Mastering the Weather: Wind, Rain, and Roster Construction
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Approach: the Masters at Augusta National
The Masters is shaping up quite the rollercoaster ride this weekend. Once again this week we will have a soaked course as it should rain in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Then throughout the day on Thursday and Friday, the forecast calls for severe winds. While conditions on the weekend should be perfect. Golfers will be dealing with the Yin and Yang this week.
Typically, we would feel more comfortable taking bombers with complete disregard for accuracy under such wet conditions, especially considering the lack of holes with possible penalties. (There are very few water holes, and you really have to spray it to get it out of bounds).
A current version of the weather chart below can be obtained here and information like this is a crucial part of your PGA DFS Swiss Army knife.
However, the wind situation looks pretty severe, and as of now, it appears to get worse during the afternoon on Thursday and Friday. Mind you it’s Monday, and we (and by “we” I mean me) found out last week just how bad you can get burned if you ride the weather angle and it fails. Regardless, you don’t set your lineups without having a very clear idea of any edge gained or lost by a golfer having a certain tee-time.
Briefly, my overall strategy for the Masters depends on the weather. With more wind comes more variance. With more variance, I typically look for more accuracy, and historical knowledge.
A soaked course coupled with the wind usually shifts my emphasis away from “driving distance” to “Strokes Gained Approach” and “Proximity to the Hole.” I want “that guy” that drops the ball on the green like he’s throwing lawn darts.
A common misconception regarding Augusta is that good putters thrive here. Even the most cursory glance at past winners (Bubba Watson 2x, Adam Scott, etc…) shows that this isn’t the case. The only way to putt well here is to drop the ball on the correct section of the green.
For instance, Jordan Spieth’s success at Augusta is often misappropriated to his putting. The greens at Augusta are impossible. Essentially, they are multi-tiered hills of incredibly fast bent grass (13+ on the Stimpmeter). To have any success putting at Augusta, you have to place the ball on the same shelf as the pin. According to recently updated strokes gained approach data, Spieth ranks number one on the list while his putting rank is a respectable, if not mundane 36th overall.
More to come as I will be posting weather updates, strategy adjustments, and practice round reports all the way up until lock. In your early preparations, I would go ahead and start finding some excellent ball strikers and scramblers with early tee times on Thursday.
Good Luck Everyone!
Find me on Twitter @lowsf or in the FanVice Premium Slack @CarlMarks if you are looking to discuss more PGA DFS strategy.