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Tour Report: Fantasy mailbag: RBC Canadian

Statistics fuel fantasy sports. That’s always been the case. But understanding the nuances help create an elevated level of knowledge required to compete. Johnny Sometimer might beat me in the short-term, but I like my chances over the course of an entire season.

When Strokes Gained-Putting was introduced last year, it took me a few weeks to wrap my head around the concept. I understood it in principle, but I needed to connect with it in the field. In the beginning, I cited historical course rankings in the stat, only to quickly realize that all tournaments will average 0.000 (give or take few thousandths of a point for negligible variances). After all, it’s inherently defined as a baseline (e.g. If half the field averages +1.000 on one hole, the other half will average -1.000 on the same hole). Nowadays I’ll refer to putting average (i.e. putts per greens in regulation), total distance of putts made or even one-putt and three-putt percentages if relevant, which isn’t often.

Every once in a while, a gamer will inquire about why I don’t use a stat that might seem obvious given my analysis. The latest question arrived in my email box on Tuesday afternoon.

Hi Rob, I use a combination of stats when putting together my pick list each week. I’ve been using the actual scoring average but noticed you look at the adjusted scoring average. [What is] adjusted scoring average and why would it be the better or more accurate stat to use? Thanks. — Chris

For the PGA TOUR’s link to adjusted scoring ranking, click here and scroll down to the bottom. All stats include a definition/explanation.

This stat is used as one of the eight to compute the all-around ranking and the members covet finishing first in it. The spoils include the Byron Nelson Award (minimum 50 rounds; presented by the PGA TOUR) and the Vardon Trophy (minimum 60 rounds; presented by the PGA of America).

Adjusted scoring is a fairer measurement in the long-term over actual scoring because the TOUR uses courses with pars of 70, 71, 72 and 73. To understand its value, consider the following basic, extreme comparison between Golfers A and B, both of whom log at least 60 rounds.

Make the following assumptions:

- Golfer A plays only the easiest par 70s.
- The overall actual scoring average of the par 70s = 68.00.
- Golfer A averages 67.00.
- Differential = (-1.00).

- Golfer B plays only the most difficult par 72s.
- The overall actual scoring average of the par 72s =73.50.
- Golfer B averages 72.00.
- Differential = (-1.50).

While Golfer A recorded the lower actual scoring average (by five strokes), his differential is higher than Golfer B’s (by one-half of one stroke). The lower the negative number of a differential, the better a golfer is scoring.

With that example, you can clearly see the flaw created by comparing actual scoring averages. The differentials are much more relevant.

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