2015 RBC Canadian Open selections

RBC Canadian Open, an early claimant to ‘5th major’ status in PGA history, returns to Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Ontario, a Nicklaus design.
For this week, I have 3 golfers who fit in the top 50 of both Ball Striking and Scrambling

11/12/87  #9 in the world. 10th year on the tour.  11 of 13 cuts made this year, 6 top 10s, 1 win. Lifetime: 127 of 164 with 42 top 10s, 3 wins.
Top 10s: Driving distance, birdie average, all around, going for the green, approaches from 200-225, 100-125, +-50-125, putting average (never missed under 3’ this year),putting over 20’, low round, scoring average, round 1 scoring, back 9, early, par 4, final round, bounce back

Glen Abbey history:
2008: 65-75-69-73, tied for 48th. Best holes: 4, 5, 15, 18. Worst: 14, 16.
2009: 70-70-72-71, 52nd. Best holes: 11, 16, 17, 18. Worst: 4, 6, 12
Very weak physically but is attuned to his surroundings, and should have his short game developed well to succeed.
#3 in the world. 10th full year on tour. This year: 10 of 12 cuts made, 5 top 10s 2 wins.  Lifetime: 158 of 225, 92 top 25s, 43 top 10s, 8 wins.
Top 10s: driving distance, strokes gained, holes per eagle, scoring average, club head speed, going for green, approaches 225-250, 125-150, round 1 scoring, front 9, par 5, bounce back.
2008 69-73, missed cut. Best: 13. Worst: 9.
2009 75-68, missed cut Best holes: 2, 15, 16. Worst: 4
2013  68-67-72-73,21st Best holes: 2, 12, 18. Worst: 8
Here’s an example of what Bubba can do, and did…
Physical critical day for round 1 will not help his chances right off, nor his low emo and intuitive cycles.  Mentally he’s rather strong.  He should invest more into his short game.  The good news is that his overall athletic ability is good as well as focus  Not one to throw out.
Ranks #248 in the world.  4th year on tour.  This year, made 18 of 21 cuts, 6 top 25s. Lifetime: 36 of 60 cuts, 11 top 25s, just 2 top 10s.   No top 10 stats.   First appearance at Glen Abbey.
Mixed bag  but on the negative side. Physically and intuitively is fine but a real negative outlook, not connecting well to the surroundings.  Wisdom levels very low; cannot make crucial decisions well. Intuition will fail him if he makes it to the weekend.   Likely not to make the cut.

2015 British Open prediction

This year’s British Open returns to its virtual birthplace at the Royal and
Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews, at the Old Course. I’ve played the virtual
course many times over in years past, and feel pretty familiar with the
course.  I’m looking forward to this, seeing how the best players in the
world handle the changing weather and the unique placement of sand traps. I
love Hole O’Cross and Long (holes 5 and 14) for both their length, angles
and for its hit and miss traps.  17, the Road hole, is arguably the most
famous par 4 of them all, and for good reason. You have to skillfully get
the ball off tee over a slight wall into a narrow fairway, then choose from
one of two angles depending on the flagstick.  One takes you in the path of
a humongous bunker, the other puts the road itself into play, which is out
of bounds.   Par is quite good there.      Continuing my theme of ranking
golfers on ball striking and scrambling, here is my British Open foursome:
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA 2/25/92  makes his debut at the Old Course, qualifying via
his #14 rank.  16 of 17 cuts made this year, 8 top 10s, no wins. Lifetime:
44 of 52 cuts made, 14 top 10s, 1 win.  A rather impressive record for this
23YO. And it gets better: made 10 of 11cuts in majors, with 3 top 10s, and 1
top 5. 3rd British Open appearance.  Top 10 in these stats: 9th in greens in
regulation, 5th in strokes gained total, holes per eagle, total driving,
all-around, approaches 100-125, 175-200, proximity to hole from sand, par 4
scoring, final round performance.
Good cycles for pure physicality and passion, but little else to show for
it.  Overall a rather mixed bag. He’s quite prone to making mental errors.
Round 3, if he gets here will see him appear oft-kilter physically.
JORDAN SPIETH 7/27/93 can possibly win his 3rd straight major. He qualifies
via his #2 ranking.  16 of 18 cuts made this year, 11 top 10s, 4 wins
including the 2 majors.  Lifetime: 63 of 76 cuts made, 28 top 10s, 5 wins.
First appearance at the Old Course. Top 10s: Strokes gained (total), scoring
average, all-around, rough proximity, approaches 200-225, 150-175, 50-125,
100-125, 75-100, putting average, par breakers, round 2 and 3 scoring, par 3
and 4 scoring.
Rather negative outlook for the 2-major champ.His mental and intuitive
acumen are very strong here. Awareness couldn’t be any better.But he’s
lacking in the physical strength necessary as well as his emotional makeup.
The passion is just not there.  Even if he somehow survives the cut he’s got
a physical critical to deal with in Round 3.
DANIEL BERGER  4/7/93 qualified as one of the alternates so as to help fill
out the field of 156.  Currently #78 in the world, he makes just his 2nd
major appearance and first at the British Open. No prior appearances at St.
Andrews.  This is his first full year on the PGA tour, after a year on the
lower Web.com circuit. Lifetime 15 cuts made of 24,with 10 top 25s, 5 top
10s, no wins.  Top 10s on the tour this year in these categories: Approaches
200-225 yards, all approaches over 200, longest hole outs in yards, back 9
scoring average.
This is an example of his magic in a big rookie season:
Mental/emotional game very shaky for Daniel, prone to making quirky
decisions and mouth off some. No real passion, tho his intuition may
actually bail him out. Don’t expect to see him on the weekend.
BUBBA WATSON   11/5/78, #3 in the world, qualified via his ranking.
  7th appearance at the Open, making just 3 prior cuts.  This year, 10 of 11
cuts made, 5 top 10s, 2 wins.  Lifetime: 158 of 224 cuts, 43 top 10s, 8
wins, including the Masters twice.  In his lone St. Andrews appearance in
2010 he went 74-73, missing the cut by one shot.  He would card double
bogeys on both rounds at the 17th, plus bogeys on the 15th.  Maybe he could
Top 10s: Driving distance, strokes gained (total), holes per eagle, birdie
and scoring average, clubhead speed, going for the green, approaches from
225-250 and 125-150, overall putting, round 1 and front 9 scoring, par 5s,
bounce back.
Tough cycles for Bubba, very sluggish and feeling rather down. Not much for
his intuition either.His awareness is keen, but he’s not going to feel
especially plugged in for this tournament. Passion is way down.
Between these 4 I actually rank Matsuyama the best.

2015 US Open (golf) analysis

Well look at this! Golf’s US Open is practically in my backyard, just north of my locale of Tacoma WA.  Being specific, it’s Chambers Bay, which has the look of a links course, and is Golf Magazine’s #64 ranked course in the USA.  I suggest  you read up on coverage of this course from one who’s played it, http://www.golftripper.com/chambers-bay/
For this spot here, as with all major events, I look at just 2 sets of data, scrambling and ball striking, and set out to find the best available foursome who ranks in both, and see which of them will do well. Bonus points go to those who’ve actually played on the course before.  Here’s that foursome in order of preference:

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: is world #14, and makes his first appearance at Chambers Bay, and his 3rd US Open (peaked at 10th in 2013). This year he’s missed 1 cut in 15 tourneys and has 12 placings in the top 25. Lifetime 42 of 50 cuts, 13 top 10s and one win, last year’s Memorial.

Notable top 10 ranks: Greens in regulation, strokes gained, holes per eagle, total driving, all-around, approaches 100-125 and 175-200 out, scrambling from fringe (leader), front 9 scoring (leader),par 4s, final round.
Awful cycles for Hideki here as they are low and getting lower. Do not expect him to make the cut.
WEBB SIMPSON is world #40, with 11 of 12 cuts made, 4 top 10s. Lifetime he has 130 out of 178 cuts, with 43 top 10s, 4 wins, including the 2012 US Open, his lone major score.
Top 10s: Strokes gained, total driving, all-around, going for green birdie or better, approaches 125-175, proximity to hole from sand, scoring average, round 1 scoring (leader), early scoring, par 3, par 5, bounce back.
Chart is pretty decent…Wisdom and aesthetic cycles plus the general mental cycles are in good positive motion. The mental game will have to be strong as he cannot rely on long drives.
JORDAN SPIETH is the world #2 and this year’s Masters champion, his lone major title.  13 of 15 cuts made in 2015, 8 top 10s, 2 wins.  Lifetime:60 of 73 cuts, 25 top 10s, 3 wins. 3rd US Open, best finish was 17th last year.
Top 10s: Strokes gained,birdie average, scoring average (leader), all-around, rough proximity (leader), approaches over 100 yards (leader), approaches inside 100,150-175, 50-125,100-125,75-100,putting average (leader), putts per round, putting 20’-25’,round 2 and late scoring average, par 4 birdie or better (leader)

Strongest cycles:Physical,emotional,intuition, awareness, passion. Lacking in mental and aesthetic cycle strength.

Very good lines for Spieth….expect him to survive and compete well. I say, grip and rip.
BUBBA WATSON   enters as world #3..This year, 8 for 8 in cuts, 4 top 10s, 1 win. Lifetime 156 of 216 cuts made, 42 top 10s, 7 wins, and owns 2 wins in the Masters.Best US Open:  tied for 5th in 2007.
Top 10s: Driving distance,strokes gained, holes per eagle, scoring average, clubhead speed, going for green, approaches over 275 yards and 225-250 and 50-75.  overall putting, especially within 5 feet, par breakers, front 9 scoring, par 3s, par 5s (leader), bounce back.
Cycles: Emotional, awareness cycles are strongly positive.   Decent outlook, should survive the cut but physical cycle is lacking and in fact may be his undoing as he must contend with a critical phase for round 4.

2014 Players Championship contender analysis

The PLAYERS Championship is the PGA golf event with the largest cash prizes awarded on tour, and the presence of the top players on tour on par with the majors, yet is still the most prestigious of the non-major events. That include the spectre of having an island green for a hole, the now infamous 17th at TPC Sawgrass.

Here are my foursome for the week, based on the combined stats of ball striking and scrambling, listing top 10 accomplishments on tour for 2014 thus far:

Bubba Watson: driving distance, holes per eagle, scoring average, all around, par 3 and par 4 birdie or better, top 10 finishes, scrambling, par 3 performance, scrambling from over 30 yards, GIR % under 75 yards, approaches 175-200, putts inside 5′, 15-20′ and 15′ to 25′, driving % over 300 and 320 yards, GIR % other than fairway, scrambling from rough, 3 putt avoidance, distance to hole after tee, plus 7 radar stats.
2013 37th 286
2011 45th 286
2010 cut
2009 37th 288
2008 cut
2007 cut
286 average

Not terrible stats as they are all pointing the right way, but he’s pretty sensitive to the conditions of the game and he’ll be somewhat off mentally for round 2, and he’s pretty weak physically. Would not lock him in to make the cut but anything’s certainly possible. Don’t expect too much from him if he does survive the 4 rounds.

2008 winner of this tournament Sergio Garcia:
Scoring average, sand save %, all around, par 4 birdie or better, scrambling, par 3 and 4 performance, scrambling from over 30 yards, GIR% under 70 yards and 175-200, approaches 200-225 yards, putting inside 5′, 10-15′, and over 25′, GIR% other than fairway, and 3 radar stats
2013 T8th, 281
2012 T56th, 291
2011 T12th, 280
2010 47th, 288
2009 T22, 286
2008 won, 283
2007 2nd, 279
2006 T14, 286
2005 T32, 289
2004 T53, 290
2003 cut
2002 T4, 284
2001 T50, 293
2000 cut
285 average

Very good strength for the 4 days, mental game improving, tho he’s feeling rather disconnected from his surroundings. Overall I do like his chances, especially if he can land his share of GIR and approaches,

Zach Johnson
Driving accuracy, all around, par 3 birdie or better, scrambling, par 3 and 4 birdie performance, GIR% under 100 and 125 yards, approaches 50-125 yards, putting over 25′, and 1 radar stat
2013 T19, 283
2012 T2, 277
2011 T12, 280
2010 T22, 282
2009 T32, 287
2008 cut
2007 T16, 285
2006 T58, 297
2005 T8, 283
284 average
Best of this foursome scoring-wise in this tournament.
No real strength to his drives, but he’s invested more emotionally in the game here. He’ll also make more than his share of mental errors. Tough cycles for a golfer. The passion’s there but waning.

Charles Howell III
Total birdies, top 10 finishes, par 4 and 5 performance, driving % over 300, GIR% other than fairway, 0 radar stats
2013 T66 291
2012 cut
2011 cut
2010 cut
2009 cut
2008 cut
2007 79th, 298
2006 T53, 295
2005 cut
2004 cut
2003 T32, 287
2002 T60, 295
293 average

Quite a week ahead for Charles, with all 4 cycles strongly up, and only has to weather some physical miscues in the first 2 rounds and do his best on those par 4s and par 5s. If he does, he’s a strong contender.

2014 Masters tournament analysis

My fandom of golf is really more about the competition rather than rooting
for household names. Though, I will appreciate a good guy to fans (Lefty), a
feel-good story, or a one-win player who just got their card recently and
got the magic invite, (how about Matt Jones and the called chip-in Sunday!)
to Augusta National, or a player or three who have great resumes but have
not yet won a major (hello again, Sergio Garcia).

That typed, I’m not a Tiger fan, and I won’t watch (or refuse to watch)
based on whether or not Tiger is involved.

I believe in fair courses. After all, golf ideally is man vs the elements,
especially in links courses. The best golf does reward good driving and
approaches, punishes really bad shots, and has a decent but not overly sense
of fairness to it. Some courses specialize in having trees, water, sand,
rough, all of it, as prime hazards. I haven’t calculated or begun to figure
out which holes or courses at large have the most trouble of different types
to overcome, but I can certainly give you my take on whether or not a hole
is really good. Frankly, I’d like risk-reward holes over any other type.
Prototypical is the 17th ‘island’ hole in The Players Championship. Any
hole that I call a knee-knocker, one where you really have to watch your
yardage and wind situation, say, the 18th at Pebble Beach, or sometimes the
1st at St. Andrews, is worth viewing. I have sometimes played the
interactive World Golf Tour, and I really like the narrow dogleg fairways
and risky holes of Congressional Country Club, notably the 6th, where you
have a risk-reward element on your 2nd shot. Do you go over the water to the
green or lay up in a bottleneck fairway? So many ways to score low or high
on it. That’s what I love about golf, and about great players who make those
I guess that’s why I put a premium on two stats above all others: Ball
Striking (combo of rank in ‘Total Driving’, which itself combines driving
distance and accuracy) and Scrambling, the art of getting into trouble and
out of it again, and still scoring par or better. The best in Total Driving
on the PGA Tour right now, and whom you’ll see at Augusta, is Derek Ernst.
Best in Scrambling? Sergio Garcia.

What I did here was take the combined ranks of the players listed in both
categories, and used the lowest raw scores to determine my ideal foursome
who should contend and win in the Masters.
Sergio is 1st in Scrambling, 20th in Ball Striking = 21
Zach Johnson 11th in Scrambling, 17th in Ball Striking = 28
Bubba Watson 10th in Scrambling, 22nd in Ball Striking = 32
Webb Simpson 25th and 19th = 44
Just behind these: John Senden, 28th, 17th = 45
Also notable but not playing this week: Chris Stroud, Charles Howell III,
Russell Knox, Brendan Steele.

A little more about each player:
Sergio, as cited above, seems to be on everyone’s list as the best player
without a major title. 8 Tour wins. Currently #1 in Scoring Average on the
PGA Tour, 3rd in Sand Saves, 9th All-Around, 3rd in Par 4 Birdie or Better,
3rd in Par 4 performance. Top 10 also in these categories: Scrambling over
30 yards, Greens in Regulation under 75 and also 175-200, approaches
200-225, putting from inside 5′, over 25′, rough proximity, average distance
of putts made, 3-putt avoidance, back 9 scoring average, club head speed,
spin rate, distance to apex.
Average round at Augusta: 72.96 (low 66, high 79), making 11 of 15 cuts.
Best finish: 4th.
Here are his biorhythm cycles for the 4 day tournament:

On the negative side but might see an emotional surge, a rather uphill battle for the 1st 2 rounds. Doubtful he will be able to execute, especially with the physical critical day for round 2. Not sure he’ll make the cut.

Zach Johnson won this tournament in 2007. Top 10 in these stats: Driving
accuracy %, birdie and scoring average, all-around, par breakers, par 3-4
birdie or better, bounce back, par 3 and 4 performance, GIR % 150-175, GIR
under 125 and under 100, putting over 25′, right rough tendency, fairway
proximity, scrambling from rough, back 9 scoring, launch angle.
Average round at Augusta: 73.27 (low 68, high 81), making 6 of 9 cuts.

All depends on day 1 as his strength is just past his peak but prone to mental errors. In fact, a double critical approach in the first 3 rounds. I think he’ll survive but has to avoid thinking with his heart and just go for it.
Bubba Watson won the 2012 Masters. Top 10s: Driving distance, holes per
eagle, par 4 birdie or better, round 3 and final round scoring, par 4
performance, scrambling over 30 yards, GIR % under 75 yards; approaches
175-200, putting inside 5′, 15′-20 and 15′-25′, driving % over 300 yards,
GIR % other than fairway, going for the green, scrambling from rough, 3 putt
avoidance, avg distance to hole after tee, avg distance after going for it,
club head speed, ball speed, distance to apex, apex height, hang time, carry
Average at Augusta: 72.15 (low 67, high 78), making all 5 cuts.

He’s quite likely to outthink the competition and master this course. It comes down to the execution, and right now he’s fairly lacking in that department. He’ll have to rely on his short game and putting here.

Webb Simpson qualified bywinning the 2012 US Open. 4 Tour wins.
Top 10s: Strokes gained in putting, birdie average, all-around, par
breakers, par 5 birdie or better, putting 10′-15′ and 20′-25′, avg distance
of putts made, proximity to hole from sand.
73.83 average at Augusta, (low 70, high 78), making 1 of 2 cuts. Best
finish: 44th.

Amazingly, Webb has a triple high for exactly one day, while feeling the effect of a mental critical and a coming emotional critical on top of that. Physically he’s in peak form. Very good cycles for the 4 days. He’d have to rely on the long distance and hope he can be fairly accurate to adhere to his stats, especially GIR, seeking his success with putting.

I’d pick Webb to do the best of this foursome, tho I truly think these 4 are most likely to contend at Augusta among the 97 playing, and even to win.