Weather effects are unpredictable and can easily impact who wins a golf tournament. Every PGA and European Tour event tries to minimize the affect by having a morning wave and afternoon wave of players on Thursday and Friday. If a player is in the morning wave on Thursday, they will play in the afternoon on Friday. If a player is in the afternoon wave on Thursday, they will play in the morning on Friday. This helps average out some of the weather effects if playing in a location that might tend to be windy in the afternoon or if the golf course gets firm and fast in the afternoon. Greens tend to be smoother in the morning so all golfers will get one day with smooth greens.
However, the more unpredictable the weather, the more luck will be involved in the cumulative affect each player encounters. If we had to pick a golf tournament that has the most unpredictable weather, it would be The Open.
A new statistic has now been collected called “Hindering Wind” that calculates the cumulative total of hurting wind for a player on every shot struck tee to green. The chart shows a few data points for the 2016 Open at Royal Troon. As we can see, Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson encountered about 50% less wind in their face than Rory, Jason, and Jordan.
I’m not sure exactly how this statistic calculates side winds or gusts but it is the first attempt I have seen to quantify the impact of wind.
The 2017 Open morning wave is almost complete on Day 1. Players with the early t-times encountered quite windy conditions and scores were high. The wind was still 10-15 for the mid morning players such as Spieth and Koepka but the conditions were easier and scores have improved. It will be very interesting to see the final “Wind Hindering” results at the tournament conclusion.