Gdula's Golf Simulations: U.S. Open

Where's the value on FanDuel Sportsbook for the U.S. Open at Winged Foot?

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.

After using an average of those two models, I've now swapped to the newer model, which has fared better and is capable of easier course-level adjustments.

Here are the simulation results for the U.S. Open.

Golfer Simulated
Win Odds
Golfer Simulated
Win Odds
Jon Rahm 7.5% +1000 Justin Thomas 6.5% +1400
Dustin Johnson 5.3% +850 Xander Schauffele 4.9% +1400
Rory McIlroy 4.6% +1600 Webb Simpson 4.0% +2800
Hideki Matsuyama 3.1% +3500 Patrick Cantlay 2.8% +2700
Bryson DeChambeau 2.8% +2800 Patrick Reed 2.8% +3600
Collin Morikawa 2.7% +1800 Tyrrell Hatton 2.6% +4500
Daniel Berger 2.3% +3000 Adam Scott 1.8% +4000
Tony Finau 1.5% +3500 Matthew Fitzpatrick 1.4% +4800
Rickie Fowler 1.4% +6500 Tiger Woods 1.3% +4800
Viktor Hovland 1.3% +6500 Gary Woodland 1.3% +8000
Harris English 1.2% +7000 Jason Day 1.2% +4000
Sungjae Im 1.2% +8000 Tommy Fleetwood 1.1% +3300
Abraham Ancer 1.1% +8000 Matthew Wolff 1.0% +6500
Justin Rose 1.0% +5000 Paul Casey 1.0% +5000
Will Zalatoris 0.9% +12000 Corey Conners 0.9% +21000
Matt Kuchar 0.9% +15000 Louis Oosthuizen 0.8% +7500
Billy Horschel 0.8% +15000 Kevin Kisner 0.7% +10000
Joaquin Niemann 0.7% +11000 Brendon Todd 0.7% +8500

Once again, Jon Rahm rates out as the most likely winner in my simulations because he's very good, but there isn't enough value on him at +1000 on FanDuel Sportsbook to want to go there. That said, he and Justin Thomas (+1400) are in a much better value spot than Dustin Johnson. I just can't get behind Johnson at +850.

My model likes Webb Simpson (+2800) to outperform expectations. Simpson won't gain distance on the field, but the rough at Winged Foot is tough enough that we should value driving accuracy. Simpson checks the boxes everywhere but distance, so I'm intrigued here.

Once again, Hideki Matsuyama (+3500) looks like a value, but it's just really hard to back Matsuyama at a course where putting could determine the winner. The greens are no joke, and so I'm going to pass here.

Patrick Reed (+3600) is priced exactly where he should be based on my model. He can grind out pars with the best of them and is a strong poa putter. He'll get a ticket from me for this week.

Gary Woodland (+8000) and Sungjae Im (+8000) lived up to their odds in the simulations as well. Expecting Woodland to go back-to-back at the U.S. Open is a bit overconfident, but there's probably no real statistical basis to feel that way.

I'm a little out over my skis from U.S. Open excitement, but I've got outrights on Reed, Matthew Wolff, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton, Sungjae Im -- and a ticket on Tony Finau placed in the summer.