Gdula's Golf Simulations: Mayakoba Golf Classic
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.
I'll keep it simple: I track weekly results from the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the Korn Ferry Tour, and the Japan Golf Tour.
Using a combination of the OWGR's field strength numbers and datagolf's field strength numbers, I adjust each golfer's score relative to the field. The ultimate goal is 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.
Their adjusted stroke data is combined with their round-to-round variance to see how the field is likely to perform when playing the event out thousands of times.
Here are the results for the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Top Win Odds
|Matt Kuchar||3.5%||+1600||Billy Horschel||3.3%||+2200|
|Viktor Hovland||3.1%||+1400||Jason Day||3.0%||+1600|
|Tony Finau||2.6%||+1600||Kevin Kisner||2.2%||+3700|
|Joaquin Niemann||2.1%||+2700||Chez Reavie||2.1%||+4100|
|Rory Sabbatini||2.0%||+5000||Scottie Scheffler||2.0%||+3300|
|Scott Piercy||2.0%||+8000||Charles Howell III||1.9%||+3100|
|Keegan Bradley||1.8%||+4100||Vaughn Taylor||1.6%||+10000|
|Keith Mitchell||1.6%||+12000||Dylan Frittelli||1.6%||+4500|
|Russell Knox||1.5%||+3300||Brian Harman||1.4%||+5000|
|Harold Varner III||1.3%||+5000||Abraham Ancer||1.3%||+2900|
|Jhonattan Vegas||1.3%||+10000||Kevin Streelman||1.2%||+7000|
|Mark Hubbard||1.2%||+12000||Lanto Griffin||1.2%||+4500|
|Joel Dahmen||1.2%||+10000||JT Poston||1.2%||+4500|
|Kevin Chappell||1.1%||+12000||Juan Sebastian Munoz||1.1%||+5000|
|Denny McCarthy||1.0%||+4500||Aaron Wise||1.0%||+3100|
|Emiliano Grillo||1.0%||+3400||Fabian Gomez||1.0%||+9000|
|Cameron Champ||1.0%||+5000||Matt Jones||0.9%||+10000|
|Cameron Tringale||0.9%||+6000||Harris English||0.9%||+5500|
With 33 golfers owning at least a 1.0% win chance -- and nobody above 3.5% -- this is a week to target value when we can find it.
The low win equity at the top also makes the favorites -- Viktor Hovland (+1400 on FanDuel Sportsbook), Matt Kuchar (+1600), Jason Day (+1600), and Tony Finau (+1600) -- look overpriced from an expected value standpoint. Billy Horschel (+2200) doesn't outperform his odds in the win model but is closest to do so among the top five.
Picking one to back and soaking up value lower down the list is a viable way to build a betting card this week, though.
Kevin Kisner (+3700), Chez Reavie (+4100), and Keegan Bradley (+4100) are right around break-even in the win simulations. Reavie has finished top-26 here in three straight years. Kisner missed the cut last year. Bradley has two top-15s in as many tries but hasn't played El Camaleon since 2016.
Scott Piercy (+8000) stands out as a value play but has lost strokes in six of his past seven events, so I don't think I'll be trusting the model here. Likewise, Vaughn Taylor (+10000) rates out well but has lost strokes in four straight events. Really, trusting the long-term form is most predictive, so I could be scaring myself off of strong plays, but they'd be better suited for top-10s and top-20s based on the recent form.
Loading up on long shots isn't the worst play this week. Keith Mitchell (+12000) in particular. He has a 1.6% chance to win the Mayakoba. The dreadful putter should get an advantage on the slow paspalum greens. The model also (and always) likes Jhonattan Vegas (+10000).
Kevin Chappell (+12000) is a third long shot in play based on the model. Chappell had lost strokes tee to green in two of his events since returning from a 10-month layoff before picking up 2.0 at the Houston Open.