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:
#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.

#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.
#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.
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.

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.
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..
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,
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.
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.

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.