Scottie Scheffler will look to continue his dominant run during the spring over the past two seasons by adding a Players Championship to an impressively growing resume. The American has been otherworldly with his off-the-tee and approach intangibles, gaining an astronomical 11.03 shots to the field. That total becomes even more impressive when you realize he is grading as one of only three golfers inside the top 25 to have lost strokes with the putter.
Unfortunately, from a betting perspective (unless you have a pre-tournament ticket), that is the opposite of what we would want to see if you have a chaser in this game. The data suggests Scheffler will pick up another victory, making this one of the most incredible 13-month runs we have seen in quite some time.
If you haven’t already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports. There, I will provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user inputs to create custom golf rankings. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.
There are a few things to discuss with the chart above. For starters, I removed anyone who was projected over par when recombining their baseline short-game metrics with their actual ball-striking. “Underachieving” can only mean so much if a player still delivers over-par returns. That took away Sahith Theegala, Sepp Straka and Adam Scott.
Second, I dismissed any name that didn’t crack the top-50 golfers for me from a pre-tournament perspective. That is another essential quality when you consider DFS gamers and bettors have a bad habit of overanalyzing two or three rounds of stats and ignoring the extended sample size that tells much more of a story. Let’s say goodbye to Gary Woodland and Tyler Duncan.
Next, I pulled all golfers that saw an expected putting performance on fast greens go from inside the top 100 of this field to outside that threshold. Unfortunately, that took away Viktor Hovland and Max Homa — two golfers that my model does like quite a bit from an expected scoring output since I always run very little for the putting recalculated totals weekly.
And then, last but not least, I removed any golfer that was “technically” mispriced by more than five spots when considering their DraftKings total vs. my ranking. That relinquished options like Cameron Young, Collin Morikawa and Tyrrell Hatton.
Remember, none of that suggests any of those names shouldn’t be considered. Anyone I mentioned already had qualified from an underperforming standpoint before getting removed for other factors.
However, the six names you will see below are technically the golfers that fit all the criteria to show as underrated/undervalued commodities across the board.
Qualifiers: Justin Thomas, Will Zalatoris, Tom Kim, Patrick Cantlay, Eric Cole, Shane Lowry
Like we just did with the underachievers, I ran this in the reverse capacity to try and locate some of the more overvalued players on the board. To me, this is a really good rudimentary strategy to employ if you are looking to find head-to-head targets to take on in a matchup.
It is a little more challenging while going this route since bad values will come in all shapes and sizes, but I started by getting rid of all the underpriced entities when comparing my rank to their market value. There is no point in taking on a golfer already being impacted in that sense, and I was lenient in removing anyone within five spots of where they should be for round four.
I also made two bullet points of ball-striking intangibles that I highlighted. The first was that anyone who had overachieved expectations by less than three shots. One stroke a day was a reasonable enough outlook to overlook. Likewise, I subtracted anyone that had underachieved any of the three rounds when comparing their ball striking to their spot on the leaderboard. The ultimate goal was to find names that had no reason to be performing this well and weren’t showing any semblance of running how they should for the event.
And then, for the last factor, I dove into expected putting and gave full credit to golfers that graded inside the top 25 when facing a fast surface. Perhaps that was already noted when running the baseline totals and providing recognition to the better flat-stick players, but I wanted to make sure nobody who made this list had the upside to go scorched earth with their putter.
Most names that qualified here were expected overachievers near the top of the leaderboard, like Chad Ramey, Min Woo Lee and Justin Suh. Nevertheless, a few significant options slipped into this range, notably Xander Schauffele — a golfer that has been 100% smoke and mirrors from a production standpoint. If you can find a reasonable matchup against him, I would be very open-minded.
Qualifiers: Chad Ramey, Min Woo Lee, Brandon Wu, Davis Thompson, Xander Schauffele, Maverick McNealy, Justin Suh
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