May 04, 2015
By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM
- Henrik Stenson's value of 11 makes him the favorite in our stats formula to win THE PLAYERS. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
Welcome to another edition of our stats formula predictions. This is our first attempt of 2014-15 and fourth overall at attempting to predict a tournament champion based on a stats formula in Stats Report.
We went 1-for-3 last season, correctly predicting that Rory McIlroy would win the PGA Championship. Some of our regular Stats Report readers will also recall that while we've had varying degrees of success selecting a group of contenders (See last season: U.S. Open, The Open Championship, PGA Championship) -- each of our predicted champions finished inside the top 10 at that event. Let's see if we can keep that streak alive at THE PLAYERS Championship. (Fingers crossed.)
For the most part, this is how it works: I select a group of stats that I think will be the most important during that week and add up each players' season ranking in each category to arrive at a total (the lower total, the better). Obviously there are pros and cons to each of the stats I've selected -- especially this early in the season. For instance, Tiger Woods is not officially stats eligible in 2014-15 based on the limited number of events he's played on TOUR (For those wondering, Woods' unofficial value would be 589).
But let's give this a shot. For THE PLAYERS, I'm putting a premium on accuracy off the tee, so driving accuracy was a must. There are hundreds of stats to choose from, but I decided to keep things simple. So let's add greens in regulation to the scorecard as well. Missing the fairway at TPC Sawgrass often leads to bogeys or worse.
For my third and final stat, I chose strokes gained: putting. Scrambling and proximity to the hole just missed the cut. No doubt the grass around the greens on the Stadium Course is thick and nasty. But I feel like chipping around the greens here is so difficult that it levels the playing field a bit in regards to the best scramblers vs. the worst. Plus, there are going to be birdies made this week. So if you're lucky enough to hit a high number of greens, you're going to have to make those birdie putts.
As stated in our previous editions from last season, there are theories for and against this approach. By no means are we introducing a non-fictional version of the flux capacitor -- this is purely for fun. Some would argue other stats are more critical this week, but this is what we're going with.
Without further delay, here are the top 25 players in THE PLAYERS field with the lowest combined season stats total when adding up their ranking in driving accuracy, greens in regulation and strokes gained: putting.
Also, we've highlighted the players listed here with previous success at THE PLAYERS.
||Brendon de Jonge++
* -- Denotes total number of Top-10 finishes in the past three seasons at THE PLAYERS.
+ -- Denotes total number of Top-25 finishes in the past three seasons at THE PLAYERS