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Rocket Mortgage Classic: Strokes Gained Analysis

Jason Rouslin

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PGA DFS Strokes Gained Analysis for the Rocket Mortgage classic with all 7 measured catgegories for DraftKings, FanDuel daily fantasy lineups

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 PGA DFS 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.


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Strokes Gained Analysis

Strokes Gained Total

Criteria: At least two strokes gained

  • Eight golfers in the field this week have accomplished at least two strokes gained total in six events: Bryson DeChambeau, Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, Sugjae Im, J.T. Poston, Kevin Na, Brian Harman and Patrick Reed. 
  • Seven other golfers are tied with five, including Tony Finau, Brandt Snedeker and Lucas Glover. 
  • Among those with six or more starts, 36 golfers are trying to accomplish this goal for the first time. Some of the names on this list include Jimmy Walker, James Hahn, Kevin Chappell, Brandon Hagy, Branden Grace and Chris Kirk. 
  • Webb Simpson is the only golfer with at least 40% of starts winding up in at least two total strokes gained.

Strokes Gained Tee to Green – Combination of Off the Tee, Approach and Around the Green

Criteria: At least 1.5 strokes gained

  • Only Matsuyama has a better than 50% track record in terms of strokes gained tee to green, with 57% of his starts winding up in at least 1.5 strokes gained. A few other names that have above 35% including Simpson, Finau, Erik van Rooyen, Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler.

Strokes Gained Ball Striking – Combination of Off the Tee and Approach

Criteria: At least one stroke gained

  • The ball-striking king, Viktor Hovland, was at it again last week and now has 93% of his starts ending with at least one stroke gained ball striking. Matsuyama and Doc Redman are the only other two that have done it in at least 60% of their starts. Van Rooyen and Emiliano Grillo are a bit lower at 50% of their starts.

Strokes Gained Short Game: Combination of Around the Green and Putting 

Criteria: At least one stroke gained

  • A couple of new names for us in this section, Rhein Gibson and Kristoffer Ventura has gained at least 1.5 strokes short game in at least four starts. They only have nine and 10 starts, respectively, so this is quite a high number in terms of percentage. Maverick McNealy also has four, as does Rob Oppenheim. 
  • Thirty-eight golfers haven’t accomplished this feat yet. Among them are Grillo, Aaron Wise, Kurt Kitayama, Scott Stallings, Tyler Duncan and Joseph Bramlett. 

Strokes Gained Off the Tee

Criteria: At least one stroke gained

  • While Will Gordon only has five measured starts, he’s gained at least one stroke off the tee in two of them, and at least 1.5 strokes on short game in one of them. That is not a bad stat line for your first five starts. Hovland and Bubba Watson are the next two with 35% and 29% of their starts with at least one strokes gained off the tee, while DeChambeau and Harold Varner III are the only other golfers other than Watson to accomplish this feat more than five times.
  • On the flip side, 78 golfers in the field have yet to gain at least one stroke off the tee, including Walker, Kevin Kisner, Jamie Lovemark, Jimmy Walker, Kyle Stanley, Tyrell Hatton, Sebastian Munoz and plenty more.

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Strokes Gained on Approach

Criteria: At least one stroke gained

  • A pivotal stat this week, Emiliano Grillo will look to make his first cut in quite some time. He leads the field with 10 starts that have ended up in over one stroke gained on approach, some 45% of his starts. Hovland has six, or 42% of his starts, while Cameron Percy is 4-for-10. Stanley, Matsuyama, Redman, Glover, Stuard, Varner, Simpson, Russell Knox, Chesson Hadley and Cameron Tringale have met or exceeded the criteria more than five times in this timeframe.
  • Only 24 golfers haven’t found their iron game, or at least well enough to meet this criterion. One name is sure to shock you: Rickie Fowler. A few other names like Patrick Rodgers and Robby Shelton will look to change their fortunes this week.

Strokes Gained Around the Green

Criteria: At least one stroke gained

  • This is the toughest feat to attain. Steve Stricker has done it in three of nine starts, while Snedeker, Fabian Gomez, Aaron Baddeley, Martin Trainer and Ryan Armour are the only ones to do it at least five times. Oppenheim and Jason Day both accomplish this criterion at least 25% of the time they tee it up.
  • Sixty-two names have failed to reach this criterion, including Redman, Hovland, Adam Hadwin and Mark Hubbard

Strokes Gained Putting

Criteria: At least one stroke gained

  • Vincent Whaley seems to be one of the best putters out of the Korn Ferry Tour grads, gaining at least one stroke with the putter in four his nine starts. Ventura isn’t half bad either, gaining it in four of 10 starts. Outside of those two names, we get the regulars like Simpson, Na, Poston and Rodgers, but no one has done it more times than Wyndham Clark, who has done it 10 times in his 26 measured starts.
  • When golfers don’t putt well on Tour, and they aren’t a great ball striker, they can expect to have a hard living out there. A few names that haven’t found their putting touch over the last little bit are Matsuyama, Grace, Beau Hossler and Hudson Swafford.

For more info on this, check out my “Fit & Form Podcast” coming out tonight to help you with all of this information and so much more!

The Strokes Gained Sheet

Click here for the full sheet!

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Jason established his roots in the littlest state that could...Rhode Island. But after 29 years of bitter cold, and only being able to play golf 4 months a year, upended those roots and moved to Florida. Now two years later, Jason is a husband to Sarah and father of James as well as two Labradors (Choco and Bella) and he dedicates his time to serve as the lead of PGA content at Awesemo.com. In the time he is not diving into the PGA stats and covering this week's current tournament, you can find him researching and trading stocks, on the golf course, or somewhere hopefully lost in nature with his dogs guiding him along the way. Want to chat? Have a question about Golf/Stocks or anything else? Hop on twitter and give him a message @dfsgolfer23. You can also contact Jason by emailing support@awesemo.com.

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