Was Phil handed the PGA Championship?

Using the pressure tool, Phil had a 29% chance of winning going into round 4. He shot +1 (roughly field average).

Given this performance (and without knowledge of how the other leaders played), we’d only expect him to win 10% of the time. This makes sense as neither Brooks (+2) nor Louis (+1) made a significant move.

Not taking anything away from Phil, just an interesting note from Sunday… plus the golf Gods owed him a major after the 2016 Open Champ. loss to Stenson.


In the final 10 tee times on Sunday, no one shot better than -1.

I think the wind picking up must have made it more difficult for those in the final 10 groupings so it’s tough to say that Phil was handed anything when he shot a better round than the average of those final 20 players to tee off on Sunday.

As the score by wave showed on the first two days, the wind was a huge factor at Kiawah!

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Note the day and time… first non-DG employee post on the forum!

Good point, though. Hard to say just how much of the higher scores in the last 10 groups was due to tougher conditions. It definitely was windier from 4pm onwards, and all the lowest scores of the day were from the morning. Higgs shot -2 and was 11th last group and then Lowry/Paddy both were -3 a few groups ahead of him.

I think if we were to plot expected score given the wind forecast against time we would see that the final 20 players under-performed, but that might just be because 1mph more wind at Kiawah makes a bigger difference, as you allude to.

It does make me think the expected win metric is a bit useless when there are big differences in course conditions throughout the day. Perhaps should add a few more variables into that ‘expectation’.


I wonder if there was some small subconscious ‘I don’t mind losing to the legend Phil’ effect on his competitors. Probably not, but I reckon Brooks would have played better if it was against Bryson!

I think it was his experience that truly showed. He came in with the lead and played defensive golf to get the job done; even after a little bit of a rollercoaster start…

The most telling example of that, for me, was when he switched to a claw grip on 17 (for the first time all week) to get just a little more loft to minimize the unpredictability coming off the bank.

We all know how huge the wind is at Kiawah and what I found interesting was the amount of Europeans (Brooks also played a lot in Europe at the start of his career) on the first page of the leaderboard and in the Top 10 SG T2G. Would be interesting to statistically test Faldo’s insistence that Europeans are better in windy conditions.

Makes me even more excited to have The Open Championship back this year!

Because weather/wind is part of the live model now we’re storing player tee times and the conditions they faced in each round. At some point in the future we might be able to see who “plays best” in the wind, but still pretty far out from that unless we go back and purchase historical weather data…

Always eager to prove Faldo wrong too.


Clearly Phil was able to get the lead. This type of course seemed easier to play from ahead. Trying to catch up in that wind would just not work. IMO if you told guys look the lead is -7 on Friday night, but -6 is going to win it, I think players would approach it differently… maybe not.

I think Brooks already gave enough back to the “legends” after (intentionally?) donating a ball to Rae’s Creek during Tiger’s '19 Masters win.


Well he had a quick change of heart…cuz he then eagled 13!

Absolutely not. Did you see the course conditions on Sunday?

Course was easy for the first 20 groups. Then it got gradually harder and the last 5 groups had a scoring average of 75.1, with only 1 player breaking par (Paul Casey with a 71).

Not only did the wind stiffen up, the greens firmed up too. Anything around par was going to be a very good score for the final few groups.

Also Phil got an unbelievably bad bounce on 17 that probably cost him a stroke so you can argue that he should have won by 3.

More variables is always better! Seriously though, if it’s a matter of resources, how about adding a super-premium subscriber tier that could help fund it?