After 24 tournaments, I've failed to correctly pick a winner. Some weeks, I've been pretty close and others I'd rather not talk about. Since the U.S. Open is a pretty big deal here in the states, I decided it was my patriotic duty to do a little extra due diligence in order to make the right pick this week.
This quest began on Flag Day and will come to a close on Sunday when I find out whether or not putting hours into finding a unique forumla to predict a winner was a waste of time, a revelation, or just made for a good blog post. Even if the picks are horrible, I will still go to sleep Sunday night happy that I just watched the US Open again. There's nothing better than seeing professional golfers struggle a little bit on a challenging course. Anything to make them look a little more like we average golfers is a positive thing.
What I did this week was go back through all of the old betting lines from previous tournaments, determined what odds the eventual winner started at, then compared the results. The highest winner odds was Phil Mickelson at 7/1 in the Shell Houston Open. The lowest winner odds was Brendan Steele at 200/1 in the Valero Texas Open and Keegan Bradley at 200/1 in the HP Byron Nelson Championship. That's a pretty huge disparity, so obviously, there was more digging to do.
After comparing all of the odds, there was strong consideration of scrapping the whole idea, but then a couple things popped out to me. First, the average of all these odds was 51/1 and second I wanted to see what the most common odds were and how close to the average that number would be. Turns out there were 4 winners that opened at 40/1 odds, and 2 at 25/1, 30/1, 100/1 and 200/1 each. If you spend enough time messing around with numbers and looking for any signs that there might be a pattern or a magic ball right under your nose. I don't know that I've found that, but we're going to find out.
So, without further ado, my top 10 predictions for the 2011 US Open. After watching the US Open promo about how Phil has come in second in the US Open 5 times and "Can he finally get his elusive US Open major championship", I nearly scrapped this whole thing and just picked him. I'm weak like that.. but, instead, I just took the players with the closest odds to 51/1 that I could find and arranged them in a way I thought looked right.
1. Geoff Ogilvy
2. Adam Scott
3. Graeme McDowell
4. Brandt Snedeker
5. Paul Casey
6. Jim Furyk
7. Retief Goosen
9. Ian Poulter
10. Matteo Manassero
I don't know that I'm actually confident with the list, but it's worth a shot. The lack of big names like Lee Westwood, Phil, Luke Donald, etc.. seems odd, but picking them wasn't working for me in the past. Don't take these picks to Vegas, and if you do, you only have yourself to blame.