GOLF

Gdula's Golf Simulations: The American Express

Which golfers rate out as the most likely to win this week's PGA event at a trio of courses?

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.

The Process

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 American Express.

Win Odds

Golfer Wins FanDuel
Sportsbook
Golfer Wins FanDuel
Sportsbook
Rickie Fowler 5.8% +900 Paul Casey 5.4% +1600
Byeong Hun An 3.3% +2700 Billy Horschel 3.1% +2700
Sungjae Im 2.8% +1400 Jason Kokrak 2.7% +3400
Charles Howell III 2.2% +2900 Tony Finau 2.2% +1800
Vaughn Taylor 1.8% +5500 Rory Sabbatini 1.8% +5500
Andrew Putnam 1.8% +4500 Kevin Kisner 1.7% +2900
Ryan Moore 1.7% +5000 JT Poston 1.7% +4100
Sebastian Munoz 1.6% +6000 Kevin Na 1.6% +5500
Francesco Molinari 1.6% +2700 Scottie Scheffler 1.6% +3700
Phil Mickelson 1.5% +4500 Abraham Ancer 1.5% +4100
Chez Reavie 1.5% +4100 Brendon Todd 1.4% +4100
Jhonattan Vegas 1.3% +10000 Lucas Glover 1.3% +3700
Matthew Wolff 1.3% +3700 Scott Piercy 1.3% +9000
Russell Knox 1.2% +5000 Denny McCarthy 1.1% +7000
Harris English 1.1% +6000 Carlos Ortiz 1.0% +10000
Daniel Berger 1.0% +6500 Brian Harman 1.0% +5000
Aaron Wise 0.9% +9000 Joel Dahmen 0.9% +8000
Max Homa 0.9% +15000 Alex Noren0.9% +5000


For the most part, the win equity is low for every golfer based on the win simulations. That's not necessarily true for the odds, however. Rickie Fowler is +900 to win on FanDuel Sportsbook. Fowler should be around 10.0% likely to win -- but he's not really that close. Sungjae Im (+1400) also grades out as overrated.

Paul Casey (+1600) rates out as a significantly better value than Fowler at his odds. Byeong-Hun An and Billy Horschel (both +3700) look like decent enough values, as well, so starting your card with one of these three -- as opposed to Fowler or Im -- is a better mathematical play.

Longer plays who rate out with some expected value: Jason Kokrak (+3400), Vaughn Taylor (+5500), Rory Sabbatini (+5500), and Sebastian Munoz (+6000).