Scottie Scheffler has gone back-to-back at the WM Phoenix Open and regains World No. 1 status. If he starts to get hot with his putter, watch out! With the Super Bowl on, we will keep this intro short and sweet and dive into what matters most this week.
We are going to ask a few questions that will guide us through a multitude of areas that impact how we go about handicapping an event. We look at historical odds of winners, traditional weather, skills that matter, and a few more interesting things. The goal of this article is to provide you with a high-level understanding of the nuances associated with this week’s course and players.
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#1. Dogs or Dimes?
Were the odds of the last few winners closer to a dime or were the underdogs sniffing around the top of the leaderboard?
The odds of the last three winners were rather long shots at 35, 60, and 70.
A healthy combination of favorites and long shots have sniffed around the top of the board over the last three years.
Finishing positions of the golfers with the shortest odds to win:
#2. History or Mystery?
Is course history a strong predictor of success or is this week going to be a mystery?
Course history correlations are one of the highest on tour at The Riviera Country Club.
These are the golfers with the best average strokes gained (min six rounds):
These are the golfers with the worst average strokes gained (min six rounds):
#3. Birdies or Bogeys?
What kind of scoring conditions can we expect this week?
The last five winners of this event shot -19, -12, -11, -14 and -12 with the top five of those tournaments averaging -10.9, which my model considers medium difficulty.
The best strokes gained average on medium courses:
The worst strokes gained average on medium courses:
#4. Weak or Peak?
Is the strength of the field at its peak or is it weak?
The total Official World Golf Ranking points total for this week’s field is 241.51. Last week’s total OWGR in a 156-man field was 231.08. Pink = 2023 season, Green = 75% 2022 + 25% 2023 season.
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#5. AM or PM?
What is the weather usually like at this event?
Hopefully we can get some predictable weather this week after the last two chaotic weeks of wind.
#6. Distance or Direction?
Is distance or direction the most important stat off the tee?
This course demands distance off the tee more than most courses. If you miss on the correct side of the fairway with distance on your side, you are off to a great start.
The best Strokes Gained off the tee in the field:
#7. Wedges or Woods?
Which proximity buckets are going to see the most divots this week?
62% of approach shots will come from 125-200.
These are the golfers that rate out the best when taking the above proximity buckets and prorating them:
#8. Sand or Grandstand?
Are errant approach shots going to land up in the sand or grandstands?
We are going to focus on golfers we have impressive rough proximities and general around the green touch.
These are the golfers who excel around the green:
These are the golfers who excel out the rough:
These are the golfers who struggle out the rough:
#9. Bermuda or Bent?
Are we putting on Bermuda or Bentgrass?
The best putters from inside 15 feet on all surfaces:
The best putters inside 15 feet on Poa over the last 50:
#10. Model or Maniac
Are there golfers who the model is not liking as much as the Maniac?
Below are the top 10 golfers in my model:
These are a few golfers who the Maniac likes, who the model overlooked a little:
Hopefully, this helped you prepare for the odds dropping tomorrow morning! Good luck this week, and as always, may the odds be ever in your favor!!!
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