2015 PGA Championship

This week, the PGA championship makes their 3rd appearance at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Wisconsin.   Here I’ve listed the golfers that comprise my top foursome, based on the combination of the stats Ball Striking & Scrambling:
JASON DAY
11/12/87
#5 golfer in the world
9th year on tour.
2015:   13 of 15 cuts made, 7 top 10s, 2 wins.
Lifetime 129 of 166 cuts made, 43 top 10s, 4 wins.
Top 10 scores: driving distnce, strokes gained, scoring average, all-around, going for green, approaches 200-225, approaches 175-200 from rough, putting average, low round, round 1 scoring, back 9 and early scoring, par 3 & 4, final round, bounce back.
2nd appearance at Whistling Straits. Scores in 2010: 69-72-66-74, tied for 10th.
Overall,rather average outlook. Can’t rely on power; must be able to succeed at his short game as well as what’s right in front of him. Also must keep emotions in check,which will be difficult as he’s on an emotional critical day to start the tournament.

JORDAN SPIETH
7/27/93
#2 on tour. 3rd full year. This year: 18 of 20 cuts, 13 top 10s, 4 wins.    Career: 65 of 78 cuts, 30 top 10s, 5 wins.
Top 10s: strokes gained, scoring average, all-around, approaches above 200, approaches over 100 from rough, along with 175-200,50-125, 100-125, 75-100
1st appearance at this course.
Outlook is mixed.  Physically in generally good shape.Mental game is off for the first 2 days. Emotionally feeling somewhat down. No sense of awareness. He’ll succeed as far as his pure power can guide him.
HIDEKI  MATSUYAMA  2/25/92
#15 on tour, 2nd full year.
This year, made 18 of 19 tourneys, with 8 top 10s. Lifetime: 46 of 53 cuts made, 14 top 10s, 1 win.
Top 10s: strokes gained, eagles per hole, total driving, all-around, total driving, approaches 175-200 and 100-125, putting from 10′, front 9, par 4, final round
First appearance at Whistling Straits
Terrible outlook. Physical/mental cycles way down, and starts tourney with intuition critical day. Just doesn’t have it to make the cut here.
WEBB SIMPSON
8/8/85
World #47, in his 7th full year on tour.  This year he has made 14 of 17 cuts, 4 top 10s.  Lifetime: 133 of 183 cuts, 43 top 10s, 4 wins.   First appearance at Whistling Straits.
Top 10s: Strokes gained tee-to-green, approaches 225-250, low round, par 5..
Not the best cycles but the best of my foursome.Very weak physically,tho his mental faculties are quite strong; must rely on short game.

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.

US Open (golf) analysis

This time around, no practice green, nor dress rehearsal.  Instead of factoring the US Open for last week, I’m properly including my foursome for this week.   As with the prior post, I’m calculating and ranking golfers the same way (ball striking/scrambling)  Before we get to my top 4, some humor: Local realtor has two placards for southern-bound traffic “Welcome US Open Golfers” “But I’ll be at Lake Spanaway GC“. Who could blame the owner when Lake Spanaway has $20/round specials before 7am and after 3pm, $40 midday?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA qualified being in top 60 in leaderboard for official world golf ranking. He stands as #14 on the PGA Tour.  15 of 16 cuts this year with 13 top 10s.  Lifetime 43 of 50 cuts made, 14 top 10s, 1 win.   3rd US Open appearance; best finish, 10th.
Top 10s:  GIR%, strokes gained tee to green, eagles per hole, all-around, approaches from 100-125 yards, 175-200; front 9, par 4, final round.
2/25/1992
Very auspicious week for Hideki, as all cycles are pointed up and rising. Might make some mental blunders on day one but he will be quick to improve on them.
JASON DAY is world #10. 9 of 11 cuts made, 4 top 10s, 1 win. Lifetime: 125 of 162, 40 top 10s, 3 wins.    Top 10s: driving distance, birdie average (leader), all-around,going for the green, approaches 50-125 yards, putting average (automatic from within 3’, and very strong above 20’), birdie or better conversion,  par breakers (leader), early scoring, round 4 and final round, par 3 and par 4, bounce back.  Made all 4 cuts at the US Open prior with ranks from 2nd (twice) to 59th..
 
11/12/1987
Rather mixed chart here…Starts out with a pair of critical days, so he’ll feel rather off-kilter despite being at his peak physically. Generally a case of ‘grip it and rip it’.  Hoping he can survive the cut but I have my doubts.
WEBB SIMPSON is world #41 and won the 2012 US Open. 11 of 13 cuts this year, 4 top 10s.  Lifetime: 130 of 179, 43 top 10s, 4 wins.  He also finished 14th, 32nd and 45th in his only other appearances at this major. Top 10s: strokes gained tee to green, all-around, going for the green, approaches 75-100 and 150-175, round 1 scoring (leader), early scoring, par 3 and par 5s,
8/8/85
Might be a tough 4 days.  Physically approaching peak, yet also is facing double critical day, and will be rather off the mark a lot.  Not sure he will survive unless he relies on his success on par 5s.
JORDAN SPIETH, world #2 made 14 of 16 cuts, 9 top 10s, 2 wins in 2015. Lifetime: 61 of 74, 26 top 10s, 3 wins. Top 10s: Strokes gained tee to green, birdie and scoring average (leader), rough proximity (leader), approaches over 100 (leader), 150-175, 50-125 (leader), 100-125 (leader), 75-100; putting average and putts per round (leads in both, especially in round 2),3-putt avoidance, putts per round-round 1 and 2, putting 20-25’; birdie or better conversion, par breakers, round 2 scoring, front 9 (leader) as well as back 9, late scoring (leader), all par 4s (leader). Makes 4th appearance in this major after being low amateur and 21st in 2012, cut in 2013, and 17th last year.
7/27/93
Mostly negative outlook here. He might make the right decisions, but he’ll find his power and emo outlook rather lacking.Don’t expect see him competing on Sunday.

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.

My 2015 Masters tournament prediction; best foursome, holes

Looking at this year’s first golf major, always the Masters, always Augusta GA, I again present my top foursome, based on two major stats that I evaluate golfers by: Scrambling (the ability to score well after getting into trouble) and ball striking (command of ball), essentially the combo of Greens In Regulation A% and Total Driving stats as measured by the PGA Tour.  These are golfers you want in your fantasy majors foursomes, or at least fantasy leagues:
Henrik Stenson 4 4 I rank best overall among the four.  World #2 has never done better than 14th, last year’s result, at Augusta National. Probably the best golfer yet to win a major, finishing as well as 2nd in the 2013 British Open. Survived 6 cuts in 9 straight appearances at The Masters. Best ever round was the 4th in 2013 with a 69.
Top 10s this year in the following categories: GIR %, Strokes Gained: Total (1), Holes per Eagle, Scoring Average, Clubhead Speed, approaches from 125-150, approaches from the rough at 175-200, Scrambling, total putting, average distance of putts made, putts from various length as long as 15’, scoring averages in rounds 1 and 4 and also back 9, par3 and par4 scoring average.
Best holes at Augusta:  2  8  13   14   15
Worst: 4 5 7 10 11 12 16 17 18
Hideki Matsuyama had a stellar amateur career winning low amateur title at Augusta in 2011, and has done well on the Japan Golf Tour. This is his 2nd year on the PGA Tour.  He’s finished in the top 30 in all four PGA majors. Best finish in the Masters was 27th in 2011.  He’s making his 4th appearance after surviving 2011 and 2012, and then cut in 2014.
Top 10s this year: Strokes gained (total), holes per eagle, total driving (1), ball striking, all-around, approaches 100-125 yards and 175-200, scrambling from fringe (1), front 9 and late scoring average, par 4 scoring, par 4 birdie or better, consecutive birdies/eagles streak.
Best holes at Augusta:  2 3   8   13  15 16
worst 1 4 6  7  9  10  11 12 17 18
Webb Simpson is on his 8th year on tour, on several national teams as both amateur an pro. Winner of the 2012 US Open. 3 appearances at Augusta, tied for 44th, cut twice.
Top 10s:
Strokes gained tee to green, birdie and scoring average, ball striking, approaches 75-100 and 125-200 yards; scrambling, par breakers, early scoring average, par 5 scoring,
Best 2 3 8 9 13 15
Worst 1  4  5 7 10  11  12 16 17 18
Jason Day  is another who’s done very well in majors yet has yet to win a major. He’s been 2nd in the Masters the US Open (both in 2011). 7 wins lifetime.  Survived 14 of 17 cuts in majors.
World rank: 5th. 4 appearances at Augusta National, tied 2, 3rd, 20th, withdrawn.
Top 10s:  Driving distance, GIR%, Birdie average, scoring averagee, sand save %, all-around (1), going for the green (birdie or better), approaches from 50-125 yards, scrambling from 20-30 yards, putting average, putting from 4’, from 8’, par breakers (1), round 4, early and back 9 scoring averages, par 3 and par 4 scoring, birdie or better % (1), bounce back (1),

Best holes at Augusta:

best 2 3 8 9 13 14 15 16
worst 1 4 6 10 11 17 18
I’d side with Jason Day here, who has about as many great holes as terrible ones.
Overall the 4 golfers all seem to do their best on the 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 13th, 15th holes.  Worst ones, and certainly the holes to watch most: 1st, 4th, 7th, 10th, 11th 12th (all 3 on Amen Corner),17th, 18th.