I.T.N. No. 8
PUBLISHED June 24, 2019
Inside The Numbers ...
is a brief numerical summary of the current happenings in the world golf, published every Monday — hopefully.
Andrea Pavan won the BMW International Open on the European Tour last week, beating the field by 3.1 strokes per round. After taking into account the strength of the field, this performance works out to be equivalent to beating an average PGA Tour field by about 2.3 strokes per round. A raw strokes-gained of +2.3 per round is good enough to win a full-field PGA Tour event just 0.5% of the time. One way to measure the quality of Pavan’s performance last week is by estimating how often it would result in a win at a full-field PGA Tour event. We call this true expected wins, and Andrea Pavan earned just 0.005 of them last week.
Keegan Bradley tried to make things interesting for the fans at the Travelers Championship on Sunday. Beginning the day 6 strokes behind Chez Reavie, Bradley made a back-nine charge to trim Reavie’s lead to just one stroke through 15 holes, before a double on the 17th hole ultimately ended his chances. Despite Bradley’s surge, Reavie still held a commanding win probability advantage the entire day, never falling below a 72% chance to win. It’s easy to underestimate how much win equity 1 stroke is worth at any point in a golf tournament, but especially down the final stretch of holes.
Paul Barjon, a 26-year-old born in the French territory of New Caledonia, has caught our attention with his recent performance in Canada. Barjon has averaged +0.53 true strokes-gained over his last 20 rounds — 16 of which were on the Mackenzie Tour and 4 of which were at the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open — vaulting him into the 2nd spot on the Mackenzie Tour money list. It is exceedingly rare for a Mackenzie Tour player to perform better than an average PGA Tour professional for an entire season, but Barjon is in a good position to do it this year.
Dustin Johnson enters the Rocket Mortgage Classic with the highest win probability in the field at 14.1% — 7.7 percentage points better than the next highest belonging to Hideki Matsuyama at 6.4%. Johnson would have to spot Matsuyama 3 strokes (over the course of 4 rounds) for their win probabilities to be made equal. For the average ranked player in the field, Johnson would have to spot 10 strokes for it to be a fair fight! Who says margins are thin on the PGA Tour?
Jason Kokrak reportedly used a canoe paddle en route to losing 6.94 strokes on the greens in the first round of last week’s Travelers Championship. Remarkably, there have been 30 golfers in the Shotlink era who have lost more strokes putting to the field in a single round than Kokrak did last Thursday. Kirk Triplett currently holds the record at 9.1, which occurred during the first round of the 2007 Ginn sur Mer Classic.