By Popular Demand: Crickets and Tumbleweeds

A couple of weeks ago, I read this edition of “The Links” by Kyle Porter at CBS Golf.  A certain item grabbed my attention:

Interesting take here on why guys like Brandt Snedeker get hurt by playing on the PGA Tour. (Golf Analytics)

There is a small sliver of truth to that line of thinking, as there is a bit of purposeful bias in favor of the smaller tours (the Asian and Japanese Tours, for example); the idea is to aid in popularizing the sport in new market regions of the world by having their top players compete in big OWGR events and majors.  I clicked the link to see if the author went overboard, as I suspected he might have:

Does anyone actually think that guys like Lahiri, Jaidee, Gallacher, Bjorn, Jimenez, Warren, and Grace would be able to achieve what Snedeker has playing on the PGA Tour?  I think it’s pretty unlikely; those guys feast on the weaker European/Asian Tour events.

That’s crazy talk!  I responded at CBS:

The author asks if Lahiri, Jaidee, Gallacher, Bjorn, Jimenez, Warren, and Grace would be able to achieve what Snedeker has playing on the PGA Tour [then] says he finds it “highly unlikely.” Why so unlikely when 5 of those 7 finished ahead of Snedeker at last year’s British Open?

You don’t get on the Euro Tour by sending in proof-of-purchase seals from a sleeve of Titleists.

A couple of days later, the author, jalnichols, wrote more on the topic; Kyle posted another link; I replied at CBS once again.

Where am I going with this?  Well, this week, there is a little gathering of the world’s top 75 74 players at the WGC Trump Doral in Florida.  Six of the seven players jalnichols mocked happen to be playing.  Suffice it to say that ole Lanny will be watching very closely to see how those six “undeserving” Europeans do:

  • Anirban Lahiri
  • Thongchai Jaidee
  • Stephen Gallacher
  • Thomas Bjorn
  • Marc Warren
  • Branden Grace
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9 Responses to By Popular Demand: Crickets and Tumbleweeds

  1. jalnichols says:

    Not that cherry-picking events means anything, but on a “neutral” continent event at the WGC-HSBC, Snedeker has gone 11-80-10 the past three years when that group of players has finished:

    Grace 62-53-DNP
    Jaidee 21-66-41
    Lahiri DNP-42-28
    Gallacher DNP-92-24
    Bjorn 21-58-41
    Jimenez DNP-107-71
    Warren DNP-54-34

    Snedeker has the two best finishes out of 19 entries.

    Looking at the Open Championship – which is fair to say is a “home” event for a number of these players but not Snedeker – Snedeker has finished 3-11-58. The other seven players:

    Grace 77-64-36
    Jaidee 77-32-39
    Lahiri 31-DNP-116
    Gallacher DNP-21-15
    Bjorn 54-73-26
    Jimenez 9-13-89
    Warren DNP-97-39

    In other words, Snedeker has two of the three best finishes in the Open Championship out of 21 entries.

    • lannyh says:

      Are you the real jalnichols? If so, I’m honored. One thing you didn’t take into account when using Snedeker as your example: the OWGR is a two-year window, and he was in something of a slump. So to use the name of a well-known player who just won on the PGA Tour, well, in this case, that sounds more dramatic than it was.
      I agree you can cherry-pick, but I really just wanted to point out that it was not “crazy talk” to think the guys you listed would be competitive with Sneds.
      I would have to say I’m not sure a guy from Thailand thinks of the UK as his “home,” but some of the others, sure. But then, we’d have to give the Euros bonus points for events played here.
      At any rate, I look forward to seeing how my boys perform this week at Doral.

    • lannyh says:

      It’s probably worth pointing out that Snedeker’s T-3 at the British Open is no longer a Counting Event in the OWGR. And that his second best finish is only weighted at 0.2174 right now. (Last year’s is at 0.7826.) It’s not the fault of the Euro Tour that Snedeker has been trending the wrong way most of the past two years. In the OWGR system, recent results — the Brit Open where 5 of my 7 boys whupped Sneds — count more. Tiger Woods went to number two in the world after that T-3 of Snedeker’s, but he’s clearly trending in the opposite direction of Lahiri right now.
      Nothing against Sneds, and I’m happy to see that he’s got his game back. I’m not pulling against Sneds. He’ll do what he does. What’s important is how The Six do. Jaidee and Gallacher finished T-6 at Doral last year. That’s pretty competitive. A quick glance shows four of them beat Sneds last year. Again,the focus shouldn’t be so much on Sneds, but he is interesting as you chose him for your example. Four of the Six, though, know the course, so that keeps things fair. Lahiri is in his first WGC event, I do believe.

      • jalnichols says:

        You’re missing my point. I said that those players would be unlikely to achieve anywhere near the success that Snedeker has if they were on the PGA Tour; ie, they would be ranked much lower without benefiting from the bias the OWGR has towards the non-PGA Tour tours.

        To prove that, I’ve shown that they have failed to keep up with Snedeker in six events where he doesn’t have the advantage of competing in the US. We can look at all kinds of tournaments across the world and that will be the conclusion.

        So your point about those events not counting anymore or counting in a diminished fashion is irrelevant. Snedeker has shown he is a better golfer than all of those seven players I stated benefited from the OWGR bias; were the OWGR designed in an unbiased fashion he would have ranked higher even during this “slump” he had in 2014.

      • lannyh says:

        Tiger Woods has shown he is a better golfer than those guys, but he’s certainly not better now, which is what the OWGR strives to show.

        I understand the cherry-picking involved. But these Euros consistently come over here and compete. There IS a slight problem; I’m not arguing that, though I would say it is largely intentional, so as to bring in new markets by involving their fan favorites. That applies more to Japan and Asia. But you singled out seven quite strong players to mock, as if they couldn’t tie Sned’s shoes.

        I also disagree with your methodology, as Sagarin ranks on one-year window, and using your own ranking system (however great it might be) to prove your point is rather questionable.

        You have a great website, but I think you’re going to wind up with egg on your face for singling out those players. I wondered if you intentionally omitted Wiesberger, who is on fire, and Donaldson.

      • jalnichols says:

        Yeah, because I think, based on their performance, that both Wiesberger and Donaldson are fantastic, top 20-30 quality players who would maintain their world rank as PGA Tour regulars.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Lanny is trying to prop up his boy Rory in a roundabout way in case anyone didn’t already know that

  3. Pingback: WGC Trump Doral Cadillac Championship Live Blog (running post) | Lanny H Golf

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