4.43%

4 (-2)

-1.29%

Geoff Ogilvy

1.34%

4 (-2)

-1.43%

Sean O’Hair

0.51%

2 (-2)

-0.25%

Camilo Villegas

0.64%

1 (-2)

-0.02%

Brandt Snedeker

0.71%

1 (-2)

-0.78%

Gregory Havret

0.19%

– (-2)

-0.03%

Rickie Fowler

1.32%

– (-2)

-0.29%

Hiroyuki Fujita

0.01%

– (-2)

-0.02%

Retief Goosen

1.41%

– (-2)

-0.50%

Kyung-Tae Kim

0.03%

12 (-1)

-0.01%

Ryan Moore

0.79%

12 (-1)

-0.88%

David Toms

0.51%

11 (-1)

0.18%

Jhonattan Vegas

0.18%

3 (-1)

0.00%

Ryan Palmer

0.11%

– (-1)

-0.09%

Ryo Ishikawa

0.21%

– (-1)

-0.02%

Tiger Woods

5.54%

– (-1)

-0.26%

Miguel Angel Jimenez

0.11%

9 (E)

-0.32%

Zach Johnson

0.32%

9 (E)

0.09%

Steve Marino

0.31%

7 (E)

0.24%

Alex Cejka

0.05%

1 (E)

-0.02%

David Chung

0.00%

1 (E)

0.00%

Anders Hansen

0.14%

– (E)

0.03%

Heath Slocum

0.10%

– (E)

-0.01%

Adam Scott

0.36%

– (E)

0.01%

Nick Watney

1.35%

– (E)

-0.23%

Jason Day

0.24%

– (E)

-0.10%

Lee Westwood

2.03%

– (E)

-0.25%

Robert Karlsson

0.25%

– (E)

0.05%

And the top-10 movers so far this morning:

Player

Pct

Thru

Delta

K.J. Choi

12.80%

5 (-7)

6.73%

Y.E. Yang

10.00%

9 (-7)

5.16%

Ricky Barnes

4.43%

8 (-6)

2.55%

Fred Couples

2.43%

7 (-4)

1.98%

Luke Donald

2.73%

7 (-2)

1.45%

Jim Furyk

1.99%

6 (-2)

1.20%

Angel Cabrera

1.03%

11 (-2)

0.39%

Trevor Immelman

1.22%

10 (-4)

0.36%

Steve Marino

0.31%

7 (E)

0.24%

David Toms

0.51%

11 (-1)

0.18%

Nice to see Furyk at -2 for the day and ahead of Phil Mickelson moving up at this because he certainly isn’t getting the attention. Those dull roars you hear around the turn: That’s Hurricane Steve making a Friday charge.

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