Gdula's Golf Simulations: Waste Management Phoenix Open
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, and the Korn Ferry 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 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
|Jon Rahm||12.3%||+650||Justin Thomas||8.7%||+850|
|Xander Schauffele||6.2%||+1800||Hideki Matsuyama||6.0%||+1600|
|Rickie Fowler||3.7%||+1600||Webb Simpson||3.4%||+1400|
|Gary Woodland||2.9%||+2900||Bryson DeChambeau||2.4%||+2600|
|Tony Finau||2.2%||+2900||Matt Kuchar||1.9%||+2900|
|Collin Morikawa||1.9%||+2900||Sungjae Im||1.9%||+3300|
|Billy Horschel||1.8%||+8000||Scottie Scheffler||1.6%||+5000|
|Brandt Snedeker||1.5%||+3300||Jordan Spieth||1.5%||+5000|
|Vaughn Taylor||1.4%||+9000||Byeong Hun An||1.4%||+6500|
|Jason Kokrak||1.2%||+6500||Viktor Hovland||1.1%||+4200|
|Cameron Smith||1.1%||+5500||Ryan Moore||1.1%||+5000|
|Keegan Bradley||1.0%||+7000||Max Homa||1.0%||+12000|
|Matthew Wolff||1.0%||+5000||Corey Conners||1.0%||+6500|
|Lanto Griffin||0.9%||+10000||Ryan Palmer||0.9%||+5500|
|JT Poston||0.9%||+6500||Chez Reavie||0.9%||+6000|
|Andrew Putnam||0.9%||+8000||Kevin Na||0.8%||+7000|
|Bubba Watson||0.8%||+2600||Adam Hadwin||0.6%||+10000|
|Sung Kang||0.6%||+12000||J.B. Holmes||0.6%||+8000|
It's not surprise that Jon Rahm (+650 on FanDuel Sportsbook) is the favorite here, and he isn't that far overpriced based on his implied win odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. The same can be said for Justin Thomas (+850). The actual value isn't there, but they aren't the worst places to start your card.
Personally, I'm drawn to starting it a bit lower and getting access to a greater quantity of realistic winners in a deep field. Xander Schauffele (+1800) and Hideki Matsuyama (+1600) both show positive expected value based on the win simulations. Hideki has won here twice, and Schauffele has finished 10th an 17th at TPC Scottsdale in two tries.
Other deeper plays who are intriguing from a pure expected value standpoint are Scottie Scheffler (+5000), Vaughn Taylor (+9000), Byeong-Hun An (+6000), Jason Kokrak (+6500), and Lanto Griffin (+10000). Despite his win sims not showing value, I'm looking long at Adam Hadwin (+8000) as one of the few long shots to feel somewhat confident with.