What to expect from Garrick Higgo going forward

Since the Mickelson thread has been hijacked and has become a Higgo thread, I thought I might as well start his own thread. This one could get interesting.

As you know, one thing a lot of Datagolf users have noticed is that the model is slow to adjust to rapidly improving (or declining) players compared to the bookies. As a result it’s easy to get caught off-guard and lose a ton of money on guys like Spieth, Leishman, Higgo, and possibly Fowler (in the upcoming weeks).

The goal is to help prevent Datagolf users from losing money by betting its selections blindly.

So with that goal in mind, how do we handle Garrick Higgo?

The eye test says he’s been playing like one of the top players in the world for the last couple of months. He’s like a human cheat code. His last 6 results are T4, 1, T8, 1, T64, 1. He’s 22 and he’s been visibly improving in every aspect of his game at a very rapid pace, so there is a real possibility that he’s simply a genius who is blossoming into a superstar. You can lose a lot of money by discounting this possibility. Not certain whether he can sustain this level of play but if you erased the name “Garrick Higgo” and penciled in the name “Viktor Hovland” he would be perceived very differently.

There have been many young players who rose up quickly then disappointed. Ishikawa, Manassero, Keegan Bradley, Garcia, Jason Day, and Chris Wood are a few that come to mind. Then again you have players like Rory and Spieth too. And even the relative disappointments mostly became very solid pros so I think Higgo’s changes of becoming a solid PGA Tour pro are very good.

As for winning, he just doesn’t seem to have trouble closing out tournaments. He just has the eye of the tiger. It’s a rare trait, especially for a young player.

Once again, the future is never guaranteed but when you look at the records of all-time legends early in their career it looks awfully similar to what Higgo is doing, so the possibility is there. Sure, he’s much more likely to miss the cut in the US Open than he is to win or even finish in the top 10. But I think there is at least a 1 in 10 chance that he becomes a Hall of Fame golfer with 20+ wins and multiple majors.

He opened at 90-1 this week and my guess is that this will be the last time in a while he goes off at anywhere near that odds to win a golf tournament. If he wins he probably goes off at like 9-1 in the Open Championship and will be treated as one of the top 5-10 players in the world by the bookies and the press.

Again, nothing is guaranteed, this is golf after all. He could fall off over the next few months and struggle to make cuts on the PGA Tour or he could win 10+ majors before it’s all said and done. Neither outcome would surprise me based on what I’ve seen from him so far.

My comment from the Mickelson thread:

Higgo might end up being good… but to compare him to Hovland is pretty ridiculous. Hovland has been more than 2 strokes/round better than Higgo for the last few years, going back to their amateur days. Higgo has now won 3 events that were a lot closer to Korn Ferry quality (last week was better obviously, but still the worst event on Tour this year apart from opposite field events). There is no reason to put him near the highest echelon of young players yet (Morikawa, Hov, Scheffler, Niemann). To be a top player in the world you need to average 1.5-2 SG / round consistently. Higgo’s last 6 events, where he’s playing out of his mind, is in that range. He has a lot more to prove.

Yah there have been dozens of can’t miss players with incredible runs over a period of 6 or so months… never to be heard from again. Remains to be seen where Higgo fits in.

Can you name a few? I don’t think there are that many who won so many times over such a short period at such a young age. Ishikawa, Garcia, Els, Mickelson, Spieth, and Rory come to mind. The others had a lot of high finishes but not the wins, or started their run in their mid-20’s or later.

I wouldn’t group Chris Wood with Manassero, and I wouldn’t put either of those guys near Bradley, Garcia or Day. Garcia and Day have had amazing careers (I think there is maybe a 1 in 5000 chance Higgo becomes a Garcia or Day). Even Keegan, he is still a very solid player year after year. It’s still pretty unlikely that Higgo becomes a reliable +1 SG player. I view Higgo’s current run as closer to Sami Valimaki last summer / fall, who has reverted to baseline this year.

My memory is not great in this regard, just remember there were guys that win a couple in a row, or a win and a second in a 3 week period. Guys like maybe Champ, maybe Sam Burns, Notah Begay back in the day, Matthew Wolfe may be in that group, hopefully not.

Cameron Young just won back-to-back KFT events that were similar quality to the Canary events. I’m not sure why you are comparing Higgo to young versions of Mickelson, Els, or Rory… they aren’t in the same league. Elite players tend to be elite right out of the gate in their pro careers (e.g. Rahm and Spieth were already +1 SG players when they turned pro), while Higgo was a -3 SG player.

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It will be interesting to see how Cameron Young and Higgo compare this week.

Probably a missed cut for Young but would love to see him pull a Zalatoris.
Young has been boom-or-bust this season, we’ll see him on the Tour next season. Maybe those booms will turn into victories on the PGA Tour too?

Anyway this thread (and all other threads) are about making money, LOL
The idea is to hit a bomb or two on Higgo before the oddsmakers catch up, and avoid losing money on the matchups and cut market in the meantime
I hit a couple of in-running wagers on Higgo last week and I think the opportunity might be there in the future
But at the end of the day it’s all about the $$$. I care a lot more about whether Christopher Crawford misses the cut at the US Open than whether Higgo wins the US Open or misses the cut

The key thing to look at with Higgo is that all of his results before the PGA win were completely putting-dependent. Yes it’s a part of the game but nobody even the greatest putters - Tiger, Faxon, Spieth … they all end up maxing out somewhere around 0.5 strokes/round gained on the field long-long term.

So my profile for Higgo is a guy who, so far, has putted at an unsustainable level against really weak Euro Tour competition. Then he came over here and struck the ball REALLY well for one tournament, and won. Which did/does beg some questions. But his profile is MUCH closer to “flash in the pan” than comparable to Hovland or Day. Unless you believe that he can gain 2-3x on the field what Tiger or Faxon gained on the field putting, long term. If that’s the case he really might be a future HOF’er. For me, he looks more like Brendon Todd than anything else right now. And don’t get me wrong I love Brendon Todd. But Higgo is a hard fade

(whoops just saw this thread was a month old not sure how it came up for me. Anyway comments still stand but perhaps more obvious given the fact that Higgo’s been a zero for 4 straight tournaments since his win)

He’s 22, I’m sure he’s peaked already and will never play good golf ever again

The second coming of Bobby Clampett

This is golf, we’ll see what happens. We’ve seen flashes in the pan and we’ve seen all-time greats, sometimes from similar points in their career.

Believe it or not Tom Watson and Forrest Fezler were pretty much nose-to-nose up until 1974 and it was anyone’s guess as to which of the two would be the better golfer

Have to say, I do enjoy Daniel’s bipolar opinions about Higgo. He will switch from “back him at any price, he’s a future Hall of Famer” to “absolutely useless and overpriced” at least a couple of times per month.


After he shoots 66 on Thursday I’ll be pegging him to win 10 majors

Since joining DG I’ve developed a hatred of the 5 Hs (Hoag, Hoge, Huh, Hahn, Heisele), who have made it their life’s work to be value every week and play spectacularly poorly.

I reckon they must steal all the EV from Garrick, who in return steals all their quality golf.

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Obviously you’ve spotted a weakness in the model
Hoag actually finished in the Top 20 in the Memorial and I cashed several tickets on him that week. But I get your frustration
Meanwhile we missed out on all the fat prices on Leishman, he’s had 3 Top 5’s this season

Higgo with a MC, he is very much feast or famine
I did fade him in a 3-ball, this seems to be the best way to play against him (for the time being)

By the way Hoag is in contention this week, I think he might actually have a shot