Thomas Boswell does some quantitative analysis of how Annika Sorenstam is likely to fare in her PGA debut this weekend. Contrary to the widespread belief that she will almost certainly embarrass herself and miss the cut, Boswell thinks she’ll likely fall somewhere in the middle of the pack.
Boswell notes that golf is perhaps the most quantifiable of games, where courses fight over a tenth of a point in difficulty rating.
You would think that no human had ever before moved back and played from a different set of tees. Actually, few things are more common in golf.
You would think that no one had ever calibrated the difference in difficulty between one set of tees and another, then, after examining thousands of rounds, reduced that difference to a simple number. Yet exactly such numbers are on the scorecards of almost every first-rate golf course.
You would think that nobody had ever noticed that men on the Champions Tour (formerly the Senior Tour) play on courses of similar length to many LPGA events. In fact, there’s no great difference in how a normal Champions Tour event and many top LPGA events are “set up.”
Given the parallels between conditions on the Champions Tour and the LPGA Tour, you’d think everybody would intuitively ask: “Well, how many strokes higher do Tom Watson and Ben Crenshaw shoot when they take a crack at the PGA Tour? Annika will shoot about that much higher, too.”
Indeed, Boswell’s analysis is that she should average 71.5 strokes per round on a course like the Colonial. Very interesting.