Champions Tour Players Overrated?

Just something I noticed in the model:

67 Steve Stricker
100 Padraig Harrington
148 Steven Alker
317 Ernie Els
395 Fred Couples

Is there something going on the model potentially being thrown off by Harrington’s strong performances on the DP World Tour and some small sample/overfitting issues? Would Steve Stricker really have been the favorite if he stayed in the Puerto Rico field? Something just seems off.

Short answer: yes
Long answer: yes, sir
No model is perfect and you’re seeing some great examples of its shortcomings

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Now you have to be careful here when it comes to the Masters because it’s a funny course. Someone like Couples or Langer could make the cut and it wouldn’t be that big a surprise. Heck Olazabal made the cut not too long ago

I think Stricker would have been favoured by the model, yes.

I looked at this last year. Just did a simple regression of performance in PGA Tour events on our predicted skill and fraction of data (that goes into the player’s prediction) from Champions Tour. If we are overvaluing Champions Tour data then we should see that they are underperforming on the PGA Tour. Did not find that to be the case.

I’m not sure what Daniel is basing his statements off of, he tends to fire from the hip pretty often in here.

Champions Tour data is definitely tricky to handle as I think there are potentially some extreme course fit things to consider (e.g. having distance might be a massive advantage on Champions Tour courses), but I’m pretty confident our Champions Tour data is not systematically overvalued.


Padraig still plays a ton of golf and works really hard on his speed. He is all-around still a good player who can hang in there on the PGA tour, and floats to the top of the leaderboard when the wind is up.

K.J. Choi, Duffy Waldorf in the field
Choi could make the cut since the field is very weak
I would not bet either to finish in the Top 10 or higher since their ceiling is likely capped
Choi could finish in Top 20 with a big week but I would not aim any higher

Got burned many times betting these players to finish in Top 10 and 20. I think sticking to the cut and Top 40 markets for these guys is the way to go. Top 20 is possible so I wouldn’t rule that one out completely.

Yeah, a lot of seniors in the Puerto Rico field (for now). Harrington made the cut at Honda and is in the field at Bay Hill. Jerry Kelly is in the Players. If there is indeed a small sample/overfitting problem, that would likely resolve itself somewhat the next few weeks.

I think Harrington has a shot at a Top 20 if the greens are hard and the wind is up, possibly a backdoor Top 5 if he’s lights out

The guys I got killed on were Stricker, Jimenez, Choi, Els, etc

I will not be betting Alker in the New Zealand Open either. Numbers may say one thing but any sane person would pick Micheluzzi over him

It’s not a small sample issue, there are lots of connections between the Champions Tour and other events over the last couple years. I just queried the average True SG number by season on the Champions Tour and it’s been between -3 and -3.4 the last 7 years (it’s -2.8 so far this year, but I think the first few events of the year are a bit stronger). Stricker has won 4 of his last 6 starts – that’s worth something.


I think the issue here is potentially with the lower ceiling with a lot of these guys, they can certainly make cuts and perhaps finish in the Top 40, but when you see bright green on Jimenez for Outright, Top 5, and Top 10 in a DP event you might want to pump your brakes

Isn’t it just value at high odds implies high levels of variance? Even if a 40s odds has a real probability of 20s, it only matters if this is the 5% time it hits. Which is further compounded by variance meaning it doesn’t hit 38 times and then does twice in a row. It’s why I stopped betting significantly high odds. Bankroll can do funny things waiting for positive variance.

I do bet significantly high odds but I bet small
That’s why I don’t get excited by hitting a 100-1 shot. I probably bet $5

Yeah, that certainly could be true.

Okay. That is fair. You have obviously looked more into this than me. I was just curious. It was Stricker being Top 70 in the rankings and Couples ranking around several mid-level Tour pros that made me a bit curious.

I do think Couples’ 60 last season was the round of the year on the Champions Tour and he would have had a decent chance to post the low round of the day in any PGA Tour event

It’s apples and oranges but they do play good golf there

It’s not a big story when a top flight senior makes the cut in a PGA Tour event or even a major because it happens so often. It’s even not that uncommon for them to be in contention after a round or two

Harrington made the cut at Bay Hill. My fault for doubting the model :smiley:

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I think Champions Tour players could do well in making cuts in weak fields and do OK in matchups against struggling PGA Tour pros

You do need to curb your enthusiasm if you see bright green on the higher end performances

It’s possible (Stricker on a short easy birdiefest? Harrington on a difficult course?) but no, I will not be betting on Couples or Langer to finish in the Top 10 in the Masters no matter how green it is

Padraig is pure class!! The last time a true test was rolled out (kiawah) he floated to the top of the leaderboard!

When the chips are down, the wind is up, and the game is reduced to puting the ball in the hole, I know who my money is on!!

good stuff! WHo is the best at Champions tour at the moment?