ESPN Best Ball

Rules: Pick Four Golfer, best ball score throughout the week.

Approach: I converted my adjusted rankings to the salaries. I’m not sure what the best approach is here, but I went with the most “value” and the highest points. If there are prizes for winning ESPN overall, then your best bet is probably to take one of the unpopular favorites (You can see % picked when you select your team) and three random unpopular players and hoping for the lucky week. I would guess that is something like Stricker or Furyk and a few underrated players. Here’s the top-20 players rated by value over my rankings to ESPN rankings.

Player Conv. ESPN Diff
Tiger Woods 20.7 15.1 5.594718
Lee Westwood 18.7 14.8 3.941234
Steve Marino 11.9 8.3 3.635819
Steve Stricker 17.1 13.5 3.608625
Phil Mickelson 18.7 15.2 3.548294
Martin Laird 13.2 10.2 3.036552
David Toms 11.9 9.2 2.666376
Brandt Snedeker 11.6 9.1 2.483184
Nick Watney 17.4 14.9 2.453345
Martin Kaymer 17.5 15.0 2.451903
Ryan Moore 13.9 11.6 2.332035
Luke Donald 16.8 14.5 2.272496
Hunter Mahan 16.4 14.2 2.240408
Stewart Cink 12.9 10.7 2.207783
Matt Kuchar 16.4 14.3 2.139047

I went with Woods, Westwood, Marino and Moore. That gave me an actual value of 65.3 and 49.8 (out of 50) in the ESPN contest. Marino is surprisingly pretty popular so someone may be able to come up with a better team, but it’s hard to give up Marino’s talent for only 8.3 points, especially when you can sub him out on Sunday.

Full field is here.

Golf Week Masters Challenge:

Rules: Pick one player from each of 10 Tiers, most prize money wins.

Approach: This is really a good contest. I’ve broken down the groups by my adjusted rankings as follows. MY FULL RANKINGS WITH FULL GROUPS CAN BE VIEWED HERE. Selections are in red.

GROUP 1 Field Adj. Rank
Rory Sabbatini -0.12
Steve Marino -0.08
Brandt Snedeker -0.06
Sean O’Hair -0.02
GROUP 2 Field Adj. Rank
Anthony Kim -0.21
Charl Schwartzel -0.16
Louis Oosthuizen -0.08
Alvaro Quiros -0.07
GROUP 3 Field Adj. Rank
Nick Watney -0.42
Luke Donald -0.38
Paul Casey -0.36
Padraig Harrington -0.24
GROUP 4 Field Adj. Rank
Hunter Mahan -0.36
Bubba Watson -0.26
Ian Poulter -0.24
Geoff Ogilvy -0.21
GROUP 5 Field Adj. Rank
Tiger Woods -0.63
Phil Mickelson -0.51
Lee Westwood -0.51
Martin Kaymer -0.43
Steve Stricker -0.40
Dustin Johnson -0.34
Graeme McDowell -0.29
GROUP 6 Field Adj. Rank
Matt Kuchar -0.36
Rory McIlroy -0.35
Justin Rose -0.30
Jim Furyk -0.27
GROUP 7 Field Adj Rank
Jose Maria Olazabal 0.21
Larry Mize 0.51
Tom Watson 0.51
Craig Stadler 0.51
GROUP 8 Field Adj Rank
Peter Hanson 0.04
Charley Hoffman 0.08
Heath Slocum 0.14
Ryan Palmer 0.14
GROUP 9 Field Adj Rank
David Toms -0.07
Fred Couples -0.02
Miguel Angel Jimenez -0.01
Camilo Villegas 0.01
GROUP 10 Field Adj. Rank
Peter Uihlein 0.15
Nathan Smith 0.34
Jin Jeong 0.51
Hideki Matsuyama 0.51


Rules: Pick 8, most prize money won wins, 1000+ entrants.

Obviously, with 1000 entries taking Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods probably won’t do you too much good. I can see the case for Tiger in that he seemed to play better and more focused in majors last season, but I don’t think he’s an automatic pick. Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk probably are, though. Moving down the list, Paul Casey, Padraig Harrington and Retief Goosen are seemingly getting less hype than a lot of other good players, which will probably make them less popular. Five down, three to go. If you have a stomach for pain, you can leave Tiger off the team at this point, though I’ll admit it seems very unlikely that both Tiger and Phil play poorly this week. If they do, you’re in great shape. It’s hard to leave 2005-2009 Tiger off of this list, but hard to put 2010-11 Tiger on it. When it comes down to it, as much upside as Tiger has I don’t think he is worth it when you consider how the books are judging his talent right now and the fact that he will be the second most popular golfer.

That means it’s time for the wildcards. Jason Day is probably better than Rickie Fowler, but doesn’t get anywhere near the hype so that’s a good option. Much of what makes up the difference, I think is hype. Sergio Garcia had a mental breakdown last season, which is always a nice combination with major pressure, but his 2011 has been good and I doubt he is too popular. At this point, Tiger or Hunter Mahan are probably good options, but I’ll stay with the wild card theme and take Sean O’Hair, though Kevin Na was a tempting option.

Rules: All Four Majors, Pick based on these salaries.

As I have said numerous times before, there is no reason to expect Tiger to not play as well as he has in the past assuming he wants to. When he is ranked No. 5 on this list, I would take a big black Sharpie and fill him in for the final majors. I would be seriously surprised if Tiger is not the favorite for the season’s final three majors.

I didn’t have time to copy these all down, but they are based off the world rankings, so I think you get a deal if you take players who had a down year last year for no reason, or that shouldn’t be repeated this year. I came up with Tiger, Anthony Kim, Sergio Garcia and Sean O’Hair as my team.

Rules: 3 from top-10 in OWGR, 4 others, most prize money wins.

Usually you can pencil in Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk as your three from the top ten and be in pretty good shape. Furyk, despite multiple wins last year has somehow dropped out of the top-10, however. I think Paul Casey makes a suitable replacement. Outside of the Top-10, Furyk, Hunter Mahan, Padraig Harrington and Retief Goosen are among the next highest ranked and the difference between them and a few players (Nick Watney, Dustin Johnson) ahead of them is not enough to make up for how much more popular those players should be.

Rules: Pick five golfers, four must make the cut. Take the total scores of the four best. There is a salary cap of 65 based on these values. Any points lower than 65 gets subtracted from your total score (e.g. if your team’s salary is 60.2, you get 5 strokes off your total) NOTE: looks like a big pool.

I’ll update this one a little later.



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  1. a

    what do you think about Tiger over Phil +130 for the toury?

  2. Golfweek Tab on the spreadsheet is now fixed.

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