Gdula's Golf Simulations: Sony Open
Volatility is the name of the game in golf, and picking winners isn't easy. With fields of 150-plus golfers sometimes being separated by how a putt or two falls each week, predicting golf can be absurdly tough.
We'll never be able to capture everything that goes into a golfer's expectations for a week, but we can try to account for that by simulating out the weekend and seeing what happens.
I'll keep it simple: I track weekly results from the PGA Tour, the European Tour, and the Korn Ferry Tour.
Using a combination of the OWGR's field strength numbers and datagolf's field strength numbers, I adjust each golfer's score relative to the field. The ultimate goal is to place a score from the Waste Management Open, the BMW International Open, and the Knoxville Open on level playing fields. This adjusted strokes metric lets me see how golfers are performing across all tours.
Their adjusted stroke data is combined with their round-to-round variance to see how the field is likely to perform when playing the event out thousands of times.
Here are the results for the Sony Open.
|Justin Thomas||11.2%||+500||Webb Simpson||5.9%||+1200|
|Patrick Reed||5.8%||+1100||Hideki Matsuyama||5.6%||+1600|
|Matt Kuchar||3.9%||+2200||Collin Morikawa||3.5%||+1600|
|Sungjae Im||2.5%||+2200||Brandt Snedeker||2.0%||+4100|
|JT Poston||1.9%||+5000||Joaquin Niemann||1.9%||+3300|
|Charles Howell III||1.8%||+3700||Marc Leishman||1.6%||+3300|
|Scott Piercy||1.5%||+9000||Andrew Putnam||1.5%||+6000|
|Brendon Todd||1.4%||+4500||Chez Reavie||1.4%||+4500|
|Cameron Smith||1.4%||+4100||Abraham Ancer||1.3%||+3700|
|Sebastian Munoz||1.3%||+6500||Rory Sabbatini||1.3%||+8000|
|Vaughn Taylor||1.3%||+10000||Corey Conners||1.1%||+5000|
|Lanto Griffin||1.1%||+8000||Kevin Kisner||1.1%||+5000|
|Keith Mitchell||1.0%||+12000||Russell Knox||0.9%||+8000|
|Carlos Ortiz||0.9%||+8000||Joel Dahmen||0.9%||+10000|
|Ryan Palmer||0.8%||+8000||Kevin Na||0.8%||+8000|
|Graeme McDowell||0.7%||+10000||Pat Perez||0.7%||+9000|
|Emiliano Grillo||0.7%||+8000||Alex Noren||0.7%||+4100|
|Zhang Xinjun||0.7%||+15000||Brian Stuard||0.7%||+6500|
Justin Thomas (+500 on FanDuel Sportsbook) unsurprisingly has the best win odds in the simulations, but the betting value isn't really there for an outright. He'd need to be roughly 16% likely to win, so if picking him, you'll want to balance the rest of your card with longshots.
Webb Simpson (+1200), Patrick Reed (+1100), Hideki Matsuyama (+1600), and Matt Kuchar (+2200) all look like better places to begin your betting card, Simpson being my preference, as he -- via FantasyNational -- ranks 7th in strokes gained: approach, 23rd in strokes gained: around the green, and 48th in fairways gained over the past 50 rounds. Merely avoiding Thomas should let you pepper this second and third tier, which is my preferred method this week. Longshots can win at Waialae, but this tier does separate itself before a pretty substantial drop off.
Everything else looks pretty balanced, and there's marginal value throughout. Sebastian Munoz (+6500) and Vaughn Taylor (+9000) would be two golfers who draw my attention based on their simulations and course fit.
Xin-Jun Zhang (+15000) could be worth a stab but has more appeal as a top-10 bet (+1600).