PGA Tour - Handicap Edition!

Feedback on the last blog was mixed, to put it politely! In summary the handicaps calculated by the model were too high. A number of Reddit “experts” commented that they knew multiple +7 amateurs that wouldn't come close to competing against tour pros in a game of tiddlywinks, never mind golf! However extravagant some of the comments were, they did hold some merit as in retrospect Rory at +5.4 was too low for one of the best players of our time playing close to his best golf.


We got lost in the technical pursuit of the correct answer without taking a step back and realising did it make sense or not. Anyway, enough excuses, on wards and upwards. The key issue in the model was that although the slope and course ratings are in line with the championship ratings for the particular course, this does not accurately reflect the difficulty of the course when it has been set up for a professional tournament. This is due to the following:

  • Fairways narrowed

  • Longer rough

  • Firmer greens which increases the speed but more importantly makes greens harder to hold

  • Tees extended beyond their stated distance

Some comments discussed the pressure PGA Tour players go through at events and that this should be included as well. I'm less convinced on this point though as it does not impact all players in the same manner.


PGA Tour Handicaps (Correct as at 24 July 2022 - 3M Open)


We updated the model to account for the above issues and are left with the following distribution:

Problem with the above is it includes 184 golfers that have registered less than 10 rounds on the PGA tour this year. If we filter those out we get the following:

The average handicap for this group is +8.2 with recent 3M Open winner Tony Finau leading the pack at +10.6.

As you can see there's still a large significant difference between the top and the bottom. There's a 4.6 difference between Tony Finau. Over a 4 round tournament this equates to 18.4 shots!!! At least in LIV thats only 13.8 shots.


Interestingly out of the bottom 20 there are 6 players (highlighted in Orange) in the current LIV line up compared with zero in the top 20!!


Stableford Result of the 3M Open

After this result George’s handicap drops from +2.3 to +4.6! Tom Hoge puts in 3 spectacular rounds and gets cut from +5.9 to +9.6!

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