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Past Issues
48. Taylor Triumphs (2024-02-15)
47. DG PIP Rankings (2024-02-07)
46. California Kids (2024-01-23)
45. Yuan Goes Yard (2024-01-17)
44. Brain Drain (2024-01-03)
43. LIV Fever (2023-12-06)
42. Nothing Major (2023-11-15)
41. Driving Machine (2023-11-08)
40. How's Traffic? (2023-10-18)
39. Lucky Luke (2023-10-11)
38. Postmortem (2023-10-04)
37. Ryder Cup (2023-09-27)
36. Letzig Returns (2023-09-20)
35. That's a Wrap (2023-08-29)
34. Pick 6 (2023-08-23)
33. Tale of Two Glovers (2023-08-16)
32. Forecasting the FedEx (2023-08-09)
31. Postseason (2023-08-01)
30. Major Letdown (2023-07-25)
29. Underdogs (2023-07-19)
28. Up and Down (2023-07-11)
27. Validation for Rickie (2023-07-05)
26. The Ams Strike Back (2023-06-27)
25. Wyndham Rewarded (2023-06-20)
24. The Show Rolls On (2023-06-13)
23. Scottie's Scaries (2023-06-08)
22. Grillo, Mi Amigo (2023-05-30)
21. Major Koepka (2023-05-23)
20. Glory's Second Shot (2023-05-16)
19. We Meet Again.. (2023-05-09)
18. Big Tone (2023-05-01)
17. Health Check (2023-04-24)
16. Live From Harbour Town (2023-04-17)
15. Phil Thrills (2023-04-11)
14. Down Magnolia Lane We Go (2023-04-03)
13. Peaking for Augusta (2023-03-27)
12. Fall of The DeChambino (2023-03-21)
11. Top Scheff (2023-03-13)
10. Fore Right! (2023-03-06)
9. CH3.. Wins? (2023-02-28)
8. The Rahm Slam (2023-02-21)
7. Garbage Time (2023-02-14)
6. Little Misery (2023-02-07)
5. Rory Returns (2023-01-30)
4. Rahm Threat (2023-01-23)
3. Rising Maverick (2023-01-16)
2. Morikawa's Meltdown (2023-01-09)
1. Introducing Letzig (2023-01-02)

Tiger Pairings

Being paired with Tiger is probably one of the more memorable experiences a professional golfer can have. According to our tee time database—which dates back to 2006 for the PGA Tour and 2010 for the majors—233 different players have been paired with Tiger; here are his 15 most frequent playing partners:

1. Rory McIlroy: 28 rounds
2. Justin Thomas: 23
3. Steve Stricker: 20
4. Phil Mickelson: 18
5. Jordan Spieth: 17
6. Justin Rose: 17
7. Rickie Fowler: 16
8. Henrik Stenson: 15
9. Dustin Johnson: 15
10. Keegan Bradley: 15
11. K.J. Choi: 14 (all 4 rounds at 2010 Masters!)
12. Patrick Reed: 14
13. Marc Leishman: 13
14. Ernie Els: 13
15. Adam Scott: 13

On average, players have performed 0.1 strokes worse than expected when paired with TW (and 0.4 strokes worse in weekend rounds). Among those with 10 or more rounds alongside Tiger, Marc Leishman has peformed the best (1.8 shots/round above expectation), while Rickie Fowler has performed the worst (-1.6/round).


Scottie's Scaries (cont'd)

The start of the 2024 season has brought more of the same for Scottie Scheffler—elite ball-striking coupled with an uncooperative putter.

However, zooming out on Scheffler's career, we can see that it hasn't always been this way. Scottie gained 0.8 strokes per round in the first 4 months of 2022—7th-best in the world during that stretch—while winning 4 times in 8 starts. Since then, his already good ball-striking has gotten better (the blue line got steeper), while his putting numbers have steadily fallen, losing 34 strokes on the greens since his 2022 Masters victory.

It is important to remember that Scheffler is not that bad of a putter. (If you want to see truly horrific putting stats, go to Ross Fisher's profile page.) Most players need a good putting week to contend, but Scheffler—because he's so good tee-to-green—can contend despite sub-par putting. In fact, his putter single-handily cost him back-to-back wins last summer at the Charles Schwab and Memorial (non-disatrous putting weeks would have resulted in wins). Scheffler's tee-to-green excellence is drawing more attention to his putting issue than other players would face, making it seem worse than it is. For example, Scheffler has putted similarly to Gary Woodland, Tony Finau, Si Woo Kim, Doug Ghim, Akshay Bhatia, Hideki Matsuyama, etc. over the last 12 months.


Player Feature


Perplexing Letzig

Here are the players with the most cumulative strokes-gained over or under baseline—our model’s prediction—since the start of the 2024 calendar year.

"ELITE" PLAYERS
Rising
Xander Schauffele: +6.0 SG in 5 events; Jon Rahm: +3.9 SG in 2 events;

Falling
Sungjae Im: -15.8 SG in 6 events; Viktor Hovland: -12.3 SG in 3 events;

"SUB-ELITE" PLAYERS
Rising
Sam Burns: +21.0 SG in 5 events; J.T. Poston: +15.5 SG in 6 events;

Falling
Rickie Fowler: -28.9 SG in 5 events; Brian Harman: -18.4 SG in 6 events;

"AVERAGE" PLAYERS
Rising
Matthieu Pavon: +31.5 SG in 4 events; Tom Hoge: +25.5 SG in 7 events;

Falling
Curtis Luck: -28.2 SG in 4 events; Davis Riley: -25.6 SG in 5 events;

"BELOW AVERAGE" PLAYERS
Rising
Kyle Westmoreland: +22.7 SG in 4 events; Ugo Coussaud: +21.1 SG in 4 events;

Falling
Brandt Snedeker: -20.5 SG in 4 events; Tom Lewis: -20.2 SG in 3 events;


Rankings Update

Top 10 (see all)
Player DG OWGR
Scottie Scheffler 1 1
Xander Schauffele 2 1 5
Rory McIlroy 3 1 2
Jon Rahm 4 1 3
Viktor Hovland 5 1 4
Patrick Cantlay 6 1 6 1
Collin Morikawa 7 1 14
Tommy Fleetwood 8 12 1
Sam Burns 9 18
Tyrrell Hatton 10 17 1
Notables
Jordan Spieth 13 1 13 1
Justin Thomas 15 3 22 1
Tony Finau 19 3 24
Joaquin Niemann 22 1 81 3
Hideki Matsuyama 34 29 20 35
Harris English 38 20 36 4
Will Zalatoris 46 27 32 22
Luke List 52 25 57 39
Dean Burmester 53 2 95 1
Louis Oosthuizen 73 1 137 1
David Puig 112 23 141 104

FedExCup Fairness (cont'd)

In our newsletter from two weeks ago, we assessed the fairness of the new FedExCup point allocations by estimating the number of points a benchmark player could expect to earn at different events. The upshot of our analysis was that the new point allocations would be reasonably fair if applied to the 2023 schedule (when signature events had full fields), but given the limited-field nature of the 2024 events, it’s worth a lot of expected points (20-25) to play in a signature event versus a regular event this year.

Last week’s Genesis Invitational was a signature event with just 70 players and the added wrinkle of a 36-hole cut to the top 50 and ties (plus anyone within 10 strokes of the lead). Initially I thought having a cut would substantially reduce a player’s expected points–as there is a chance they miss the cut and get nothing–but it turns out to not matter much (only 2-3 points).

The expected points for our benchmark player at the Genesis was about 57, which is a couple points higher than it was for Pebble Beach (due to the smaller field). Given that regular FEC events yielded an average of 34 expected points for our benchmark player in 2023, it continues to look like having access to signature events in 2024 will be a big FedExCup advantage.


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Past Issues
48. Taylor Triumphs (2024-02-15)
47. DG PIP Rankings (2024-02-07)
46. California Kids (2024-01-23)
45. Yuan Goes Yard (2024-01-17)
44. Brain Drain (2024-01-03)
43. LIV Fever (2023-12-06)
42. Nothing Major (2023-11-15)
41. Driving Machine (2023-11-08)
40. How's Traffic? (2023-10-18)
39. Lucky Luke (2023-10-11)
38. Postmortem (2023-10-04)
37. Ryder Cup (2023-09-27)
36. Letzig Returns (2023-09-20)
35. That's a Wrap (2023-08-29)
34. Pick 6 (2023-08-23)
33. Tale of Two Glovers (2023-08-16)
32. Forecasting the FedEx (2023-08-09)
31. Postseason (2023-08-01)
30. Major Letdown (2023-07-25)
29. Underdogs (2023-07-19)
28. Up and Down (2023-07-11)
27. Validation for Rickie (2023-07-05)
26. The Ams Strike Back (2023-06-27)
25. Wyndham Rewarded (2023-06-20)
24. The Show Rolls On (2023-06-13)
23. Scottie's Scaries (2023-06-08)
22. Grillo, Mi Amigo (2023-05-30)
21. Major Koepka (2023-05-23)
20. Glory's Second Shot (2023-05-16)
19. We Meet Again.. (2023-05-09)
18. Big Tone (2023-05-01)
17. Health Check (2023-04-24)
16. Live From Harbour Town (2023-04-17)
15. Phil Thrills (2023-04-11)
14. Down Magnolia Lane We Go (2023-04-03)
13. Peaking for Augusta (2023-03-27)
12. Fall of The DeChambino (2023-03-21)
11. Top Scheff (2023-03-13)
10. Fore Right! (2023-03-06)
9. CH3.. Wins? (2023-02-28)
8. The Rahm Slam (2023-02-21)
7. Garbage Time (2023-02-14)
6. Little Misery (2023-02-07)
5. Rory Returns (2023-01-30)
4. Rahm Threat (2023-01-23)
3. Rising Maverick (2023-01-16)
2. Morikawa's Meltdown (2023-01-09)
1. Introducing Letzig (2023-01-02)