Steve Stricker and tours that don't have much crossover

Is ranked 74th on the datagolf rankings and has played 1 PGA event over the past 3 years (MC at Zurich, -1.11 SG). He is clearly dominant on the Champions Tour (22/30 Top 5! last couple years) but is he really this good? He was in top 50 last summer for a while and this is his best stretch since 2018, his last two years on PGA Tour saw his ranking crater. At this point I would guess he is a -18 or so driver in distance, I guess this along with the constant LIV players dropping makes me wonder if there is enough crossover between some of these isolated tours to make correct adjustments? Where basically a few extreme performances in the crossovers (Koepka’s 78 in Oman or wherever last year and a Champions guy finishing t30 at a PGA event) might influence it too much?

I may be way off but say Stricker v Detry or Louis I don’t think would be priced 50/50.


Yeah it’s a fair concern. We looked into this in the off-season, and there are ways to see if you are adjusting tours incorrectly. For example, regressing SG on a player’s skill (from our model) and the fraction of rounds they played on a certain tour. Ideally the coefficient should be zero on the tour fraction, indicating it has no impact on how a player performs (after accounting for their estimated skill). We currently give adjusted SG from Champions tour rounds a negative bump based on regressions like this.

I think one issue with the Champions tour stuff is course fit. Senior guys tend to only play PGA Tour events that suit their game, which, at their elevated ages, are usually ones that de-emphasize distance. And so if most of the overlap events for senior players are ones where they have really good course fit, this could lead you to over-estimate their skill. In theory this is something that can be accounted for in the SG adjustment process, but it’s not that easy to implement and in general the gains from doing so are minimal (except for edge cases like the senior tour, potentially).

For LIV… i’m still not sure, there isn’t really enough data to say much. One concern I have with LIV is not so much that there isn’t enough overlap (there still are LIV guys playing a decent amount of DPWT and Asian tour events, plus majors) , but rather that the overlap events are ones where we’d expect LIV guys to under-perform. Like BK going to Oman… we know that American players underperform slightly when they play overseas, so that could introduce a negative bias against LIV field strengths. This effect shouldn’t be too large, and it may not exist, but it’s definitely something to monitor.