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The Numbers Game

Par is a Good Score

Jun. 12, 2007     By     Comments (5)

The Numbers GameThe U.S. Open is notorious for its idea of par as a standard. The courses that host the tournament are usually set up to be quite penal. "Par is a good score" you'll hear pros say, and this year's event at Oakmont Country Club outside of Pittsburgh, PA is looking no different.

The typical U.S. Open course has pinched fairways, long holes, super-fast, super-firm undulating greens, and the nastiest, thickest, juiciest rough you'll ever want to see.

And yet the U.S. Open typically plays to about even par, and is actually trending lower. Let's have a look.

The Cost of Being a Fan

May. 22, 2007     By     Comments (0)

The Numbers GameAnyone who calls themselves a real fan of the PGA Tour has watched the television coverage of a major and thought "How great would it be to attend!?" Fans of Tiger, Phil, and the rest of the boys on Tour would all love to follow the action live. Sure, your couch has some comforts, but how many times are you going to stride along with Tiger as he wins another U.S. Open?

The people attending these events by and large look like you and I. They're normal guys who just happened to nab some great tickets. Scoring passes to prestigious sports events does not come cheap. Look around sometime and price out tickets to a World Series, or if you dare, The Super Bowl. Major events on the PGA Tour are not much easier on the pocket books. In fact, depending on the event, they can be considerably more expensive.

In this week's The Numbers Game, we'll have a look at the cost of being a fan.

Angles of Error

May. 15, 2007     By     Comments (5)

The Numbers GameWhile baseball may be a game of inches, golf, it's been said, is a game of angles. It's better to approach Augusta National's 11th green from the far left edge of the fairway than, say, what used to be the far right edge of the fairway. It's better to leave yourself an uphill putt than a downhill putt. If you play a fade, you're better off teeing up on the right-hand side of the teebox.

Yes, in addition to being a mental exercise, a stroll in the park, and one of the few solitary sports in the world, golf is a game of angles. This week in The Numbers Game we take a look at some of those angles: how far offline can you start a three-foot putt and still expect to make it? How about a ten-foot putt? How hard is it to hit the green or fairway?

Let's find out.

Money List Trends

May. 8, 2007     By     Comments (6)

The Numbers GameWith his win this week at the Wachovia Championship, Tiger Woods surpassed the $4 million mark for the eighth straight year. And it's only May!

It's unquestioned that Tiger Woods has had a dramatic effect on the game, and certainly on the money list. Though you can ask the old codgers about the days winning barely paid for the gas to the next tournament, the modern-day PGA professional must make over half a million dollars just to keep his Tour card!

The money list is one of the few stats that measure actual performance on the course. It's also one of the few areas in which we can statistically and visibly see Tiger's effect on the game of golf.

Let's have a look.

Slow Play Calculations

May. 1, 2007     By     Comments (20)

The Numbers GameThis week, The Sand Trap is throwing hard light on slow play on America's golf courses. We're fed up, tired, and sick of spending five hours traversing four miles of course, especially when there are so many incentives to play more quickly: more time with family, more time at the 19th hole, more time to play another 18 holes, and the increased likelihood that our spouse will let us play to begin with!

In this week's The Numbers Game, we're going to look at how much time one can save doing simple, efficient things on the golf course, ranging from walking more quickly to being ready to play when it's your turn.

Read on, because I think the amount of time you can save may be impressive.

2007 Masters in Numbers

Apr. 10, 2007     By     Comments (6)

The Numbers GameThe Masters is over. Zach Johnson is the winner, Tiger Woods failed to mount a Sunday charge (as did most of the rest of the field), and Augusta put up more than a fair fight. So be it.

While we're between Numbers Game columnist, I thought I'd fill in with some quickie stats from this year's playing of the U.S. Open, errr, Masters Invitational.

Reformulating a Formulated Formula

Mar. 8, 2007     By     Comments (7)

The Numbers GameIt has come to this. In every sport it's possible to find predictions, whether in the Las Vegas sports books or in your weekly fantasy league. But what if you could have a slight advantage over the rest of your league mates? What if you could predict the future?

Well, you're looking in the wrong place! This article is basically just a proof of concept from my last article in that I am going to make some minor tweaks to the 40-30-20-10 Rule to see if they can predict the outcome of a tournament more effectively than The Golf Channel's WinZone.

Testing the 40-30-20-10 Rule

Mar. 1, 2007     By     Comments (6)

The Numbers GameI am still somewhat new around here, but I know good numbers when I see them. No I'm not talking about how dominating Tiger Woods is in Official World Golf Ranking points or how Charles Howell III is leading the way in the FedEx Cup.

No, I'm talking about Dave Koster's 40-30-20-10 Rule.

The Golf Channel’s WinZone

Feb. 22, 2007     By     Comments (7)

The Numbers GameI don't know about all of you, but numbers really tickle my fancy… especially new types of numbers! While watching the debut of The Golf Channel's coverage of the PGA Tour, I noticed they had a new number on their leader board. I came to find out this was their Win Zone statistical systems which output how the system thought each player would finish in the tournament based on the information it had at hand as well as two years prior.

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