Gdula's Golf Simulations: Workday Charity Open

What do thousands of simulations have to say about this week's PGA event at Muirfield Village?

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

Over the hiatus, I made some tweaks to my original golf model, which used a combination of the OWGR's field strength numbers and datagolf's field strength numbers to adjust each golfer's score relative to the field (on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, and the Korn Ferry Tour). The ultimate goal was 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. From there, a golfer's adjusted stroke data is combined with their round-to-round variance to see how the field is likely to perform when playing out the event thousands of times.

I liked it, and it worked, but it didn't isolate out tee-to-green and putting performance enough, so I made some alterations, this time leveraging strokes gained data and adjusting that for field strength.

For now, I'm averaging out both models.

Here are the results for the Workday Charity Open.

Golfer Simulated
Win Odds
Golfer Simulated
Win Odds
Justin Thomas 7.4% +1200 Jon Rahm 6.3% +1500
Xander Schauffele 5.4% +2100 Patrick Cantlay 5.2% +1500
Hideki Matsuyama 4.9% +1700 Patrick Reed 4.1% +4000
Brooks Koepka 3.4% +1600 Sungjae Im 2.9% +4000
Justin Rose 2.7% +2600 Collin Morikawa 2.3% +3300
Rickie Fowler 2.2% +3300 Viktor Hovland 2.2% +2200
Matthew Fitzpatrick 1.9% +6500 Gary Woodland 1.9% +5000
Matt Kuchar 1.8% +4300 Marc Leishman 1.5% +4300
Joaquin Niemann 1.4% +4500 Scottie Scheffler 1.4% +8500
Adam Hadwin 1.3% +4500 Louis Oosthuizen 1.3% +8000
Billy Horschel 1.1% +7500 Shane Lowry 1.1% +11000
Sebastian Munoz 1.1% +15000 Jason Kokrak 1.1% +11000
Joel Dahmen 1.1% +8000 Ian Poulter 1.1% +15000
Jordan Spieth 1.0% +4500 Harold Varner III 1.0% +9000
Corey Conners 1.0% +9000 Byeong Hun An 0.9% +7500
Bubba Watson 0.9% +7500 Jason Day 0.8% +8500
Brandt Snedeker 0.8% +10000 Jhonattan Vegas 0.7% +20000
Cameron Champ 0.7% +7500 Kevin Streelman0.6% +7500

This one is a bit top heavy with the sims liking Justin Thomas (+1200) at the top, edging out Jon Rahm (+1500). Thomas is priced appropriately, as is Rahm.

Better value near the top belongs to Xander Schauffele (+2100), who outperformed his posted odds at FanDuel Sportsbook in the simulations. Xander has been my first bet of the week.

Viktor Hovland's (+2200) tee-to-green game has been so good lately that I'm looking to dig in on him once more at a course that somewhat de-emphasizes putting.

Patrick Reed (+4000) looks significantly undervalued at this price, and at the odds, he's an easy pick to justify in the betting market. We can also look to Sungjae Im (+4000), who is a little behind Reed in the simulations but a value option nonetheless.

Matthew Fitzpatrick (+6500) is a solid tee to green player who can really putt well when he's on, and he stands out based on the sims, as well.

So far, I have an outright on Schauffele, Joaquin Niemann, Sungjae Im, and Matthew Fitzpatrick. I also went with a first-round leader on Corey Conners, plus top-10s on Conners, Scottie Scheffler, Carlos Ortiz, and Max Homa.