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RandallT

What If?

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I'm a big fan of "What if?" (https://what-if.xkcd.com/1/)  They'll ask absurd hyphothetical questions, and then try to answer them somewhat seriously (with a good dollop of humor). Here's an archive of ridiculous questions: https://whatif.xkcd.com/archive/

So what are some good "what ifs" in the golf world? I remember not too long ago seeing a discussion from David W. about what if the PGA shifted to all putting- would many current players survive? By thinking it through, I think it was demonstrated that putting is not the skill that sets these players apart, so the "tour" would be vastly different players. Erik said 0 PGA players would make it, I think.

So are these useful discussions? No!  But are they interesting? Yes!  We are in the Geek Zone forum, remember?

Anyway, one I was pondering the other day. What if...

Assume that one day, all of the web.com players (or whatever "minor league" tour of your choice) are suddenly endowed with talents and scoring abilities slightly better than their PGA (or European Tour) counterparts. Let's say they magically drive the ball on average a little longer on average. And slightly more accurately. They putt better. Their proximity to the hole from various ranges is a little better. Let's stipulate that in every facet of the game, the web.com players have some slight, but just measurable statistical edge on their PGA counterparts. And not just due to the course layouts. In real skill. Let's say it's equivalent to about a stroke or two per tournament perhaps. They still rarely play the same courses in this scenario (the tours exist the same as today- different venues, mostly isolated from each other, etc), but the web.com players are in reality slightly better. So...

I wonder:

1. Would we notice? Since they are different tours, would people we write off the statistical differences as course setup? Would we just think that if a PGA player played on that setup, they'd do better too.

2. When they do go head to head, let's say the overall numbers hold up- accounting for typical variations/standard deviations in performance. Would there be any reason to detect that yes, these players on the "lower" tours are actually better. We tend to discount small sample size stats.  From what I've, there are events when a few players from "lower" tours get invited via various exemptions, but there aren't really events where the field would be half PGA, half web.com, when this difference might be obvious.

3. How long would it take for the "natural order" to re-establish itself, where the better players are in the top league, while the poorer players get demoted. There are only so many promotions per year, and I wonder if it's easier to earn enough money to stay in the PGA (once you make it there) than it is to prove yourself and earn your way up from underneath.

Feel free to dream up other "what ifs" here on this thread.

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I wonder:

1. Would we notice? Since they are different tours, would people we write off the statistical differences as course setup? Would we just think that if a PGA player played on that setup, they'd do better too.

No.

2. When they do go head to head, let's say the overall numbers hold up- accounting for typical variations/standard deviations in performance. Would there be any reason to detect that yes, these players on the "lower" tours are actually better. We tend to discount small sample size stats.  From what I've, there are events when a few players from "lower" tours get invited via various exemptions, but there aren't really events where the field would be half PGA, half web.com, when this difference might be obvious.

They'd continually take over the PGA Tour, 20 players at a time (or whatever the number is now) as the top 20 (or whatever) graduate to the PGA Tour and replace the bottom players on the PGA Tour. We'd notice the first year that few of the 20 would miss keeping their Tour card, which is very, very different than how it is now. We'd notice their rankings in various statistical categories, too.

We'd notice the occasional stand-out performance on the PGA Tour events they got to play until then, too.

3. How long would it take for the "natural order" to re-establish itself, where the better players are in the top league, while the poorer players get demoted. There are only so many promotions per year, and I wonder if it's easier to earn enough money to stay in the PGA (once you make it there) than it is to prove yourself and earn your way up from underneath.

2-5 years, depending on what you want to define the "natural order" of things, because exemptions last awhile, etc.

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1. Would we notice? Since they are different tours, would people we write off the statistical differences as course setup? Would we just think that if a PGA player played on that setup, they'd do better too.

Not at first (see answer 3).  20-25 guys swap places every year just like they do now.  They'll do a little better overall during the course of the season, but we'll likely just chalk that up to an anomaly,or more likely, parity.

2. When they do go head to head, let's say the overall numbers hold up- accounting for typical variations/standard deviations in performance. Would there be any reason to detect that yes, these players on the "lower" tours are actually better. We tend to discount small sample size stats.  From what I've, there are events when a few players from "lower" tours get invited via various exemptions, but there aren't really events where the field would be half PGA, half web.com, when this difference might be obvious.

Perhaps during the events the PGA Tour hosts during the same weekends as the WGC's - I'm pretty sure that a lot of Web guys get to play in those.  So perhaps instead of a 48 year old guy like Woody Austin or Jeff Maggert pulling a win out of his butt on weeks like that, it'll be Tony Finau or Sam Saunders types.  We'd just suspect that those guys are about to make it big.

3. How long would it take for the "natural order" to re-establish itself, where the better players are in the top league, while the poorer players get demoted. There are only so many promotions per year, and I wonder if it's easier to earn enough money to stay in the PGA (once you make it there) than it is to prove yourself and earn your way up from underneath.

If there are 125 spots on the PGA Tour and there are 25 or spots up for grabs every year,then it'll take about 5 years.  At that point - or actually probably after year 4 - I think somebody would definitely notice.

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Note: This thread is 1934 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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