Gdula's Golf Simulations: The Genesis Invitational
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 Genesis Invitational.
|Rory McIlroy||11.4%||+750||Justin Thomas||8.2%||+1000|
|Jon Rahm||8.1%||+1000||Patrick Cantlay||5.0%||+2000|
|Adam Scott||5.0%||+2900||Xander Schauffele||4.9%||+2200|
|Dustin Johnson||4.7%||+1400||Justin Rose||3.7%||+3700|
|Hideki Matsuyama||3.2%||+2900||Tiger Woods||2.7%||+1600|
|Brooks Koepka||2.5%||+2000||Patrick Reed||1.9%||+4200|
|Tony Finau||1.7%||+2700||Paul Casey||1.6%||+4500|
|Collin Morikawa||1.5%||+3300||Jordan Spieth||1.5%||+3400|
|Jason Day||1.3%||+3400||Sungjae Im||1.2%||+5000|
|Jason Kokrak||1.2%||+10000||Matt Kuchar||1.2%||+5500|
|Matthew Fitzpatrick||1.1%||+7000||Max Homa||1.1%||+9000|
|Bubba Watson||1.1%||+2000||Marc Leishman||1.0%||+3300|
|Bryson DeChambeau||1.0%||+4200||Phil Mickelson||1.0%||+4800|
|Ryan Moore||1.0%||+9000||Abraham Ancer||1.0%||+6000|
|Brendon Todd||0.8%||+10000||Andrew Putnam||0.8%||+15000|
|Cameron Smith||0.7%||+8000||Sergio Garcia||0.7%||+5000|
|Charles Howell III||0.7%||+9000||Matthew Wolff||0.6%||+10000|
|Joaquin Niemann||0.6%||+9000||Scottie Scheffler||0.6%||+9000|
This is not only loaded but also top-heavy (which is usually the same thing but not always). Sometimes, that means there isn't a lot of value to be found, and that is somewhat the case this week.
Rory McIlroy (+750 on FanDuel Sportsbook) is valued pretty fairly, but Justin Thomas (+1000) and Jon Rahm (+1000) are a little more overpriced. It's not egregious to start your cards with one of the three if you want, but I'm more drawn to the next tier, where there's more tangible value.
Patrick Cantlay (+2000), Adam Scott (+2900), Xander Schauffele (+2200), Justin Rose (+3700), and Hideki Matsuyama (+2900) all have some positive return attached to their names based on the modeling. This is where I'm starting with my betting card for the week with action on Hideki and Scott already. I think this is the best overall range -- cutting off the favorites and looking at the second and third tier -- for our action.
After that tier, things really drop off in terms of win equity, and then the field bottoms out into the abyss. We've seen some long shot winners over the past few years (J.B. Holmes last year, James Hahn in 2015, and John Merrick in 2013), so we don't have to shrug and wait until next week. That being said, there isn't much to differentiate the long shots in terms of the model projections. We can look for golfers who are a good course fit and who pique your interest. The projections are mostly indifferent about them.