💵 Calling All Challengers
PGA Championship Review & Colonial Preview | Stats, Trends & More!
Reflecting on a Major Championship is always surreal. The week starts slow and then turns into a frenzy with historic ramifications. Being there and seeing it in person is amazing and I couldn’t do it without all of your support.
I’ll never forget Oak Hill. It was challenging but fair. It was beautiful but disgusting. It was perfect but horrible. It was special.
Truly, thank you —
🏆 Last Week’s Optimal Lineup
Brooks Koepka: $10,100 | 105.0 Points
Viktor Hovland: $9,100 | 92.0 Points
Cam Davis: $7,400 | 85.0 Points
Bryson DeChambeau: $7,400 | 78.5 Points
Kurt Kitayama: $7,100 | 78.0 Points
Sepp Straka: $6,700 | 76.5 Points
TOTAL: $47,800 | 515.0 Points
🎯 Viktor The Dartist
Lots of good signs coming out of the Hovland camp — contending in three straight Majors and gaining strokes ball-striking in every event this season. His 10.66 SG APP at Oak Hill was the best of his career and the 8th best APP performance of any TOUR player at any event since the start of the 2021 season.
🍀 Four Chances At Glory
We are halfway through Major Championship season so let’s quickly reassess those who are playing their best in the largest events of the year.
There are eleven golfers who have made the cut in each of the last four majors.
There are seven golfers who are gaining 2+ strokes per round.
Five of the top six golfers in SG failed to capture a win.
🤔 LIV To Fight Another Day
In the data world, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to handicap the LIV golfers since they don’t have advanced metrics or shot-by-shot data for their events. It’s rare to get a fully tracked start, so I thought it was worth compiling all their metrics from the PGA Championship.
A few thoughts:
Bryson destroyed the ball OTT and was great on APP.
Cam Smith, as expected, struggled to drive it around Oak Hill but leaned on his biggest weapon — the putter.
Mito is a flusher who needs to improve his rolling.
Reed is a roller who needs to improve his flushing.
DJ is the biggest surprise here. I knew on Thursday and Friday that he was likely going to regress. He was losing strokes ball-striking through two rounds and the putter was carrying him. Once that cooled off, he plummeted down the board.
⛈️ Bad Time To Be Bad
Scheffler has played 63 rounds in the 2023 season and has only lost strokes to the field nine times. Unfortunately, one of those losses (-0.38) came in round three at Oak Hill. He lost two strokes putting on Saturday which put him just too far back to overcome on Sunday
The first edition of this event was played in 1946 and was won by an all-time great. He would go on to win again in 1947, 1952 and 1953 — successfully winning four of the first seven editions.
(Answer at bottom of the email)
📊 Olympic Scoring Helps Cam
We’ve been tracking this really interesting situation with Cam Davis where he was:
Playing stellar golf from last spring until the start of 2023.
He misses five straight cuts with horrible metrics.
Admits he was suffering from an illness and he didn’t feel like himself.
Starts playing great golf again.
So if we write-off those five starts as outliers, Davis is putting together a really impressive year. To level the playing field, I’ve removed every golfer’s worst ten rounds of the year and figured out the best players in this field:
🌳 Seeing Between The Trees
Colonial generally provides a stout test, requiring precision and accuracy off-the-tee over brute force. The tree-lined fairways require good drives, which can be found at a handful of other courses on the TOUR schedule. We could slice this up a few different ways, but here are the last five years of results on comparable courses (Colonial, Harbour Town, Pebble Beach, Waialae:
🎂 Notable Birthdays This Week
May 22nd - Horton Smith (1908), Scott Brown (1983)
May 24th - Bill Haas (1982)
May 25th - Tom Hoge (1989)
May 27th - Sam Snead (1912)
🔥 Heat Check Engaged
Carson Young might be one of the hottest golfers on the planet. According to the trends tool, he is playing 0.59 strokes per round better than his 100 round baseline. That takes him from a TOUR average player to someone in the top ~25%.
If that wasn’t enough, he went scorched Earth in U.S. Open qualifying this week. He fired 63-62 and won the qualified by five shots. The other qualifiers from his sectional are certainly notable: Sergio Garcia, Austin Eckroat, Brent Grant, Paul Haley, Hank Lebioda, Jacob Solomon and Roger Sloan.
⚠️ In Case You Missed It
🎁 I gave away a rangefinder last week to one of my email subscribers. The winner has been contacted and the rangefinder will be shipped out this week.
Ben Hogan won 4x between 1946 and 1953.
Clayton Heafner, Cary Middlecoff and Sam Snead each won once.
The event was cancelled in 1949 due to flooding.