Gdula's Golf Simulations: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
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 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
|Dustin Johnson||9.4%||+550||Patrick Cantlay||9.1%||+1000|
|Paul Casey||4.8%||+1600||Jason Day||4.0%||+2000|
|Matthew Fitzpatrick||2.6%||+2200||Brandt Snedeker||2.5%||+2200|
|Viktor Hovland||2.1%||+3100||Matt Kuchar||1.9%||+2700|
|Rafa Cabrera Bello||1.7%||+5000||Jordan Spieth||1.7%||+3300|
|Kevin Kisner||1.7%||+3700||Lucas Glover||1.7%||+6500|
|Adam Hadwin||1.5%||+6000||Russell Knox||1.5%||+4000|
|Graeme McDowell||1.5%||+3300||Phil Mickelson||1.5%||+2700|
|Vaughn Taylor||1.4%||+5500||Max Homa||1.3%||+4800|
|Alexander Noren||1.3%||+3700||Cameron Champ||1.2%||+3400|
|Scott Piercy||1.2%||+5500||Sung Kang||1.1%||+9000|
|Cameron Tringale||1.1%||+13000||Kevin Na||1.1%||+6500|
|Jim Furyk||1.0%||+6500||Chez Reavie||1.0%||+6000|
|Keith Mitchell||0.9%||+10000||J.B. Holmes||0.9%||+5000|
|Lanto Griffin||0.9%||+9000||Daniel Berger||0.8%||+4200|
|Pat Perez||0.8%||+9000||Xinjun Zhang||0.8%||+9000|
|Aaron Wise||0.7%||+10000||Nate Lashley||0.7%||+8000|
|Kevin Streelman||0.7%||+8000||Kiradech Aphibarnrat||0.7%||+21000|
The heavy favorite is Pebble Beach maven Dustin Johnson (+550 on FanDuel Sportsbook), which shouldn't surprise us. However, he's not a runaway, and Patrick Cantlay (+1000) won nearly as often and can be had at a much more appropriate price. Cantlay lacks the event form that Johnson has but has been every bit as good over the past calendar year -- if not better. Paul Casey (+1600) is priced appropriately but is not the worst place to start a betting card.
Value is hard to find in the soft-field, 60-golfer, 54-hole cut event. Rafael Cabrera-Bello (+5000) enters with lukewarm form but is priced well at an event where he has two straight top-26 finishes. Lucas Glover (+6500) and Adam Hadwin (+6000) are slight positive values.
The overarching theme here is that we're probably best off with a favorite and then some longshots for outright winners, a trend that usually holds up at this event anyway. The expected value points us in that direction.