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Stats Report
  • Stats formula predicts THE PLAYERS champ

  • Henrik Stenson's value of 11 makes him the favorite in our stats formula to win THE PLAYERS. (David Cannon/Getty Images)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.

Rank
Player DA
GIR SGP Total Value
1. *Henrik Stenson++
7 3 1 11
2.   Russell Knox 30 10
75 115
3.   Hunter Mahan+ 48 53 17 118
4.   Brendon Todd
15 97 19
131
5. Billy Horschel 86 15 39
140
6.
Brendon de Jonge++
25 35
81 141
7. Ian Poulter+ 63 33 47 143
8.
Jason Bohn 10 23 113 146
9.   **Rory McIlroy++ 58 41
68
167
10. Ryan Moore 17 91 62 170
11.
Hideki Matsuyama+
47 11 114 172
11.
William McGirt 27 61
84 172
13. Harris English 116 28 30 174
14. Paul Casey
114 17 44 175
15. *Jim Furyk++
4 24 151 179
16. Kevin Streelman+ 19 21 143 183
17. Shawn Stefani 104 28 57 189
18.   Daniel Summerhays+ 98 85 11 194
19. Jerry Kelly
20 140 35 195
20. Pat Perez+
50 113 37 200
21. David Hearn+
107 48 46 201
22. *Jordan Spieth+ 112 83 8 203
22. John Huh+
16
162 25
203
24. Spencer Levin+
11 50 148 209
25.   *David Toms+
2 102 106 210

* -- 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