Sunday, 30 November 2008

2009 - Week 3 Winner

Robert Allenby (ranked 1st by Golf Predictor) will rue the fact that he got only 1 albatross all week as he came up 3 shots short in the Sportsbet Australian Masters! In the end, he finished in third place as the third event of the 2009 European Tour season was won by compatriot Rod Pampling (ranked 4th). Pampling took the title after a play-off with yet another Aussie, Marcus Fraser (ranked 15th).

We also had Alexander Noren and Tim Clark highly ranked as 4 out of the Golf Predictor top 6 finished in the top 4 and ties.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Fedex Cup Tweaked (Again)

As part of ongoing attempts to make the Fedex Cup even remotely interesting, the US PGA Tour have announced more changes to the rules. After the first year when Tiger Woods won so often, he could choose to miss an event (or two) and still stroll home victorious, they changed the rules. Last season (2008), the second year of the Fedex Cup, also ended with a whimper when Vijay Singh won the first 2 play-off events and only had to turn up at East Lake to win the big prize in the Tour Championship. Obviously, something else needed to be done.

That something is to reset the points at the beginning of the Tour Championship, not at the beginning of the play-offs. This is a good idea as all 30 competitors should at least have a mathematical chance of winning. It also will mean that double major winners also make the tour flagship event, unlike last season when Harrington missed out due to poor performances in the first two play-off events.

If this latest tinkering doesn't work and the Race to Dubai takes off straight away this season (2009) on the European Tour, it could make things rather interesting for the US PGA Tour.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

2009 Tournaments in System

After a mammoth updating task, we are happy to announce that all the finalised 2009 US and European PGA Tour events have been entered into Golf Predictor. In addition to browsing the new tournaments using the 3 options in the 'Tournaments' page, you can now view the new tournament locations using Google Maps on the 'Tournament Locations' page. You can also see the new course information and charts on the 'Tournament Stats' and 'Courses' pages. All these pages are available from the 'View Options' menu in the Golf Predictor Member section.

The Fall Series on the US PGA Tour has yet to be finalised. On the European PGA Tour, 10 tournaments have to be finalised, either in terms of the host course or the tournament itself. When this data becomes available, we will of course update our system.

Monday, 24 November 2008

2009 - Week 3 Prediction Online

We have published the predictions for the third week of the 2009 golfing season, the Sportsbet Australian Masters (European PGA Tour). Given the location and time of year, it's not surprising that it's not the strongest field, with a full third of the field not in the top 1000 in the world rankings. However, Adam Scott aside, at least the Aussies are out in force!

This is only the third year that this event has been part of the European tour, so all past champions are accounted for in our statistics analysis (Golf Predictor uses the results from the previous 5 years).

Sunday, 23 November 2008

2009 - Week 2 Winner

After a one week break, the new 2009 European Tour season resumed with the UBS Hong Kong Open. Victory went to Lin Wen-Tang (ranked 14th by Golf Predictor) after a brilliant three way play-off with Rory McIlroy (ranked 17th) and Francesco Molinari (ranked 9th). Lin birdied the 18th twice (including once with a miracle shot from the trees) in the play-off to deny McIlroy after Molinari had succumbed at the first extra hole. It's McIlroy's second play off defeat in recent months but surely it's only a matter of time until his maiden victory.

Performance of the week has to go to Jason Hak, who at 14 years old became the youngest person ever to make the cut at a European tour event. Any guy who can keep up with the big boys at that tender age and erase Sergio Garcia from the record books is well worth keeping an eye on. Both Monty and Jon Daly showed a welcome return to form, with Daly finishing in a highly respectable tie for 17th after a sparkling final round of 62. Our top pick, defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez, also finished strongly with a 62. However, he had left himself too much to do and he finished in a tie for 24th place. We also had Oliver Wilson, Jeev Milkha Singh and Graeme McDowell in the top 12.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Seve Getting Better, Daly Down Under

Great news as Seve appears to be on the long road to recovery. He was removed from the intensive care ward at his Spanish hospital, which is a good start.

John Daly is ending his tumultuous season down in Australia, another place where he has courted controversy in the past (surprise, surprise!). Leaving aside him throwing his ball and putter in a lake and not signing his card when playing a week after the death of his mother in 2002, Golf Predictor's favourite Daly down under moment was in the 1997 Heineken Classic. He fired an 83 in the third round and then blazed through the fourth round in an amazing 2 hours and 10 minutes! The organisers were not best pleased as for some reason they didn't think they got value for money for their large appearance fee!

Monday, 17 November 2008

2009 Week 2 Prediction Online

We have published the prediction for the second week of the 2009 golfing season, the UBS Hong Kong Open (European PGA Tour). While the field isn't quite as strong as that for the season opener (or even the Barclays Singapore Open last week), it's not a bad line up either, featuring Miguel Angel Jimenez back defending his title.

Jose Maria Olazabal (2002) is the only past champion competing not included in our statistics analysis (Golf Predictor uses the results from the previous 5 years).

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Golf Course Charts Updated

As part of the Tournament Stats page amendments, we have also broken down the 3 charts previously available on the "View Options/Courses" page in the member section of Golf Predictor by tour. You can now choose to see the same 3 chart types for the European or US tour separately.

This effectively adds 3 new charts to Golf Predictor, bringing the total in the system up to 82. Interestingly, these new charts show that there are a lot more par 72 courses and far less par 70 courses on the European tour than the US tour.

Tournament Stats Page Now Sortable by Tour

In order to enforce consistency through out the member section of Golf Predictor, we have amended the Tournament Stats page (View Options Menu) to enable tour selection. Using the new dropdown list, you can now choose to see European or US tournament statistics.

The 9 different chart types available on this page have also been updated to show data for the selected tour. This effectively adds 18 new charts to Golf Predictor (there are now 9 for the US tour and 9 for the European tour), bringing the total in the system up to 79.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

2008 US PGA Tour Stats

There are lots of interesting stats in the 2008 round up on the US PGA Tour web site. This includes the longest putt, the longest drive and the most strokes taken on a par 3/4/5 during the season.

My favourite statistics come from the list of the oddest 10 stats:
  1. The shortest hitter on tour (Corey Pavin) has a lower scoring average than the longest (Bubba Watson), despite giving up an average of 53.7 yards per drive. When he finally gets to the green, Pavin has the lowest number of putts per round while Watson is 182nd. If that's not proof of "driving for show and putting for dough", I don't know what is!
  2. Further proof comes with the fact that of the 36 different 2008 winners, 15 had their best putting week when they won, 11 had their best greens in regulation performance while just 6 had their top driving distance week.
  3. Hale Irwin has walked over 25,000 miles on the PGA and Champions' Tours since 1968 - more than enough to circumnavigate the globe at the equator!
  4. Bob Tway finished first on tour in putting in regulation, third in birdie average, fourth in the all-around category and 32nd in scoring but still managed to finish 132nd on the money list.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Live at the Singapore Open 2008!

It's not covered by Golf Predictor, but the Asian Tour is holding the Singapore Open this week and the Golf Predictor Guru is in town! It was good to see some great golfers at close quarters. The course looked great (see first picture) and the event seemed very well organised, but unfortunately the weather was awful with persistent rain and wind. Amongst others, I managed to see Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott and Padraig Harrington in action (see second picture). Golf looks so easy when you see them do it!

I followed Harrington around his back 9 (the actual front 9), resplendent as I was in my Irish baseball cap and Golf Predictor t-shirt!! I had planned to follow him until he finished and double back to watch Darren Clarke, Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy, but unfortunately play was suspended due to thunder and lightning. Cue monsoon, so after a long wait, I reluctantly decided to call it quits. At the time, Harrington was even with three holes to play having been 2 under at the turn. He eventually finished with a one over 71.

Despite the weather, it was still a most enjoyable day, although it's obvious I won't be winning any prizes for photography!!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

New Tournaments View

We have added a slightly new view to the Tournaments page (available from the "View Options" menu in the Golf Predictor member section). Above the table of tournaments, there is now a new "List with Host Course" link in the "Switch to" list that invokes this new page.

This new page shows the tournaments for each season with their host course listed instead of the type of tournament. The course column is sortable for extra convenience. You can alternate between the 3 tournament pages (with type, with course and calendar view) using the "Switch to" links.

2009 US PGA Tour Schedule Announced

The US PGA Tour have announced the 2009 schedule, up until the final Fedex play-off event. The date for the Tour Championship and the following Fall Series are to be finalised later. Unlike the European Tour, there is very little change next year with the only significant alteration being the promotion of the Valero Texas Open to a Fedex Cup event. This means it moves forward in the schedule to take the place of the discontinued AT&T Classic.

We'll get round to the exciting task of inputting this information into Golf Predictor in the near future!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Performance Charts Now Multi-Year

We are happy to announce that from now on, the following charts on each golfer Prediction Data page (available from the "Stats Analysis" menu options in the Golf Predictor member section) will be multi-year:
  1. Average Season Position
  2. Scoring Average (Season)
  3. World Ranking
  4. Season Round 1 Score
  5. Season Round 2 Score
  6. Season Round 3 Score
  7. Season Final Round Score
You can click on the newly provided year links (years from 2003 on that the golfer played) to see the data for the selected golfer in the selected year*. Note that at the moment, not all the historical data before 2008 is in the database. We hope that you find this useful.

*World ranking data is part of a prediction, not a result, so that information is only available for tournaments that a golfer played in since Golf Predictor started operating in May 2008.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Week Break!

As the US PGA Tour is finished until January and there is no event on the European Tour this week, Golf Predictor is taking a well earned break this week! We will be back next week to cover the UBS Hong Kong Open.

In the meantime, we hope to have an actual live report from the Barclays Singapore Open, an Asian Tour event on this week with a high quality field, including Darren Clarke, Adam Scott, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy.

2009 - Week 1 Winner

They might have switched continents and seasons, but there were weather problems on the European Tour for the second week running as the 2009 season kicked off in Shanghai, China. In the end, Sergio Garcia (ranked 3rd by Golf Predictor) continued his magnificent recent form to take the HSBC Champions title and move into second place in the world rankings. In the Monday finish, Garcio edged out Oliver Wilson on the second hole of the play-off to triumph over the high quality field.

It was a great start to the 2009 season for Golf Predictor. Our top pick, Phil Mickleson, finished in tied eighth and we had 10 of the top fifteen in total.

2008 - Week 51 Winner

Davis Love III (ranked 24th by Golf Predictor) battled back from injury to re-enter the winner's circle and claim his 20th career US PGA Tour victory in the Children's Miracle Network Classic. In the final event of the 2008 season, Love finished with a bogey free 64 to secure a lifetime exemption on the US PGA Tour. However, he had to scramble up the last couple of holes to win by a single shot over Tommy Gainey who had the week of his season. Jeff Overton continued his brave performances in the past 2 weeks by securing his card just 3 weeks after an appendix operation. Martin Laird holed an 8 footer on 18 to secure 125th place on the money list and hence his playing privileges for next year. Now there's a pressure putt!

Not a great end to the season for Golf Predictor as events with low quality fields tend to be harder to predict. Our top pick, Stewart Cink, finished in 43th and we only had Scott Verplank in the top ten as the bigger names all underperformed. Maybe next year, we'll have to factor in a player's desire to keep his card in the final events of the season!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Season Transition

Golf Predictor is starting to predict the 2009 season this week. As this is the first tournament of the new season, the players form towards the end of last season will be an important factor in the calculations. We feel that this is the best approach given that there are only 4 days between the end of the 2008 season and the beginning of the 2009 one.

In the next few weeks, as the European 2009 season progresses, will will add more weight to 2009 results and less to 2008 ones. When the new US tour season starts in January, we will take a similar approach.

As this is our first season transition here at Golf Predictor, there were a few niggly problems with the system. These were primarily caused by the 2009 European season being so out of whack with the more logical 2009 US season and the fact that there is no season history for the very first event. We hope that we have now sorted all these issues out now and we thank you for your patience during this time. Please let us know if you spot a problem.

Monday, 3 November 2008

2009 - Week 1 Prediction Online

Due to the strange organisation of the European PGA Tour, this week is also the first week of the 2009 golfing season (as far as Golf Predictor is concerned). The HSBC Champions event kicks things off for the new season barely 4 days after the end of the 2008 season! The event features a very strong field, including defending champion Phil Mickleson, double 2008 major champion Padraig Harrington, 2008 Order of Merit winner Robert Karlsson and the inform Sergio Garcia.

The HSBC Champions is only in its third year, so all past champions are accounted for in our statistics analysis (Golf Predictor uses the results from the previous 5 years).

2008 - Week 51 Prediction Online

We have published the predictions for week 51, the Children's Miracle Network Classic (US PGA Tour). This marks the end of the 2008 US PGA Tour season (and the golf season for Golf Predictor!) and thus the last chance that some players have of retaining their playing rights for next season. A special good luck wish to Erik Compton, a man on his third heart who is competing this week!

Previous winners before 2003 (Golf Predictor includes results from the previous 5 years) competing this week include John Huston (1992, 1998) and Jeff Maggert (1993).

2008 - Week 50 Winners

The weather played havoc on both sides of the Atlantic, particularly on the European side where the season ending event, the Volvo Masters, was in danger of ending in farce. The European Tour's idiotic scheduling means that the 2009 season starts this Thursday in Shanghai. This meant a large portion of the field could not play today (Monday) in the event of a weather delay, which almost came to pass. This looked like reducing the flagship tournament to 54 (or even 36 holes) at one stage. Shoddy treatment for Volvo, one of the Tour's biggest supporters for many years. Why they could not have delayed the Chinese event for a week or two, we don't know. There's even a 2 week gap in the schedule after the event this week. Roll on 2010, when common sense finally comes to the European season.

In the end, they managed to fit all four rounds in and Soren Kjeldsen (ranked 13th by Golf Predictor) led from start to finish to claim an impressive victory. We had a small punt on Jimenez and Stenson to finish in the top 10, but the weather turned the event into a lottery. Jimenez was particularly unlucky, having been caught in the very worst of it and bled seven shots in four holes. Had he not lost those seven shots, he would have made it! The race for the Order of Merit petered out somewhat in the final round, but we are delighted that "our man", Robert Karlsson, triumphed in the end. Karlsson has had a brilliant season and thoroughly deserved to win.

In America, Ryan Palmer (ranked 13th by Golf Predictor) birdied the last to break out a large group and take his virst tour victory for 4 years in the Ginn sur Mer Classic. It was a triumph for sportsmanship too, as Palmer had called a penalty on himself on the 10th green when his ball moved as he addressed it. Performance of the week must go to Jeff Overton, who finished 18th just 2 weeks after an appendix operation. Now that's what we call determination to keep your card!

The Fall Series (or should that be "Desperado Series"?!) of US events with weak fields trying to maintain playing rights ends this week at the Disney Resort.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Rules - You Gotta Love 'em!

Golf is famous for its extensive rules book(s) and possibly for the fact that most golfers don't know them all that well! Golf bureaucracy also extends into making regulations for professional tours and players. Any system of rules inevitably throws up a few howlers (e.g. search the net for stupid laws worldwide!) and golf is no different.

Last year Steve Stricker became the first player in US PGA Tour (or any other sport) history to be voted comeback player of the year in consecutive seasons. That took some doing, but we here at Golf Predictor reckon he should have given the first award back as he obviously hadn't come back far enough! What odds on Tiger Woods winning it next season?!

Even more bizarrely, at the AT&T Championship last week John Cook became the first Champions Tour rookie ever to successfully defend a title. Think about that one for a second! Apparently, you have to play 6 tournaments in a season for it to be considered a rookie season and Cook only played 2 last year, including his first AT&T Championship victory.

It's a funny old game!