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The problems with Rory and traditional golf statistics

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Mark Twain was once said “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.”

This is often a popular adage from critics of an advanced metrics point of view. Normally this tends to occur with people who utilize anecdotal evidence to formulate their opinions and when the numbers tell them something they don’t like. The reality is that statistics do not lie, but incomplete and flawed statistics can lead to faulty analysis and conclusions derived from that analysis.

A prime example of this right now is the “fall” of Rory McIlroy’s play. People are stating that his dip in his performance is due to switching equipment. Johnny Miller thinks it is a giant mistake for Rory to switch his irons, as he did the same thing in his prime and he could never quite adjust to the change. Let’s take a look at his “traditional” golf metrics:

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As we can see, Rory is better this year in fairway percentage and greens in regulation. He has regressed in scrambling percentage. Most people, including statisticians, would agree that greens in regulation has a larger impact on Tour success than scramble percentage. So, why has Rory performed worse this year despite hitting more fairways and greens in regulation?

Let’s take a look at his putting. While putts gained is not a “traditional” metric, it’s becoming more accepted as a traditional metric. Is the putting the problem?

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The table shows that Rory is actually putting better this year than he did last year. It’s traditional metrics like GIR percentage, total driving and scramble percentage that tend to confuse golfers and consequently brush off metrics as “lies, damned lies and statistics.”

However, all it takes is to dig a little deeper and to use more detailed statistics and we start to see a better depiction of Rory’s play in 2012. Here’s a look at my main ballstriking metrics which include:

Driving effectiveness: A proprietary formula that uses the metrics of driving distance, fairway percentage, percentage of fairway bunkers hit, distance from the edge of the fairway and “missed fairways – other” to determine a player’s effectiveness off the tee.

Birdie zone: Proximity to the cup on approach shots from 75-125 yards.

Safe zone: Proximity to the cup on approach shots from 125-175 yards.

Danger zone: Proximity to the cup on approach shots from 175-225 yards.

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These numbers suggest that the new equipment is not an issue or at least the new irons have worked out better for him this year.

While he is less effective off the tee, considering this is based out of 190 players on Tour he is still a driving the ball great.

So, where is the issue?

From what I have gathered so far, I would look at the two largest statistical regressions: scrambling and driving.

First, let’s look at my metric called “short game play.” This is the average proximity to the cup on all shots that are no more than 20 yards away from the edge of the green. We have seen that Rory has improved his putts gained, so let’s see if his actual skills around the green have regressed.

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So yes, there has been a regression. But we simply cannot stop there because it is not a big enough regression to explain Rory’s dip in play from last year as we the numbers tell us that short game play does not have that large of an influence on a player’s score. Let’s drill down further and look at the attempts per round on shots from around the green.

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And here is where we start to see some of the issue with Rory’s play. While he has regressed a bit in his ability to get the ball closer to the cup on shots around the green, one major issue is that he is leaving himself with more shots from a longer distance. With that said, that still does not quite tell the entire story. So, let’s drill down and examine his driving a bit further.

We know that he’s hitting it about the same distance off the tee. We also know that he is hitting more fairways this year. Since he is less effective off the tee this year, that leaves it to examining what I call the precision metrics of driving as we have already examined the power (distance) and accuracy (fairway percentage) metrics of driving.

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And here is where we are starting to see more of the entire story into the regression of Rory’s play from 2012. Essentially, Rory is hitting his irons better and putting better. He’s hitting the ball virtually the same distance off the tee and is actually more accurate (fairway percentage), but he is much more imprecise off the tee this year and it is affecting his play despite the fact that he’s been better at the popular “traditional metric” greens in regulation percentage.

This is why I generally avoid examining greens in regulation percentage, particularly on the Tour level. For starters, it is too vague of a metric to really learn from. I have seen plenty of high GIR percentage players who struggle off the tee, but hit it great with their irons (Tiger). Conversely, I have seen high GIR percentage players who hit it great off the tee but have their struggles with the irons (Bubba Watson). It simply fails to tell the golfer how they get the ball on the green in regulation, either from a good drive or a good iron shot or both.

Secondly, across the board the numbers show that proximity to the cup has a higher correlation to success on Tour than GIR percentage. In fact, if you go to a Tour event it is obvious that Tour players have some sense of this as they are more apt to fire at a flag, even with trouble nearby, rather than to aim for the middle of the green. Simply put, the average Tour player makes one birdie putt outside 25 feet per 98 holes of golf!

Thus, Tour players instinctively understand that in order to make birdies on the course they need to get the birdie putt close to the hole. And most of the time the Tour players would take a 25-foot chip shot from off the green than the 50-foot putt that is on the green. And if you’re a golfer, you should probably do the same as well or start improving your short game enough so you start to want to have those much shorter chip shots over those longer putts.

What greens in regulation percentage does not tell us about Rory’s game is that he is hitting a higher percentage of greens in spite of being more imprecise with the driver. And what is happening is that when he misses a green it is coming more from a bad tee shot than a bad iron shot. Not only does that possibly mean that he is finding hazards and out of bounds more often (missed fairway –- other), but his bad drives are much worse this year and it leaves him with much more difficult shots to save par from.

So for now, I would say that the new irons and putter are actually helping Rory. But he now has to figure out how to get back his precision off the tee with the new driver. If he can, he’ll be even tougher to beat.

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Richie Hunt is a statistician whose clients include PGA Tour players, their caddies and instructors in order to more accurately assess their games. He is also the author of the recently published e-book, 2017 Pro Golf Synopsis; the Moneyball Approach to the Game of Golf. He can be reached at ProGolfSynopsis@yahoo.com or on Twitter @Richie3Jack. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: March 2014 Purchase 2017 Pro Golf Synopsis E-book for $10

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. John R

    Apr 20, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Am I understanding correctly? You’re saying that he’s hitting the ball pretty well but when he does miss, he misses big and it’s the occasional big miss that’s costing him. Is that right? Is it possible to validate that with some sort of hole-by-hole scoring comparison? In other words, could we say that in 2012 his scorecard doesn’t have enough big numbers on it but in 2013, there are always a couple of holes that have more influence on the high score?

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 20, 2013 at 10:51 pm

      John,

      You have the right idea. Essentially, his bad shots off the tee are worse than last year.

      Unfortunately, the Tour does not have track double bogeys or worse on their Web site. However, he was 27th in Bogey Avoidance last year…currently 93rd this year. He was 1st in Birdies last year, 7th this year. The bigger dropoff is obviously in the Bogeys.

  2. Nick

    Apr 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I think the analysis of Rory’s game is fascinating. That being said, the advice for the average player to fire for the flag is wrong. Pro level short game is so far and above that of the average player that the penalty they pay for a missed green is not even close to what your average weekend warrior plays. Hit a green, and your going to be in at probably two, three max. For plenty of amateurs, 4 strokes from the green side is not entirely uncommon, three is the most likely result. Obviously, the problem their is not firing at flags, its sub-standard short game but that’s what most amateurs are bringing to the table. Combine that with the fact that a pro’s dispersion with his irons is much smaller than an amateur, and I still think firing for center of green is the better play for those who aren’t playing off low/mid single digit handicaps or otherwise don’t have the game to go pin-seeking everytime and make it pay for them.

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 19, 2013 at 8:51 am

      It depends on the difference in closer to the hole. While Tour players have very good short games, more amateurs would be better off with a 25 foot chip/pitch than a 50 foot putt. Now if it was a 25 foot shot from the bunker, that would be a different story. And he better amateurs tend to aim for the middle of the green way too often.

      That’s why they can shoot the scores they do despite a Tour average of a little under 12 greens in regulation while averaging 1 birdie putt made from greater than 25 feet for every 98 holes played.

      They are more capable of firing at a flag and if they miss…miss in the right spot and make for an easy up-and-down. If they don’t miss…they end up with a birdie putt that is close to the hole and give themselves a better chance of making the birdie.

      From the amateur data I’ve collected, most amateurs aim at the flag unless there is a bunker or water hazard in the way. The closer to scratch amateurs tend to aim at the middle of the green more often and when they fire at flags…they do not account for where the best spot is located if they miss the green. It’s really the greatest example of poor strategy that kills rounds for good amateurs.

      The best way I would explain it is that regardless of handicap, it should not be mandatory to have to hit 14+ GIR in order to shoot in the 60’s.

  3. Ivan

    Apr 18, 2013 at 2:34 am

    And what if Rory was struggling simply because he has done some changes at his swing?
    His hips seems less rotating during a driver swing …

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 18, 2013 at 10:35 am

      The only difficulty I have with that Ivan is he’s hitting the ball just as far and hitting more fairways. It could very well be the issue rather than the new driver.

      I don’t necessarily think it’s quite either. Rory is a fairly streaky player and he hits a gigantic draw off the tee. I think that plays into why he is streaky…when the ball is not drawing like it should he has difficulty playing for it. Take a player that hits a smaller draw if he starts drawing it more or less than normal, I don’t think it’s quite as big of a problem for them.

  4. Jack

    Apr 17, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    I’m confused by that his GIR hasn’t dropped, but his distance from the edge of fairway has. Since the distance from edge is a contributing factor to the GIR, doesn’t that just mean his iron play has gotten better? And yet the end result hasn’t changed (getting it on the green), so why? It seems like to me it’s his short game. He’s regressed with less attempts in the 10-20 range. Plus when you add up the totals he gets 4.77 strokes played within 40 yards and 4.48 for 2012. If GIR remains steady, then the lower short game strokes would be beneficial as a cumulative measure. This is getting too involved. I’m just going to blame it on the driver.

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 18, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Good points, Jack.

      First, while he’s ranked 103rd in Avg. Distance From Edge of Fairway; that is actually a very good ranking for a golfer that hits it as far as he does. When he ranked 29th in 2012, that was downright outstanding for his length off the tee. Usually good drivers of the ball that are that long are around 150-165th in that metric. He’s also hitting more fairways and hitting his irons better.

      I think it’s fairly simple to see that he’s hitting a lot of great shots on the course and that is allowing him to hit more greens. But, it’s the occasional big miss off the tee (and fairway bunkers) that is really killing his game right now. He didn’t have that last year and that’s why he dominated.

  5. john

    Apr 17, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    he has only played less than 10 rounds… obviously his stats will look better. how about you write another article after the conclusion of the 2013 season? It doesn’t take rocket science to see rory’s struggle. you are just playing devil’s advocate saying all the analysis is wrong for saying he is playing bad..

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm

      John,

      I disagree with your point because I’m utilizing the rankings instead of pure numbers which makes the comparison more apples to apples.

      I think it’s obvious that Rory is struggling as well as I inferred that in the title. I’m going into *why* he is struggling in spite of traditional metrics like GIR being better (ranking wise) this year.

      And he’s hitting his new irons and putter better which was supposed to be a big part of his struggles. And he’s even doing some things with the driver better. He’s just hitting more of those occasional bad drives than he was last year and that is causing him to lose strokes whether it be off the tee or of the subsequent shots.

  6. Morgan

    Apr 17, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Fantastic article Rich, great read and very informative.

  7. christian

    Apr 17, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Personally, I would always think it is a biggger issue changing drivers than irons. Especially blade irons, the blade rory plays is probably more or less exactly the same as his old one. With the same grind, look and probably even tha same steel. Starting to use a driver with a “cavity back” would seem to be a much bigger step, equipment wise. So, his driver (and also woods) is probably the issue.

  8. Richie Hunt

    Apr 17, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Thanks Roger. I think if anything, Rory does not have far to go. The assumption that his game has fallen badly off because of the equipment is inaccurate at this point.

  9. timmy

    Apr 17, 2013 at 5:38 am

    i think distance from the fairway edge is too subjective to be included in the calculation

    it is very possible that the player intended to land the ball closer to the edge under certain circumstances.

    • Richie Hunt

      Apr 17, 2013 at 9:41 am

      It’s not as subjective in the terms you think of it as. It’s very telling of a player’s precision off the tee. That is in part what made Rory #2 in my Driving Effectiveness metric, he hits it super long and was an astouding 29th in Distance From Edge of Fairway.

      All of the data I’ve collected thru ShotLink and Shot Tracker shows that the Tour players are always trying to find the fairway in some regard. The real difference is how much it really matters given the course. A course like Bay Hill…hitting fairways and having a close Distance from the Edge of the Fairway is fairly important to a player’s success. That’s because the rough is usually taller at Bay Hill. But a course like Redstone (Shell Houston Open) hitting fairways and having a close Distance from the Edge of the Fairway has never had statistical importance to a player’s success there. I’ve never been to Redstone, but my Tour clients tell me that the rough there provides virtually no consequences to hit out of.

      So at a place like Redstone, hitting a 280 yard drive in the fairway will provide an advantage over hitting a 280 yard drive in the rough. It’s just that the advantage is smaller than if those drives were hit at a course like Bay Hill.

      And there’s a correlation between distance from edge of fairway and ‘missed fairways – other.’ Strangely, that correlation doesn’t quite exist with fairway bunkers. That’s because the longer hitters who are less precise can often blast it well over the fairway bunkers. But for Rory, that has not been the case this year.

  10. Roger Faithfull

    Apr 17, 2013 at 3:39 am

    Rich,
    Thanks for a hugely detailed analysis on Rory’s game.
    So all he has to do is add a 910D3 in a Covert Cover into the Bag.
    I’m a great Rory fan. I wish him well for the balance of 2013.
    I seem to recall he did a Huge come back in 2012…………….
    Regards, Roger in New Zealand..just below Australia !

    • Eric

      Apr 17, 2013 at 7:40 am

      Great summary but I would want to know are you comparing the statistics from all of 2012 versus the first 3+ months of 2013 or are you comparing the first 3 months of play for both 2012 and 2013? It would be interesting to see how these statistics stack up at the end of the year versus the entire previous year. Anything that shuts Johnny Miller up is a bonus from my point of view. Now…..how can the average Joe track this stuff 🙂

      • Richie Hunt

        Apr 17, 2013 at 9:34 am

        I’m just comparing the first 3 months versus the entire 2012 season. That’s why I used rankings instead of the actual numbers to help make it more ‘apples to apples.’

        It is also another reason why I thought the short game shots around the green data wasn’t enough to cause the dip in his play. Instead, we see dramatic differences in his drives that go into fairway bunkers and drives that are ‘missed fairway – other’ which is any shot that is not in the fairway, rough or fairway bunker (i.e. trees, hazards, O.B., etc).

        I am currently collecting data that will be able to track specific data for each tournament. I plan to use that soon.

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Opinion & Analysis

“I Love You, Tiger!” At Big Cedar lodge, an outpouring of affection for Tiger Woods

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What a difference a year makes.

About one year ago, Tiger Woods was in Branson, Missouri at Big Cedar Lodge to announce that he was designing a golf course there; Payne’s Valley, his first public course. That day was attended by hundreds of national and local media, the Lieutenant Governor of Missouri and Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops owner and the visionary behind the amazing golf complex that has been established at Big Cedar Lodge.

That day, Woods had not played competitive golf for awhile, and he was recovering from multiple surgeries. Woods took a couple of ceremonial swings, the last of which clearly left him in physical distress. Days later, he was in surgery again and his playing career looked to be all but over. The situation became worse when Woods was arrested for driving under the influence, found with multiple substances in his system. It seemed as though the sad mug shots from that arrest might be as prominent in his legacy as the smiles and fist-pumps that accompanied his 79 wins and 14 major championships.

Fast forward to yesterday, where Woods was back in Missouri to do a Junior Clinic at Big Cedar. An estimated crowd of over 7,000 kids and parents showed up on a school day to catch a glimpse of Woods. The atmosphere was carnival-like, with sky divers, stunt planes making flyovers and rock music blaring from giant speakers. When Woods finally arrived, the reaction was electric. Mothers and their kids were chanting. “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!” at the top of their lungs. Photographers battled soccer moms for position to get a picture of his swing. Some of the kids were as young as 6-years-old, which means that they had probably not seen Woods hit a meaningful shot in their life. At one point, when Woods was hitting shots and explaining how to execute them, a woman shouted, “I love you, Tiger!” Not to be out done, a woman on the other side of the crowd, who was their with her husband and kids, shouted “I love you more, Tiger!” Maybe the only people with more affection for Woods would be the people in the golf business. A senior marketing official in the golf industry leaned over at one point in the event and said, “God, we could use just one more from him.”

Woods swing looks completely rehabilitated. He was hitting shots of every shape and trajectory on-demand, and the driver was sending balls well past the end of the makeshift driving range set up for the event. But even more remarkable was the evidence of the recovery of his reputation. Surely there are still women out there that revile Woods for the revelations of infidelity, and no doubt there are those that still reject Woods for his legal and personal struggles. But none of them were in Missouri yesterday. Mothers and children shrieking his name confirmed what we already knew: Tiger Woods is the single most compelling person in American sports, and he belongs to golf.

Unlike a year ago, Woods is swinging well, and seems as healthy and happy as he as ever been as a pro. Add to that the unprecedented outpouring of love from crowds that once produced a combination of awe and respect, but never love. Fowler, McIlroy, Spieth and the rest may get their share of wins and Tweets, but if the game is to really grow it will be on the broad, fragile back of Tiger Woods. It’s amazing to think what can happen in one short year.

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Opinion & Analysis

12 reasons serious golfers don’t realize their potential

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What stops serious golfers from realizing their potential? If you are an amateur who wants to get better, a young player trying to achieve more, or a young professional with big dreams, this article is for you.

I’ve made a career out of helping athletes maximize their abilities, golfers in particular. And the things I see young playing professionals doing prior to our work together is often what is holding them back. The reality is that most young players, no matter what their level, have three key problems:

  1. They’re distracted by what’s not important
  2. They have no detailed structure and plan to reach the targets they determine are important to them
  3. They have no formal process to develop mindset and attitude

In the list below, I share what I see working with these young players and some common blind spots.

1. No real plan and steps to achieve targets

Most players do not know how to create a long-term and short-term plan that outlines all steps needed to reach targets. Players should have yearly plans with targets, steps and actions and weekly plans to organize/schedule their time and prioritize key needs.

2. Not focused enough on the object of the game

This goes hand in hand with No. 1. Surprisingly, players seem to forget that the object of the game is get the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes. Trophies and checks are not issued for the best swing, the best putting stroke or most balls hit.

3. Not enough pressure in practice

Most young players have loose practice. The intensity of feelings between the practice tee and the course are too different. Focus and intensity must be a part of all practice. Add competition and outcomes to sessions so some urgency is created.

4. Too much practice time on full swing

The data is clear — most shots in golf happen from 100 yards and in from the green. If the majority of practice time is not spent on these shorter shots, practice time is wasted.

5. An obsession with the look of the swing

Players are not generally prepared to own their own swings and embrace the differences that make them unique. Obsessing over swing mechanics is a major distraction for many players. Many players convince themselves that if it doesn’t look “good” on their iPhone, their swing won’t get results.

6. No structure with the driver

Since scoring is the main goal, a consistent, reliable shape to each shot is important. My experience has been that if players are trying to go both ways with the driver, that is a sure-fire way to elevate numbers on the card. Pick a shape and eliminate one side of the course. Predictability from the tee increases a player’s confidence to put the ball in the fairway more often, creating more opportunities to score.

7. Expectation that they will hit the ball well everyday

Many players have the unreasonable expectation that they will hit lots of fairways and greens every time they play. This expectation leads to constant disappointment in their game. Knowing that the leading professionals in the game average about 60.6 percent driving accuracy and 11.8 greens in regulation per round should be a good benchmark for the expectations of all players.

8. Trying to be too robotic and precise in putting

Some players get so caught up in the mechanics of putting that their approach becomes too robotic. They become obsessed with precision and being perfect. Feel, flow and instinct have to be a central part of putting. This can get lost in an overly robotic mindset trying to be too precise and perfect.

9. No process for assessment and reflection

Players do not have a formal process for assessing practice or rounds and reflecting on the experience. The right lessons are not consistently taken away to ensure step-by-step improvement. Knowing how to assess practice, play and ask the right questions is key to development.

10. Getting in their own way

The voice inside of most young players’ heads is not helpful for their performance. It’s often a negative, demanding voice that insists on perfection. This voice leads to hesitation, frustration and anger. The voice must be shaped (with practice) into the right “emotional caddie” to support efforts and promote excellence over perfection.

11. A focus on the negative before the positive

A default to the mistakes/flaws in the round before looking at the highlights and what worked. When asked about their round, most players highlight three-putts, penalty shots and any errors before anything else. Emphasis should always be on what went well first. Refection on what needs improvement is second.

12. The blame game

Young players love excuses. Course conditions, weather, coaching and equipment are a few of the areas that are often targets, deflecting responsibility away from the player. Many players do not take full responsibility for their own game and/or careers.

I hope this provides some insights on roadblocks that could get in your way on the path to reaching your targets in the game. Whether it’s lowering your handicap, winning a junior tournament, working toward the PGA Tour — or just general improvement — considering these observations might help you shorten the road to get there.

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Opinion & Analysis

Fantasy Preview: 2018 Valero Texas Open

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With one of the weakest fields of the year, TPC San Antonio hosts the Valero Texas Open this week. Only one player from the top-20 in the Official World Golf Rankings will tee it up here. That man is Sergio Garcia, who co-designed this course with Greg Norman.

Just like last week at the RBC Heritage, the wind can wreak havoc at TPC San Antonio. The course features an exposed layout, making the level of wind is often unpredictable. Expect it to be a factor yet again this year. Unlike last week, the longer hitters do have an advantage on this course, which measuring more than 7,400 yards with little rough off the tee.

Last year, Kevin Chappell held off a charging Brooks Koepka to post 12-under par and win his first title on the PGA Tour.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Sergio Garcia 14/1
  • Matt Kuchar 18/1
  • Charley Hoffman 18/1
  • Luke List 25/1
  • Ryan Moore 28/1
  • Kevin Chappell 28/1
  • Adam Scott 30/1

From the top of the market, it’s hard not to love Luke List (25/1, DK Price $10,000) this week. The big-hitting American is still looking for his first win on the PGA Tour, but he is knocking on the door relentlessly. In his last eight events, List has finished no worse than T-26.

He was so close once again last week, and he should take plenty of confidence from that performance onto a course that theoretically should suit him much better. On this long track, List will have a significant advantage as one of the longest hitters on Tour. Over his last 24 rounds, he ranks 5th in Strokes Gained-Off The Tee and 1st in Strokes Gained-Tee to Green. List is also flushing his irons. He was second in the field last week for Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green, and over his previous 24 rounds he sits 3rd in the same category.

It’s not only his long game that is highly proficient right now, either. List’s short game has been stellar over this impressive stretch, too. He ranks 8th for Strokes Gained-Around the Green and 28th for Strokes Gained-Short Game over his last 24 rounds.

The one department holding the big man back is his putting, where he ranks 145th for the season. The rest of his game is so sharp at the moment that he’s in the enviable position of not needing that hot a week with the flat-stick to win. He only needs an average week on the greens to finally break through and claim his first PGA Tour event. There’s nothing to suggest List isn’t going to play well once more this week, and at 25/1 he seems undervalued.

Returning to a track that he adores, Brendan Steele (33/1, DK Price $8,900) is always a danger at this event. As well as winning the title here in 2011, Steele has finished in the top-20 three times since then. Whatever it is about TPC San Antonio, it’s a course that brings out the best in Steele’s game.

It’s been an excellent season for the West Coast native, too. He won his opening event of the season at the Safeway Open and has since finished in the top-30 six times. One of the main reasons for his strong run of form has been his work with the driver. Steele is ranked 1st in Strokes Gained-Off The Tee over his last 24 rounds, and he has only failed to post a positive Strokes Gained statistic in this category once since this event last year.

Recently, Steele’s game is showing trends that he may once more be close to hitting the form that saw him win at the back end of last year. In his previous 24 rounds, the Californian is ranked 10th in Ball Striking and 7th in Strokes Gained-Total. Always a threat at this event, Steele is coming into this week with all parts of his game in sync. He should be a live threat once more in San Antonio.

Another man who has played well all year is Xander Schauffele (35/1, DK Price $8,800). The Californian has made seven of eight cuts this year, and he has finished in the top-25 in four of those occasions. Excellent off the tee, TPC San Antonio should suit the 24-year-old this week, too. Schaufelle ranks 7th in Strokes Gained-Off The Tee and 17th in Strokes Gained-Tee to Green over his last 24 rounds.

With wind likely to play a factor this week, pure ball striking will be necessary. That shouldn’t be an issue for Xander, who sits 7th in Strokes Gained-Ball Striking over his last 24 rounds. There is nothing off about Schauffele’s game right now. He ranks 21st in Strokes Gained-Putting over his previous 12 rounds and 5th in Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green over the same period. It’s only a matter of time before the two-time PGA Tour winner puts himself in the thick of contention again, and there’s no reason why it can’t be this week.

Recommended Plays

  • Luke List 25/1, DK Price $10,000
  • Brendan Steele 33/1, DK Price $8,900
  • Xander Schauffele 35/1, DK Price $8,800
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