Monthly Archives: September 2011

MAKING THINGS UP

The always ridiculous comments from Golf.com’s email roundtable:

Damon Hack, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I’m taking Keegan. But, really, Bill deserves a spot, too, and Tiger should be the odd man out.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: If I’m Fred, I call Tiger Woods and tell him I changed my mind. You’re out, and I’m taking Bradley and Haas.


Van Sickle
: If the Presidents Cup points list was determined over one year, like the Ryder Cup, instead of two, Bradley surely would’ve made it. In fact, it’s still unbelievable that he can have two wins, one of them a major, and not be among the top 10. Haas and Bradley both deserve to be on the team. I don’t know how you pick between them. You shouldn’t have to.

Lipsey: Woods has no business getting a pick; he’s running on the distant fumes of 14 majors and 71 Tour victories.

Umm, no, no, no and no.

Here’s a look at the 2011 rankings:

Player Z-score Rds
Bill Haas -0.42932 92
Tiger Woods -0.41394 26
Keegan Bradley -0.23753 91

So, basically, Tiger at his worst is a toss-up with Bill Haas (having the best year of his career) and well ahead of Keegan Bradley. I’m not sure about the Keegan Bradley love. Aside from winning a major, he really hasn’t been that good. No one thought he was better than Rickie Fowler coming into the PGA Championship, and one good week for Keegan doesn’t change that opinion in my head.

Tiger is No. 11 on my rankings for just this year. Bradley is No. 22. I don’t think it’s really close between those too. Luckily for Freedom, Fred Couples agrees with me.

As for my pick, If the President’s Cup was played next week, I’d say that Haas would probably be good enough to be the highest remaining based on my vegas-adjusted rankings. He would definitely get credit for winning the Tour Championship, but overall Rickie Fowler has been considered a better player for most of the year. I’d still stick with Tiger and Rickie Fowler as my picks.

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WOULD YOU LIKE IT BETTER IF THE FEDEX CUP STANDINGS LOOKED LIKE THIS?

Working on some simple adjustments to the FEDEX Cup standings that would make it easier to follow. Post should be up sometime next week, but this would be my top-5 standings (in strokes!) coming into this morning:

Luke Donald

-19

Webb Simpson

-17

Matt Kuchar

-9

Nick Watney

-7

Brandt Snedeker

-7

Jason Day

-6

Phil Mickelson

-5

Steve Stricker

-5

That’s relative to par. So you can basically just keep adding everyone’s score to par to this and come up with a winner.

More on this coming soon.

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TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 2

Player

total wins

odds

Luke Donald

19.06%

425

Matt Kuchar

9.50%

952

Keegan Bradley

7.67%

1204

Adam Scott

7.37%

1256

Steve Stricker

6.36%

1473

Jason Day

6.29%

1490

Hunter Mahan

5.13%

1851

Phil Mickelson

5.01%

1898

Charles Howell III

4.38%

2183

Jason Dufner

3.97%

2420

K.J. Choi

3.70%

2606

Brandt Snedeker

3.28%

2951

Bill Haas

2.74%

3547

Chez Reavie

2.57%

3794

Webb Simpson

2.13%

4586

Justin Rose

2.09%

4680

Dustin Johnson

1.79%

5499

Geoff Ogilvy

1.58%

6229

Aaron Baddeley

1.48%

6666

Nick Watney

0.75%

13305

Bubba Watson

0.64%

15623

Fredrik Jacobson

0.61%

16293

Bo Van Pelt

0.61%

16347

Jonathan Byrd

0.46%

21830

Gary Woodland

0.23%

44148

David Toms

0.21%

47977

Y.E. Yang

0.15%

68393

John Senden

0.13%

76823

Mark Wilson

0.10%

101941

Vijay Singh

0.06%

178471

Anyone know what is going on with Stricker? Shoots a solid 2-under round today and is somehow over 30-1 to win this week. Although, I guess it’s not terribly unfamiliar.

Stricker was complaining about strength in his arm today, but he drove it longer than the field average (impressive since 10% of the field is Bubba Watson, Gary Woodland and Dustin Johnson.) Seems like a pretty good round today for Stricker and I’m not sure what I’m missing. By the way, here’s a look at how every player who withdrew the previous week has done if they played the following week going back to the Masters (Heritage the next week.)

 

Player

Tourney

Rel to Avg

Round

Chris Couch

Deutsche Bank Champ.

1.8498792

2

Pat Perez

Deutsche Bank Champ.

1.2463735

4

Hunter Haas

Barclays

2.2464145

2

Retief Goosen

Wyndham Champ

-0.438447

4

Rocco Mediate

Wyndham Champ

-0.018262

2

Nick O’Hern

Greenbriar Classic

-1.690636

4

George McNeill

Viking Classic

-3.059488

4

Chris Couch

John Deere Classic

-0.493513

4

Tim Petrovic

Travelers

-1.018959

4

Alex Cejka

US Open

0.6857183

2

D.J. Trahan

Memphis St. Jude

-1.817819

4

Alex Cejka

Memorial

2.1489961

4

Matt Bettencourt

PLAYERS

1.155612

2

Richard S. Johnson

The Heritage

1.2478658

2

AVERAGE

PGA

2.0437353

0.046449

Coincidentally that number is basically what I used to adjust Stricker pre-tournament (also reflected above) based on the first round lines. We all know the drill, Stricker won’t win this week, but I think 30-1 is too high.

Kuchar is in great shape, too. I’d say people will catch on sometime before his Sunday 73.

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2011 TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS

Odds for the 2011 Tour Championship:

Player

total wins

odds

Luke Donald

10.77%

829

Matt Kuchar

7.01%

1326

Steve Stricker

6.93%

1344

Nick Watney

5.47%

1728

Adam Scott

5.35%

1770

Phil Mickelson

5.19%

1825

Dustin Johnson

4.86%

1959

Jason Day

4.35%

2198

Webb Simpson

3.67%

2622

K.J. Choi

3.63%

2653

David Toms

3.55%

2715

Justin Rose

3.54%

2722

Brandt Snedeker

3.32%

2917

Hunter Mahan

3.20%

3025

Bo Van Pelt

2.95%

3294

Bubba Watson

2.70%

3611

Bill Haas

2.69%

3620

Charles Howell III

2.61%

3739

Geoff Ogilvy

2.55%

3822

Vijay Singh

2.03%

4831

John Senden

1.82%

5388

Gary Woodland

1.75%

5631

Y.E. Yang

1.50%

6549

Jason Dufner

1.48%

6670

Aaron Baddeley

1.46%

6768

Fredrik Jacobson

1.45%

6797

Keegan Bradley

1.19%

8325

Jonathan Byrd

1.17%

8454

Mark Wilson

1.03%

9618

Chez Reavie

0.81%

12230

 

Realistically, Steve Stricker is probably a bit lower, I’m guessing like 18-1 to win based on his first round matchup with Gary Woodland, but that is just a guess. I’m not really sure how to judge the one player out of 30 who isn’t offered in a pre-tournament matchup and withdrew after the second round last week with a neck injury.

Other than that, I think this is a nice event for Kuchar, Bo Van Pelt or Donald to win. Against 30 players, you shouldn’t have to play as far above average to win (usually) even against a tougher field. Those guys wrack up top tens and their consistency could pay off. For someone who hits the ball really short, Donald has had an incredible year and I think people realize that. Kuchar, on the other hand, is probably flying more under the radar.

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ONE MORE WAY TO LOOK AT THE PRESIDENT’S CUP PICKS

Here the rankings factor in the Vegas lines for the last six appearances. (Some of the International guys have slightly less because of a more international schedule)

US TEAM:

Rnk

Player

AVG

Adj

Rank

1

Steve Stricker

-0.689

-0.606

1

2

Matt Kuchar

-0.641

-0.586

2

3

Phil Mickelson

-0.542

-0.547

3

4

Tiger Woods

-0.541

-0.504

5

5

Nick Watney

-0.507

-0.516

4

6

Dustin Johnson

-0.431

-0.453

6

7

Jim Furyk

-0.420

-0.358

13

8

Bo Van Pelt

-0.418

-0.371

11

9

Zach Johnson

-0.405

-0.355

15

10

Hunter Mahan

-0.403

-0.403

8

11

David Toms

-0.375

-0.385

10

12

Bill Haas

-0.374

-0.318

18

13

Ryan Moore

-0.372

-0.362

12

14

Charles Howell III

-0.358

-0.358

14

15

Rickie Fowler

-0.341

-0.393

9

16

Brandt Snedeker

-0.339

-0.349

16

17

Webb Simpson

-0.339

-0.409

7

18

J.B. Holmes

-0.332

-0.195

20

19

Bubba Watson

-0.332

-0.344

17

20

Ben Crane

-0.309

-0.237

19

One through 12 in the rank column would be the “Vegas” team. The green players have already made the team based on points, so that leaves Tiger and Rickie Fowler as the obvious picks. Sorry Keegan Bradley.

INTERNATIONAL TEAM:

Rnk

Player

AVG

Adj

Rank

1

Adam Scott

-0.464

-0.509

1

2

Charl Schwartzel

-0.427

-0.451

3

3

Jason Day

-0.417

-0.469

2

4

K.J. Choi

-0.414

-0.398

4

5

Retief Goosen

-0.410

-0.313

5

6

Tim Clark

-0.398

   

7

Robert Allenby

-0.365

-0.258

9

8

Ernie Els

-0.331

-0.278

7

9

Geoff Ogilvy

-0.310

-0.309

6

10

John Senden

-0.269

-0.244

12

11

Vijay Singh

-0.267

-0.212

13

12

Brendon de Jonge

-0.234

-0.245

11

13

Louis Oosthuizen

-0.231

-0.181

18

14

Richard Green

-0.219

-0.190

17

15

Angel Cabrera

-0.219

-0.197

16

16

Kyung-Tae Kim

-0.218

-0.261

8

17

Y.E. Yang

-0.214

-0.257

10

18

Aaron Baddeley

-0.154

-0.200

14

19

Rory Sabbatini

-0.172

-0.176

19

20

Camilo Villegas

-0.170

-0.198

15

Ryo Ishikawa

0.001

-0.061

20

The international team, is a little better at picking their squad based on the “Vegas rankings,” probably because they use some form of the world rankings. The OWGR’s have flaws, but they do seem to be a better judge of skill then some random system the US came up with.

Allenby and Senden seem to be pretty good captain’s picks playing in front of a home croud.

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MY RANKINGS AND THE PRESIDENTS CUP

We’ll start with the US Team:

Blue text means they are currently on the team by points. Red means 11-12 spots on the rankings. Avg is from my rankings, Rnk is total rank against all eligible players (>40 rounds in last two years) and rds is rounds played.

   

2-Year

2011

Rnk

Player

AVG

Rnk

Rds

AVG

Rnk

Rds

1

Steve Stricker

-0.689

2

149

-0.700

2

69

2

Matt Kuchar

-0.641

4

188

-0.628

4

83

3

Phil Mickelson

-0.542

6

174

-0.482

12

80

4

Tiger Woods

-0.541

7

95

-0.414

23

26

5

Nick Watney

-0.507

8

175

-0.605

6

69

6

Dustin Johnson

-0.431

11

173

-0.402

27

79

7

Jim Furyk

-0.420

15

168

-0.268

45

82

8

Bo Van Pelt

-0.418

16

200

-0.391

28

84

9

Zach Johnson

-0.405

21

179

-0.465

14

76

10

Hunter Mahan

-0.403

22

185

-0.480

13

85

11

David Toms

-0.375

25

169

-0.517

9

72

12

Bill Haas

-0.374

26

193

-0.403

26

88

13

Ryan Moore

-0.372

27

166

-0.369

31

73

14

Charles Howell III

-0.358

29

213

-0.449

16

98

15

Rickie Fowler

-0.341

31

205

-0.446

18

79

16

Brandt Snedeker

-0.339

32

180

-0.415

22

79

17

Webb Simpson

-0.339

33

196

-0.639

3

86

18

J.B. Holmes

-0.332

34

163

-0.290

40

53

19

Bubba Watson

-0.332

35

160

-0.327

35

81

20

Ben Crane

-0.309

39

165

-0.142

98

63

 

It’s hard to argue that Tiger is not an easy captains pick for Couples. He’s been pretty bad this season, but still better than marginals Bo Van Pelt, Bill Haas and only a few fractions of a stroke worse than Brandt Snedeker. Zach Johnson would be the only player, at this point, I think you could debate with Tiger. He’s got a strong history and is having a great year.

If I was the captain, based on what I have, I’d lock Zach Johnson and Tiger Woods into the picks and be pretty happy with that. Bo Van Pelt can make a strong case, but as long as he underachieves in the wins category based on his overall skill he seems to perpetually by in the 13th spot between one year flash in the pans like Jeff Overton. Bill Haas is another one that is close, but doesn’t have quite the career that BVP has, although since his dad, Jay, is an assistant captain he will probably get a strong look.

Webb Simpson seems to be the interesting case here. He turned pro in 2008, so to currently have the third best season going is pretty impressive. In college, he was solid, but never ranked higher than 11th in the Sagarin rankings falling in the 20s and 30s his other three seasons.

I have good data on Simpson for four years now, and to have this good of a season in his fourth pro year puts him in the Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Dustin Johnson group, although his three previous years are way more pedestrian than that group. Better comparisons might be Anthony Kim, who had one season just as good, but has largely been just a very solid young pro and a slightly better Michael Sim. Either way, it will be interesting to see what happens to Webb Simpson.

If I had to pick, I’d say you probably take the top-11 off my list and Rickie Fowler.

International:

   

2-Year

2011

Rnk

Player

AVG

Rnk

Rds

AVG

Rnk

Rds

1

Adam Scott

-0.464

10

151

-0.449

15

55

2

Charl Schwartzel

-0.427

12

209

-0.526

8

74

3

Jason Day

-0.417

17

147

-0.508

10

69

4

K.J. Choi

-0.414

19

171

-0.433

21

71

5

Retief Goosen

-0.410

20

183

-0.283

41

66

6

Tim Clark

-0.398

23

120

-0.408

25

11

7

Robert Allenby

-0.365

28

181

-0.302

38

75

8

Ernie Els

-0.331

36

199

-0.083

124

74

9

Geoff Ogilvy

-0.310

38

148

-0.301

39

62

10

John Senden

-0.269

46

205

-0.357

34

86

11

Vijay Singh

-0.267

47

149

-0.236

56

73

12

Brendon de Jonge

-0.234

53

227

-0.250

51

99

13

Louis Oosthuizen

-0.231

55

162

-0.026

147

59

14

Richard Green

-0.219

57

139

-0.227

60

45

15

Angel Cabrera

-0.219

58

120

-0.185

77

45

16

Kyung-Tae Kim

-0.218

59

47

-0.245

53

32

17

Y.E. Yang

-0.214

60

177

-0.304

37

63

18

Aaron Baddeley

-0.154

84

181

-0.364

33

73

19

Rory Sabbatini

-0.172

80

187

-0.257

48

83

20

Camilo Villegas

-0.170

81

173

-0.048

137

69

Ryo Ishikawa

0.001

170

67

0.019

169

26

The International team is a disaster. Ryo Ishikawa is the 170th best golfer in the world based on what he’s done on the PGA Tour and European Tours. There could be some randomness in there, but it’s hard to argue that the smaller tours (Yes, Euro included) inflate the rankings for players playing well above the field average of that tour and piling up lots of wins. I’d would assume that the Japanese Tour average pro is worse than the Nationwide Tour average pro, which means that Ryo is probably about the equivalent of Rory McIlroy playing against the Japanese. Unfortunately, that has yet to translate.

Tim Clark is injured, hence the red, so a solid International option is unlikely to play.

Based on who is already on the team, Allenby and Singh are probably the best options, but the Internationals are not close to as deep in the 10-20th best option spots as the United States. John Senden could be an attractive option in his home country and having the fifth best year of anyone on this list, but he won’t be on anyone’s radar. I’d assume Aaron Baddeley is probably more of realistic option with a better history than John Senden if Greg Norman is looking for the home country advantage.

Again, if I had to pick, I’d say top-11 plus Baddeley is the way to go.

Not sure it really matters though, as the US Team 1-20 is much stronger:

 

2-Year

2011

Player

AVG

Rnk

Rds

AVG

Rnk

Rds

US Average

-0.418

21.2

174.8

-0.446

23.6

75.3

Int’l Average

-0.297

44.2

163.8

-0.289

52.7

64.2

 

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VIVENDI CUP ODDS

Did the best I could to adjust these:

MATCH 1

Thru

0

Miguel Angel Jimenez /Pablo Larrazabal

40.11%

149

Simon Dyson /Jamie Donaldson

46.59%

115

Tie

13.30%

652

MATCH 2

Thru

0

Peter Hanson /Raphael Jacquelin

47.54%

110

Scott Jamieson /Ross Fisher

38.80%

158

Tie

13.66%

632

MATCH 3

Thru

0

Anders Hansen /Francesco Molinari

40.61%

146

Mark Foster /Lee Westwood

46.30%

116

Tie

13.09%

664

MATCH 4

Thru

0

Nicolas Colsaerts /Matteo Manassero

39.9%

151

Darren Clarke /David Horsey

47.4%

111

Tie

12.8%

682

MATCH 5

thru

0

Thomas Bjorn /Alexander Noren

43.6%

129

Robert Rock /Ian Poulter

43.3%

131

Tie

13.1%

662

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