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Stats Report
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  • Formulas predict U.S. Open champion

    We pick a winner based on one statistical formula and another one on past results

  • Hideki Matsuyama's combined ranking in total driving, scrambling and proximity is 36. (Matt Sullivan/Getty Images) Hideki Matsuyama's combined ranking in total driving, scrambling and proximity is 36. (Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Welcome to another edition of our stats formula predictions. Some of our regular Stats Report readers may recall our previous editions. We've only selected one champion in four events -- Rory McIlroy at last season's PGA Championship. But three of the four top selections in the formula have finished in the the top 10 in that respective tournament (See: 2014 U.S. Open, 2014 Open Championship, 2014 PGA Championship, 2015 PLAYERS).

This week we're throwing a changeup (or a 99 mph fastball, if you will). Mark Broadie, the strokes gained guru and Columbia Business School professor in New York, has agreed to offer his own formula in attempting to select a U.S. Open champion and/or a group of players that could contend this week.

Each of us offered the top 20 players in our rankings. Ten players appeared on both lists: Rory McIlroy, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Hideki Matsuyama, Ryan Palmer, Francesco Molinari and Webb Simpson.

Without further delay, let's get to it.

STATS FORMULA (Bill Cooney)

For my formula, I'm adding the rank of three statistical categories. For the U.S. Open, I decided to go with scrambling (saving par seems paramount at any U.S. Open), total driving (long and straight hitters will have shorter clubs into these undulating greens) and proximity to the hole (in theory, the most accurate iron players will be able to put the ball in the best scoring positions on the greens at Chambers Bay). There are other statistics to consider such as putting, but I believe the large, undulating greens at Chambers Bay will even out the playing field. Plus, scrambling does take shorter putts into account.

As always, these three stats are just what I'm using. They're certainly up for debate.

Rank/Player Scrambling Total Driving
Proximity Total Value
1. Hideki Matsuyama
7 3 26 36
2. Jordan Spieth
8 31 13 52
3. Webb Simpson
15 16 22 53
4. Kevin Kisner 20 35 53 108
5. Jim Furyk
18 100 1 119
6. Dustin Johnson 31 67 22 120
7. Brendon Todd 12 94 19 125
8. Rory McIlroy 75 1 55 131
9. Francesco Molinari
59 62 19 140
9. Kevin Chappell 84 26 30 140
11. Ian Poulter 17 83 41 141
12. Billy Hurley III
9 142 15 166
12. Ryan Palmer
72 56 38 166
14. Rickie Fowler
65 23 81 169
15. Paul Casey 127 30 28 185
16. Bubba Watson
13 20 162 195
17. Ryan Moore 38 60 101 199
18. George McNeill 42 71 88 201
19. Louis Oosthuizen 55 97 55 207
20. Henrik Stenson
48 11 152 211


TOURNAMENT PERFORMANCE FORMULA (Mark Broadie)

Broadie used a weighted formula based on two categories: A player's lowest tournament adjusted scoring average in the past eight events (Zurich Classic of New Orleans thru FedEx St. Jude Classic) and a player's adjusted scoring average in the prior 36 TOUR events (2014 Travelers Championship thru 2015 RBC Heritage). Broadie then weighted the 36 prior TOUR events at 65 percent and the eight most recent at 35 percent.

"I examined past events (from the past several years) to see which weights had the most predictive power," Broadie said. "The 'best' weights were 65-35. Other choices of weights didn’t do as well in predicting performance in the historical data.

"I didn’t choose the weights arbitrarily, they came out of the analysis of past data."

Here are his results, with the ranking in each category listed:  

    Adjusted scoring rank in Adjusted scoring rank in
Rank Player prior 36 TOUR events previous 8 TOUR events
1 Rory McIlroy 1 1
2 Jim Furyk 2 3
3 Sergio Garcia 3 6
4 Rickie Fowler 7 6
5 Jordan Spieth 9 4
6 Justin Rose 14 2
7 Dustin Johnson 6 29
8 Henrik Stenson 4 45
9 Jimmy Walker 11 18
10 Jason Day 8 37
11 Hideki Matsuyama 15 9
12 Adam Scott 5 60
13 Phil Mickelson 16 20
14 Matt Kuchar 19 16
15 Bill Haas 26 11
16 Byeong Hun An 13 NA
17 Ryan Palmer 12 48
18 Francesco Molinari 40 4
19 Webb Simpson 37 8
20 Brooks Koepka 21 36