Gdula's Golf Simulations: The Honda Classic
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 Honda Classic.
|Tommy Fleetwood||6.1%||+1200||Gary Woodland||5.2%||+2000|
|Rickie Fowler||5.0%||+1200||Brooks Koepka||4.9%||+1100|
|Justin Rose||4.7%||+2000||Louis Oosthuizen||4.3%||+2700|
|Billy Horschel||3.7%||+2700||Shane Lowry||3.3%||+3700|
|Byeong Hun An||3.2%||+2900||Sungjae Im||2.6%||+3100|
|Jason Kokrak||2.0%||+5000||Vaughn Taylor||2.0%||+9000|
|Erik van Rooyen||1.9%||+3700||Viktor Hovland||1.8%||+2700|
|Corey Conners||1.6%||+4000||Joaquin Niemann||1.6%||+4500|
|Jim Furyk||1.5%||+9000||Ryan Palmer||1.4%||+6500|
|Kevin Streelman||1.3%||+5500||Harris English||1.3%||+6000|
|Brian Harman||1.2%||+10000||Rory Sabbatini||1.2%||+10000|
|Ian Poulter||1.2%||+6000||Russell Knox||1.0%||+8000|
|Harold Varner III||1.0%||+6500||Jhonattan Vegas||1.0%||+6500|
|JT Poston||1.0%||+5500||Daniel Berger||1.0%||+2900|
|Matthew Wolff||0.9%||+5500||Keith Mitchell||0.9%||+6000|
|Wyndham Clark||0.8%||+6500||Lucas Glover||0.8%||+6500|
|Keegan Bradley||0.8%||+8000||Tom Lewis||0.8%||+10000|
|Lee Westwood||0.8%||+6000||Sam Burns||0.8%||+6500|
Whew, buddy. Pricing is tight and accurate this week so far. It's a pretty decent field at the top with no real standout winners, no real heavy favorites. That's reflected in the opening odds.
Tommy Fleetwood (+1200 on FanDuel Sportsbook) is the favorite in the simulations, but it's a pretty clustered bunch at the top with he, Rickie Fowler (+1200), Brooks Koepka (+1100), Justin Rose (+2000), Gary Woodland (+2000), and Louis Oosthuizen (+2700).
Recent winners here have been between 5 and 13 under par at the difficult course and have been a mixture of favorites (Justin Thomas in 2018, Rickie Fowler in 2017, and Adam Scott in 2016) as well as long shots (Keith Mitchell last year, Padraig Harrington in 2015, and Russell Henley in 2014).
For that reason and for the fact that the pricing and simulations are similar, I'm looking to balance my card with a few shots on the favorites and then going the long shot route. I already have action on Woodland and will be adding another favorite or two before bumping down to the long shots.