By: Edward Egros


Is Team USA THAT Dominant to Win the Ryder Cup?

Pasted Graphic 1
Putting it as simply as possible, the Ryder Cup strategy seems to be for Team USA to design easier golf courses and for Team Europe to design tougher ones. It's why, in the last five Ryder Cups, the team with the home course advantage has won four of those five tournaments (with the lone outlier being in 2012, arguably the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history with Team Europe needing eight points to win and Team USA needing just 4.5 points). The logic comes from analytics groups that believe keeping the action shorter (concentrating on wedges and the putter) benefits Team USA.

The host course for 2018, Le Golf National, seems to be gaining respect from golfers as far as
how important it is to stay in the fairway, seemingly benefitting the Europeans. However, if we look at Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee from PGA Tour events, Team Europe's average slightly favors the Americans (.382 versus .348). Note: Sergio Garcia and Thorbjørn Olesen did not quality for this statistic so it was assumed their Strokes Gained to be zero.

Golfers also discussed the importance of iron and hybrid shots, so it may be safe to look at
Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green for guidance. Here, we see an advantage for the Americans: .475 versus .331. In other words, if Team USA does well with tee shots they may be unstoppable. If they have trouble finding fairways, Team Europe has an opportunity.

The Americans are heavy favorites to capture their first Ryder Cup in Europe since 1993 (
-150 versus +130 for Team Europe). While so many more players at the top of the Official World Golf Rankings belong to Team USA, do not be surprised if the long game becomes enough of an advantage for Team Europe to stay in contention.

World Cup Finale

Pasted Graphic
Just like with statistics themselves, analyzing the results of any model can be manipulated and spun to fit a narrative. On the one hand, our World Cup model was not perfect when it came to picking the result of every match correctly. Again, our ground rules were to correctly predict if the designated "home team" would win, lose or draw in the group stage and win or lose in the knockout stage. Here are our results:

Group Stage: 27/48 (21 results were one of the two other outcomes than predicted)
Round of 16: 5/8
Quarterfinals: 2/4
Semifinals: 1/2

On the other hand, most of the misclassifications were often marked as having poor odds. For instance, for the Semifinal between England and Croatia, our model gave England a 53% chance to win. The odds were small enough to suggest extra time would be a decent possibility, and in fact
that was the outcome. Also, no other models I was actively monitoring forecasted the more unbelievable results, such as Russia knocking off Spain. In general, we are pleased with our results.

On that note, here are our predictions for the final weekend of the World Cup:

Final: France defeats Croatia (78%)

3rd Place: England defeats Belgium (65%)

World Cup Quarterfinals

Pasted Graphic
Eight teams remain in contention for the World Cup. Our model went 5-3 predicting "Round of 16" matches. While many were predictable, few saw Russia upsetting Spain; the other two we missed (Uruguay beating Portugal and Sweden knocking off Switzerland) were essentially toss-ups. So far, we are quite pleased with our results.

Our next step is to predict Quarterfinal matches, and if you cannot wait for our social media posts or our reveals on Good Day, here they are:

Brazil defeats Belgium (76.4%)
Russia defeats Croatia (50.7%)
England defeats Sweden (58.2%)
France defeats Uruguay (67.8%)

World Cup Predictions

Pasted Graphic
Once again, I'll begin this post by apologizing for so few updates in the last several weeks. However, I have been diligent with analytical research; and now I can share with you one of these projects, and it pertains to the World Cup.

In collaboration with students from Southern Methodist University, we have devised a model that predicts the outcome of every match. The data used includes outcomes of international matches between national teams dating back to 2003 (this does not include friendlies), the location of where they were played, what tournament that match was a part of, the distance each country had to travel to play that match and the total market value of each team, meaning the sum of each professional contract for each player belonging to that team.

Since the start of the tournament, I have reported these results on Fox 4, while also providing context of how the tournament is unfolding, using analytical tools. You can see these videos both at the bottom of the home page
and on my YouTube page.

Lastly, I have assembled all of the data and other files onto a Github page so you can follow along with what we have been doing.
Click here for that information.

As always, I would appreciate feedback you can offer. You can also share your own models by clicking the link: "Contact Edward".