This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.
Harbour Town Golf Links
Hilton Head, SC
The PGA Tour heads to Hilton Head with the first major of 2021 in the books.
Speaking of The Masters, it didn't exactly live up to the hype, as there were only about five minutes of drama on Sunday. However, it was good to see a quality golfer like Hideki Matsuyama finally break through for his first major.
Matsuyama wasn't on many short lists of possible winners this past week, and that plays into a question I was asked about which stats are important predictors at Augusta. Most people would say putting or short-game numbers, and while both answers are correct, my answer was, "none...really." Maybe in a sense I meant all stats are equally important and unimportant, because these guys are all elite golfers in every phase of the game. Sure, Matsuyama might not be a great putter compared to his peers, but he's plenty capable of putting at an elite level any given week. This is the problem when relying solely on stats as a predictor – you never know which players are going to perform at their normal levels that week.
Golf is not like other sports that – in addition to individual numbers – have more data points, such as team and opponent context. In golf, it's all on the player and how he fares on the course.