2016 PGA Championship outlook

Thinking on the very place name Baltusrol, my mind flashes back to 1994 or so, when I used to have an assortment of Game Boy cartridges, the originals with that green/grayscale look.  One such game was Jack Nicklaus Golf, a good game with a sand course, a tree course, a water course, and a best-18 featuring The Golden Bear’s favorite holes and shots.  You could play a PC player or Jack himself.  Baltusrol’s 16th, if memory serves correctly, was one of the more challenging holes. You have to play entirely over water, onto a narrow strip as judged by distance. Too little and your ball is wet. Too much, and you have a fair amount of sand to play. I usually opted long and hoped for par.     How do the real live players play 16? Remember Lee Janzen..

I’ve picked out my foursome, none of which are surnamed Janzen. Here’s their current stats and history with the course:

MATT KUCHAR

Qualified mainly for having a competitvely low score in last year’s PGA Championship.  World rank: 17th,
Among the best without a major, he has 12 pro wins since his debut in 2000. First Baltusrol appearance.
370 lifetime events, 84 top 10s, 263 cuts, 7 PGA wins.   Top 5 stats on the Tour currently in these categories: Par 4 scoring average.
CBS also thinks highly of Kuchar
Biorythms: Great cycles. Physical and emotional cycles are on the positive side and upward trending for the tournament. Mental cycle bottoming out.
RUSSELL KNOX
Qualified mainly via being in the top 70 for money earned on the tour this year.
5 pro wins, 8th major championship appearance, tho has made the cut in those just 3 times.  First Baltusrol appearance. World rank: 26th.  On the PGA Tour, he’s been in 108 events, one win, 11 Top 10s, 75 cuts. Top 5’s: Distance from edge of fairway,
Biorhythms: Good cycles. Mental cycle is best, starting tourney at peak. Physical goes critical to positive on day 2. Emotional cycle approaching nadir.

RICKIE FOWLER is among the top money leaders on the tour.

12/13/88
Turned pro in 2009, with 6 pro wins.  Still aiming to get back to his outstanding 2014 campaign, with 4 Top 10s in the majors.  World rank: 7th.
170 events on the PGA Tour, with 3 wins, 47 top 10s, 131 cuts made.  Top 5s: Approaches 75-100 yards, scrambling from fringe (perfect in 19 opportunities), putting from 9’, longest putts, par 4 scoring average.
Biorhythms are rather mixed. Physical cycles just peaked, heading down. Emo cycles starts day 1 going critical to negative. Mental goes from critical to positive on day 2.  I can’t expect him to survive the cut.

WILLIAM MCGIRT also has strong showing on the money list.  A pro since 2004, 2 pro wins.  0-3 in majors.  World rank: 46th.

169 events, 1 win, 16 top 10s, 61 cuts.   Top 5s: Scrambling over 30 yards, putts per round in round 2 play.
Biorhythms are good. At peak physically, emotional cycle starts from critical point to positive too. Mental cycle very low this week.
One of my favorite bloggers, The Itinerant Golfer, reveals how to play the Lower Course  

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.

Idealistic Stats 8/13/15 podcast

11th edition of the Idealistic Stats podcast is now available.

RSS: http://idealisticstats.podomatic.com/rss2.xml

Also accessible permanently at the Internet Archive:
https://archive.org/details/idealisticstats081315

mp3: https://idealisticstats.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/idealisticstats081315.mp3

Main website: idealisticstats.wordpress.com

This week I focused on players to watch for the 2015 PGA Championship
Also: selections for the Barbara Shinpoch Stakes at Emerald Downs and the Arlington Million
Plus: Boxing analysis of Friday’s WBO cruiserweight title fight.

Music used in this program:
Annie Wenz “Play Ball” – Ride The Sky CD http://www.anniewenz.com
The Dan Sheehan Conspiracy “Have A Nice Summer” – Are You Conspirienced? CD http://www.dansheehan.net
Diane Durrett & Soul Suga “Woohoo” – s/t CD http://www.dianedurrett.com
DJ Flowerdove “Distant Project Gate (Remix)”

http://www.soundcloud.com/djflowerdove

Thanks for listening!

Dan Herman
idealisticstats.wordpress.com
dan@radiocrystalblue.net
Twitter: @idealisticstats

handicapping PGA championship 2008

I examined 11 golfers that contend in two main areas I like to see a golfer do well in; ball-striking and scrambling (getting out of trouble). Here are the 11 as I’ve ranked them:
Briny Baird
Charlie Wi
Kevin Sutherland
Ben Crane
Billy Mayfair
Anthony Kim
Steve Elkington
Chez Reavie
Jim Furyk
Vijay Singh
Fred Couples
I compared some general stats for 11 to see where they ranked, in 30 categories.   The order I’ve ranked them in based on raw score in these:
Vijay Singh
Kevin Sutherland
Anthony Kim
Jim Furyk
Briny Baird
Fred Couples
Ben Crane
Billy Mayfair
Charlie Wi
Steve Elkington
Chez Reavie
Singh led in 8 categories, most of these, Briny leads in 5…..with Kevin,  Kim and Crane leading in 4.

Taking a further look in terms of biorhythms, 4 golfers have very strong cycles:Wi, Sutherland, Furyk, and Singh.

Looking golfer by golfer:
Baird: strong in par 4s overall as well as rd 1-2 scoring…so you figure he’s nearly a cinch to make the cut at least. Also best of this field in green % from 175 to 200 yards.  Also strong in approaches of 225-250.  His actual scoring avg is very good.  His weak area is putting.  Biorhytms are pointing down tho mentally on his game….so he may do well early in scoring but will fade in the last 2 days.
Charlie Wi: Has no edge in any categories but competitve in scrambling and greens from 175-200. Not very strong when he takes chances and goes for the green.  He does have all cycles pointing up so must include him as contender.
Kevin Sutherland: Best in Par 5s..bears watching on these…and an automatic with greens under 125 yards.  His cycles are triple positive as well. His weak areas might be ability to score eagles and driving accuracy. 
Ben Crane: Top scrambler in this group. Very good putter espeically 10-15 ft…and tends to have the shortest putts to make of these.  Not strong in going for the green, and definitely questionable wheen green is 75 yards or less away (but then again, his scrambling may save him there).  Crane’s cycles are either critical and currently negative. Will he be betrayed by the putter this weekend?
Billy Mayfair: tops in driving accuracy as well as greens under 75 yards, actually quite good in terms of accuracy overall. Not a long hitter, and suffers when he is forced to go long.  Might have trouble with approaches beyond 75-125. Cycles are up physically, down and critical otherwise.
Anthony Kim: Lowest scoring average in the bunch, and often a threat to eagle a hole.  Round 3 score is also best of these, also best in drives of 300 to 320 yards.  Physically and emotionally he will be on his game, emotional cycle is negative.
Elkington: Does not rank in any category. but seems to do best in Par 4s, and a good scrambler. one of the best in hitting greens in regulation no matter the surface. Physical cycle is strong, the rest of his cycles are negative.  Not good in approaches to green beyond 175.
Chez Reavie ranks lowest from the category comparisoin, best in approaches 175-200. Good accurate driver. Not a long hitter and will have problems with greens under 75 yards. All cycles for him are down…not a contender.

Jim Furyk does not lead in categories either but his overall raw score suggests he will contend in most areas. He is a strong factor in greens in regulation, and a competitive scoring average. His putting and long driving are problem areas. Phsyically and mentally he is up.

Vijay Singh is the best of the field in these: birdies, breaking par, going for the green (risk taking), and accuracy with all long drives beyond 300 yards.
His putting and general accuracy might give him away.  With most cycles critical or pointing up, he may well win.

Fred Couples is best in approaches of 50-125, and…well, he didn’t earn the nickname Boom-Boom for nothing….still can drive 300 with ease. He’s subject to long putts and does not do well in round 3s.

What to make of all this data?Here’s my final rank of the 11:
Top 3
Kevin Sutherland (winner)
Briny Baird
Charlie Wi
the rest:
Vijay Singh
Anthony Kim
Ben Crane
Billy Mayfair
Jim Furyk
Steve Elkington
Chez Reviie
Fred Couples