Pro golf now has the win probability calculator it deserves, thanks in part to Jordan Spieth not getting the win he deserved at Augusta National last year.
Spieth’s self-destructive behavior at the 12th hole at last year’s Masters Tournament inspired the data editor of The Economist to develop EAGLE, the Economist Advantage in Golf Likelihood Estimator (get it?).
Dan Rosenheck, the aforementioned data editor, was compelled to see if Spieth’s meltdown was indeed the worst in major championship history. Perhaps shockingly, it wasn’t.
But first, more about EAGLE. Per Golfweek’s David Dusek, the tool is built from a “dataset of more than 457,753 holes played by golfers in the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship, and almost one million rounds played in tournaments that award world ranking points.” The utility runs tens of thousands of simulations of what a player “ought” to score on a hole, based on Official World Golf Ranking position, versus the rest of the field.
Really, who knows how it works? But according to EAGLE, after Jordan Spieth carded bogeys at the 10th and 11th holes, he still had a 96 percent chance of winning the Masters. After the unfortunate events of the 12th hole, Spieth’s chances of winning dropped to 23 percent.
Amazingly, though, Spieth’s own-foot-shooting effort of 2016 wasn’t the biggest blow-up in recent major championship history. That honor belongs to one Adam Scott whose suicidal performance at the 2012 British Open stands alone. Scott had, at one point, a 98.6 percent chance of winning. He was four up with four holes to play and went on to lose to Ernie Els thanks to an unwelcome trip on the bogey train.
Boy, all this stuff is pretty depressing. So to alleviate your sorrow, how about watching Jordan Spieth’s 12th-hole meltdown in 8-bit form? The good folks at The Kicker put this beauty together after the tragic events of April 10th. If you haven’t seen it yet, now’s as good a time as any to familiarize yourself.