Golf Rankings for Honda Classic
Hopefully you rostered Bubba Watson last week who was in my top five and avoided the dynamic duo of Jordan Spieth and Sergio Garcia. And this week, we'll likely see a leader board full of names from Europe and guys we haven't heard from yet this season. This is a week to fade nearly all of the big names because year after year we see lesser names rise to the top.
This week's tour stop is the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. It's another tough course. It's just on the other coast. PGA National is a par-70, 7,158 yard course that has held the Honda since 2007.
And since we are in Florida that means we have bermudagrass greens (no more poa annua). Floridians as well as South Africans and Australians all have experience playing on these greens as does just about anyone who calls the Southeast United States home. And with this change in greens, you'll see a few new names this week.
Where should we focus our statistical microscope this week? We won't lean too heavily on this analysis as we have a good bit of tournament history and it's a tough course so premium players will be key as well.
Also, there is some tie-in with success at the Sony Open (both par-70s, both bermudagrass, both wind-affected courses).
One important note about the weather. It looks like there will be wind on Thursday and Friday which means we want guys who play well in the wind (like Europeans let's say). And check back on Wednesday night to see if there might be a tee time advantage. At this point it doesn't look like it will matter, but the weather can change quickly.
Total Driving (TD): Total Driving combines the golfer's ranking driving distance with the ranking in driving accuracy. We'd like both length and accuracy, but we prefer accuracy over distance so we'll give more weight to the accuracy part of the Total Driving stat.
Scrambling: There is almost no way to avoid getting into some problems on this course. And we'd like to find golfers who can get themselves out of that trouble.
Bogey Avoidance (BA): We'll use this as sort of a tiebreaker. Scores will be low this week and there aren't a lot of chances to score on the course. So, we'd like our golfers to be able to make a par when a bogey is a possibility. Again, it won't be a big part of what we look at this week, but it will be in the model.
We're still looking at last season's stats to start, but we are using the current season's stats to look at players who have improved over last year and could be hidden gems.
And of course, we examine Strokes Gained: Putting and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green each week.
Lastly, if you want to look at one stat that MIGHT help you with wind players, it's Apex Height. Those with lower ball flights (are ranked lower in Apex Height) won't be quite as affected by the wind as those who have high ball flights.
So, in Group A, I'd look at some of the lesser know names so you can save the bigger names for future starts. For Group B, I'd go a bit chalkier and in Group C I have to go with Branden Grace and then I'd pick your favorite sleeper with huge upside to pair with Grace.
Branden Grace - World Ranking: #33
Rory McIlroy - World Ranking: #3
Patrick Reed - World Ranking: #17
Paul Casey - World Ranking: #16
Luke Donald - World Ranking: #82
Kevin Kisner - World Ranking: #22
Russell Knox - World Ranking: #41
Rickie Fowler - World Ranking: #9
Daniel Berger - World Ranking: #28
Adam Scott - World Ranking: #14
Shane Lowry - World Ranking: #71
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