Answer to “I Have a Brain, Dammit!” and other Monday Thoughts

“Johnny Miller remembers when those events were big deals — he often cleaned up on the West Coast — so they surely look to him now like shadowy ghosts of their former glory.”

Van Sickle wrote this:

The Wells Fargo Championship had the worst-performing players who received sponsor’s exemptions, with only one of eight making the cut. The best-performing were Bay Hill (16 of 20) and Phoenix (4 of 5) .800; Puerto Rico (9 of 13) .692; and Frys.com (4 of 6) .667.

The first thing I thought of, as I looked at the list, was that Bay Hill is a limited field event.  I checked the numbers:

  • 77 Made Cut
  • 43 Cut
  • 120 Total Players in Field
  • 64 Percent of Field Made Cut

Contrast those numbers to Phoenix: 77 Made Cut, 55 Cut, 132 Total Players, meaning only 58 percent of the field made the cut.  Based on just that, a sponsor’s exemption has a better likelihood of making the cut at Bay Hill.

The point is this: When you see statistics, ask yourself if they are:

  • Accurate
  • Relevant
  • Apples-to-Apples

In this case, they were accurate and potentially relevant, but they were apples-to-oranges comparisons.  Frankly, in this day and age, most statistics are meaningless and dismissable.  I blame it on the “fantasy” sports worldview so many have these days.  That and the fact that Americans are growing measurably dumber by the decade.

Another question: Why are there so many sponsor’s exemptions in a limited-field event?  This is an event Woods won eight times, so the question is: How many would he have won if it had been a full-field event not watered down by 20 (that number varies, but is always high) sponsor’s exemptions?

Interestingly, while researching this, I learned that, beginning next year, the Bay Hill winner will receive a three-year exemption to the PGA Tour rather than the standard two-year.  That must be because it is the Arnold Palmer Invitational (why didn’t Van Sickle call it that, I wonder) because it sure doesn’t warrant a three-year exemption based on the strength of the field.

I realized yesterday I’m just not a big Hunter Mahan fan.  Nothing against the guy, really, other than he is something of an on-course hothead, but there’s nothing about him that really draws me to him.  Nevertheless, after watching his caddy lay out the options for the second shot on No. 18 and then urge Hunter toward the punch-out-to-fairway option, I kind of pulled for them not to blow it.  That was magnified when Hunter’s wife and kid entered the picture (apparently as a surprise to him).  You’d have hated for them to feel they jinxed him.

What was wrong with Rory?  He stayed in Manhattan and drove to New Jersey every day.  Sounds like the week was as much about a New York City vacation as it was the Westchester Classic.  That’s just conjecture, though.  Regardless, if Rory doesn’t insert himself back into the “playoffs” in a big way, I’m probably going to watch even more football and tennis.  (And that would have been more than golf in any event.)

I can’t recall if I mentioned this already or not, but the media keeps stressing the point that these playoffs come at a time that used to be a kind of golf nothing period.  That’s true, but I think there’s an element of robbing Peter to pay Paul with this FedEx Cup stuff.  The early events (of the year) seem to be suffering as a result of the FedEx events.  The big names seem to have a disincentive to play in Hawaii and California because the season runs so long; as a result, those events suffer in strength, and it almost seems like the broadcasts themselves have a downer vibe about them.  Johnny Miller remembers when those events were big deals — Johnny often cleaned up on the West Coast — so they surely look to him now like shadowy ghosts of their former glory.

Rory, who won two majors and a WGC prior to playing the Westchester Classic now trails Hunter Mahan, who won this one event, in the FedEx standings.  It’s the playoffs, you say, you have to perform.  Okay, then why are so many guys who missed the cut still playing next week?  Jimmy Walker, for example, missed the cut and fell only from second to third.  The FedEx Cup “playoffs” system has to be the most convoluted in sports.

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3 Responses to Answer to “I Have a Brain, Dammit!” and other Monday Thoughts

  1. Anonymous says:

    Lanny – the frys.com is a weak event so that is a factor too

  2. Anonymous says:

    As far as ‘liking’ and ‘not liking’ players….The media has something to do with that….Maybe Hunter just needs to get his own WATCH commercial…….Seriously, are that many golfers buying watches after watching Jack and Eldrick slowly walk down a ‘green screen’ hallway, or Rory wearing a watch while swinging in slow motion, and then showing us a golf ball….

  3. Anonymous says:

    I prefer watching the west coast tournaments even though the fields are weaker. The courses just seem to more personality.

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