Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Feedback Required - Golf Predictor and the US PGA Tour (Post 2013)

As you may be aware, the US PGA Tour schedule is changing radically from September next year (2013). From then on, the season will start in October and conclude the following September with the Tour Championship, the final leg of  the FedEx Cup play-offs. This has serious implications for Golf Predictor, where player results are combined across the two major tours for a more accurate picture of player form.  While it may be some way off, plans have to be put in place, given the limited free time at my disposal to address this issue.

Things were awkward enough when their European Tour did not stick to a calendar year for their golfing season. However, no sooner have they aligned their schedule to the calendar, but the US Tour have thrown a large spanner in the works. At least there was no tour overlap when the European Tour was out of synch, but things will be very different with the new US PGA Tour schedule. With the Fall Series now kicking off the season and carrying FedEx Cup points, it raises the very distinct possibility of golfers (mainly European Tour members) playing on the 2014 US PGA Tour one week and the 2013 European Tour the next (and/or vice versa).

This will obviously make statistics tracking across both tours very difficult. These are the options as I see it:

  1. The nuclear option: Close the site at the end of the 2013 season and refund all outstanding subscriptions. While this would give me my life back (especially on Sundays and Mondays!), it's a bit extreme and not likely to happen. My other half would be happy though!!
  2. Restrict coverage after the 2013 season to one tour. This would probably mean keeping the US PGA Tour, given the quality of the events and what most Golf Predictor users are interested in. However, restricting data to one tour defeats the purpose of the site as it makes the stats incomplete for golfers who play on both tours. On the plus side, it would cut down on my work load considerably!
  3. Come up with an even more complicated algorithm than the one already in use to allow for these different seasons in the one calendar year. Even if it could be made to work, it would be very messy at best and would need a lot of time for development and testing. However, I have neither the time nor the inclination to completely rework the site to account for this (even if it can be done!).
  4. Introduce the concept of the "GP Season". This would be what the season currently is and allow Golf Predictor to continue on more or less as is. The GP Season would therefore run from January to December and include all events from the European Tour that year and span two US PGA Tour seasons (e.g. the 2014 GP Season would cover Jan-Sept of the 2014 season and Oct-Dec of the 2015 season). A new field can be added to the database to record and display the actual US PGA Tour season an event is in. However, for stats purposes, it will be considered to be in the GP Season for the calendar year in which it is held. As golfers will still take their longish Christmas breaks, January will continue to play like a new season anyway!

Option four is by far the best (and easiest) way around this issue that I can come up with. However, I would very much welcome any user's opinion as there are probably options I haven't thought of! So, please comment on this post or contact Golf Predictor directly with your suggestions. I might even give away some free subscriptions for any good ideas!


Randun said...

Boy Aiden what a bloody mess! Frankly this is the first I've heard of this change. Is there a possibility of your bringing on programming help, either gratis or at a very low rate, to go with option 3?! If not I guess option 4 is all you're left with.

I probably just haven't looked hard enough but do you keep stats of GP predictions vs. actual outcomes? That info would influence my final decision.

Thanks much.


Golf Predictor Guru! said...

Thanks for the feedback, Randy. What a mess indeed! I wasn't best pleased when I got wind of it some time ago! I don't think I could trust anyone to do a major overhaul like that other than myself (even if I could afford to pay someone good enough!)! Option 4 is looking like the front runner alright.

You can either check my weekly summary blog posts and/or check out the Performance page (Stats Analysis menu) to compare predictions versus results for any tournament covered since GP started in 2008.

Golf Predictor Guru! said...

After one whole season adhering to the calendar year, the European Tour has gone back to starting their season in December of the previous year. The 2013 European Tour season is kicking off in December 2012, which will complicate things a little further.

Golf Predictor Guru! said...

At the moment it's looking like the 2013 GP season will encompass the 2013 US and European PGA Tours, all 2013-14 US PGA Tour events in 2013 and any 2014 European Tour events in December 2013.

Note I may include the December 2012 European Tour events (2013 season) in a 2012 GP season.

Golf Predictor Guru! said...

I've just thought of a variant of option 4, which I might go with. I could leave the site even more as is by using the concept of the GP Season in the background to work out which events are relevant for calculating golfer form.