Did Ernie Els get the wrong answer in pairing Abe Ancer v. Tiger Woods?

mulligan, 15 December 2019, Comments Off on Did Ernie Els get the wrong answer in pairing Abe Ancer v. Tiger Woods?
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The Golf Blog says: Ernie Els, the captain of the International team in the President’s Cup, utilized data analytics in determining how to pair his players against the US Team. A similar approach was used by the European team at the last Ryder Cup, which they won. For 3 days, Els’ strategy was working like a charm, with his team building a 4-point lead at one point, that was cut to 2 points by the end of Saturday.

With little margin for error in the Sunday singles matches against the more highly world ranked members of the U.S. team, Els made one decision that proved to be costly. Els sent out President Cup rookie Abe Ancer out first against Tiger Woods. Both players had the best records of their respective teams: Ancer 3-0-1 and Woods 2-0. Other than that, it’s hard to compare the two players. Ancer, a 28 year old, doesn’t have a single PGA Tour victory to his name, Tiger, of course, is tied for the most wins at 82. Ancer was a Cup rookie, Woods, the oldest Cup veteran on the team. Plus, Woods had the most singles victories all time at 6-2 (not counting his 4-1-2 Ryder Cup singles record).

But before the Cup, Ancer brashly said in November that he wanted to play Tiger in singles. Well, he got it, as Tiger said after the match. Ancer performed well but he was no match for Tiger Woods. Ancer never led the match and ultimately lost 3-2.

Was the pairing a mistake? Whatever the analytics said, it seems foolish to throw Ancer out first against Tiger Woods. Ancer was playing well enough that he probably could have defeated any of the other U.S. team players-or certainly would have a much higher probability than defeating Tiger. For example, what if Ancer went up against Kuchar or Fowler (who had not been playing terribly well before Sunday) in one of the last 2 pairings? Or Webb Simpson? You get the picture.

This is not analysis in hindsight. As soon as we heard the pairing, we didn’t like it for Ancer or the International team. Why put Ancer, who was playing the best for the International team, out against the opponent that he had the least chance of winning?? That’s playing the odds, or good old-fashioned analytics.

Just imagine: Els puts Ancer in the 4th last spot to be the final firewall for the International team: Ancer, Aussie Cameron Smith, Louis Ooshuizen, and Marc Leishman. The backloading of the stronger players (with the exception of Hideki Matsuyama) does make total sense with Els’ actual strategy. As things turned out, that would have put Ancer against Webb Simpson. And had Ancer won his singles match, the single match would have given the International team 15 points and taken away a point from the U.S. team, putting them at 15. All tied. The two teams share the Cup. Oh well.



US Team and Captain Tiger Woods sing “We Are the Champions” after comeback win at the President’s Cup

mulligan, 15 December 2019, Comments Off on US Team and Captain Tiger Woods sing “We Are the Champions” after comeback win at the President’s Cup
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The Golf Blog says: The US Team singing “We Are the Champions” by Queen. LOL.



Video of Tiger Woods press conference after US comeback win at President’s Cup

mulligan, 15 December 2019, Comments Off on Video of Tiger Woods press conference after US comeback win at President’s Cup
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The Golf Blog says: What a week for Tiger Woods, the 1st time captain of the US Team who also went 3-0 as a player on the team! Incredible way for Tiger to cap his year, which started with his 15th major victory at the Masters.



The Golf Blog: Brooks Koepka avoids massive choke to win PGA Championship, back to back

mulligan, 20 May 2019, Comments Off on The Golf Blog: Brooks Koepka avoids massive choke to win PGA Championship, back to back
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The Golf Blog says: Just when you thought Brooks Koepka was the unflappable bionic golfer, he rattled off four straight bogeys on the back nine of Bethpage Black, squandering a 7-shot lead down to a 1-shot lead over Dustin Johnson. Hard to imagine at the start of the round.

DJ, who always seems to be snake-bitten at the majors, proceeded to bogey his next two holes, however. Koepka had a 2-shot lead on the 18th hole, but hooked his drive slightly into the rough. He pitched out onto the fairway–playing for bogey at worst–and then hit a perfect wedge to the green, leaving an 8-footer, which he easily made. Had Brooks not closed on Sunday, it would have been the largest final round lead to be lost in PGA history. In response to a question about the New York fans yelling for “DJ,” Koepka admitted he “half-choked” and gave the fans reason to pull for DJ: ““I think I kind of deserved it. You’re going to rattle off four in a row and it looks like you’re going to lose it; I’ve been to sporting events in New York. I know how it goes,” Koepka said. “I think it actually helped. It was at a perfect time because I was just thinking, ‘OK, all right, I’ve got everybody against me. Let’s go.’”

Koepka now stands with 4 majors, both back to back (US Open and now PGA Championship). He’s 29 years old and still well behind the major victory pace set by Tiger Woods, who had 11 majors by age 30 (yes, incredible run!). But Brooks appears to be head and shoulders above his peers, including 30-year-old Rory McIlroy (also with 4 majors).




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