Every fantasy sport has its set of data that helps to try to project what’s going to happen. In professional golf, that’s done by a metric called Strokes Gained. Created by Mark Broadie, a professor at Columbia, it measures a golfer against others on a shot-by-shot basis. That’s compiled then for daily, weekly, and yearly stats, or however long your database goes for. The database we will be working with for PGA DFS covers about 18 months’ worth of tournaments. While making PGA DFS picks is typically about recent form, we like to understand players’ strengths and weaknesses to better understand where they might perform best. Let’s dig in.
Strokes Gained Analysis for the Safeway Open
With 156 players in the field, we have plenty of data to analyze and over 30 rounds of Strokes Gained data.
Strokes Gained Total
- Data Set: Kevin Streelman leads with seven starts in which he’s gained at least two strokes. Only four others have more five or more, including Jordan Spieth and Cameron Tringale with six, and Joel Dahmen and Sam Burns with five.
- Eight Weeks: Talor Gooch has had a good eight weeks, gaining at least 1.25 strokes four times. Si Woo Kim and Chez Reavie each have three.
- Graphic: It’s always tough to put full context to a graphic that shows the average per start with a few golfers only competing once or twice. Guys that we know have competed way more than once or twice are Kim, Cameron Davis, Sam Burns and Brendan Steele, all averaging at or near a stroke gained per start.
Strokes Gained Tee to Green
- Dataset: When we take out putting from the equation, Harold Varner jumps to the top of the list, with Streelman having gained at least 1.75 strokes tee to green in six starts.
- Eight Weeks: Kim and Luke List have both gained at least 1.25 strokes total three times in the past eight weeks. Ten others have done it twice, including Varner, Shane Lowry, Keegan Bradley and Doug Ghim.
- Graphic: Kim leads everyone in the field by almost 2.5 total strokes. List is next, followed by Reavie, Varner, Sergio Garcia and Jason Dufner.
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Strokes Gained Off the Tee
- Dataset: Jhonattan Vegas is the only golfer to have gained at least one stroke off the tee in seven events. Three others have done it five times: Varner, Burns and Doc Redman.
- Eight Weeks: I first looked at golfers who have gained more than a stroke off the tee in the last eight weeks, but only three names came up — Sepp Staka, Russell Knox and Beau Hossler have all done it once. When I switch it to golfers that have gained at least 0.25 strokes off the tee in the last eight weeks, Emiliano Grillo, Patrick Rodgers and Gooch have done it four times.
- Graphic: A few new names were added to the tee-to-green list, including Will Gordon, Kristoffer Ventura and Vegas. Luke List has also performed well over these 10 weeks and needs a good putter one of these years.
Shots Gained on Approach
- Dataset: Grillo is the only golfer to have gained at least one stroke on the approaches double-digit times in the database, doing it 11 times. Redman, Knox, Dufner, Tringale and Kyle Stanley have all done it eight times.
- Eight Weeks: A few more golfers have gained at least a stroke with the irons at least once over the last eight weeks including Spieth. There are three golfers that have done it twice: Kim, Bradley and Branden Grace.
- Graphic: Wesley Bryan has only competed a few times, but his irons have been on fire each time. The same goes for Chris Baker. Steele has seen a nice uptick, with Ghim and Reavie also gaining over 0.75 strokes on average per start with the irons.
Shots Gained Around the Green
- Dataset: Two golfers stand out from the pack in terms of gaining strokes around the green, each gaining over a stroke six times in the database: Spieth and Bud Cauley. Ryan Armour, Fabian Gomez and Brandt Snedeker have done it five.
- Eight Weeks: Cauley leads a list of four names that have gained at least 0.75 strokes twice in the last eight weeks. Varner, J.J. Spaun and Sebastian Cappelen are the other three.
- Graphic: It’s Jordan Spieth at the top of a list. Varner, Donald and Cauley make this list as well, all gaining well over two strokes around the green the last 10 weeks.
Shots Gained Putting
- Dataset: Before we go gloating about the Spieth and Denny McCarthy, I must note that Spieth has failed to gain even a quarter of a stroke putting in the last eight weeks. In the dataset, however, McCarthy has gained at least 1.25 10 times, with Spieth doing it 8. Gooch, Patton Kizzire and Andrew Putnam have done it 7.
- Eight Weeks: Five golfers have gained at least one stroke putting in the last eight weeks multiple times. They are Gooch, Redman, Aaron Baddeley, Troy Meritt and Maverick McNealy.
- Graphic: Kevin Chappell, in his very limited starts, has putted well, as have Dominic Bozzelli, Peter Uihlein, Roger Sloan and Chris Stroud. Wyndham Clark and McCarthy have averaged over a half a stroke in their starts with the putter.
Strokes Gained Sheet:
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