Some Golfers Step Up On Major Sundays. And Then There’s Dustin Johnson.

Dustin Johnson has finished each of the past three seasons ranked among the top three players in the world. He has more wins on the PGA Tour than any active golfer not named Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, and over the last year he’s won tournaments in Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.<a class="espn-footnote-link" data-footnote-id="1" href="https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/some-golfers-step-up-on-major-sundays-and-then-theres-dustin-johnson/#fn-1" data-footnote-content="

His career earnings would give an oil baron an inferiority complex.

“>1 By all accounts, Johnson is a singular talent. But despite a legacy that is seemingly unassailable, the 34-year-old has just one major victory.

Johnson knows this. Before last month’s PGA Championship, he acknowledged his frustration, telling reporters, “I’ve had quite a few chances, and I’ve felt like a few of them, I really didn’t do anything.” Days later, in the final round at Bethpage Black, he completed one of the best performances of his major career, according to Data Golf’s true strokes gained metric.<a class="espn-footnote-link" data-footnote-id="2" href="https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/some-golfers-step-up-on-major-sundays-and-then-theres-dustin-johnson/#fn-2" data-footnote-content="

Which adjusts regular strokes gained, or the number of strokes better or worse a player was in a round than the average PGA Tour pro was in that given season, for field strength.

“>2 He also bogeyed two of the final three holes, blowing a chance to catch Brooks Koepka. Considerably more bandwidth was spent on him having finished second for a second consecutive major, putting the final touch of his career grand slam of runner-ups and dropping to — you guessed it! — second in the world golf rankings than was spent on him being the only player in the field to shoot below par in all four rounds.

Some see in him the best athlete in the sport, a prodigious driver with a swing sequence deserving of a MoMA exhibit. At his best, Johnson makes the sport seem effortless; when everything gels, he is unsurpassable. In a game dominated by power, Johnson hasn’t finished a season ranked lower than sixth in average driving distance since he joined the tour in 2008.<a class="espn-footnote-link" data-footnote-id="3" href="https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/some-golfers-step-up-on-major-sundays-and-then-theres-dustin-johnson/#fn-3" data-footnote-content="

This season, he ranks eighth.

“>3 But others see a composite of underachievements, a man too talented, too physically gifted that a lone major win doesn’t suffice. It’s golf’s greatest talent plummeting down a flight of stairs on the eve of the biggest event of the calendar.

Johnson’s letdowns have become legend. There was the ground-club bunker gaffe at Whistling Straits that cost him a PGA Championship in 2010, the three-putt at Chambers Bay that cost him a U.S. Open in 2015 and the third-round 77 at Shinnecock during last year’s U.S. Open. The last time the U.S. Open was at Pebble Beach, in 2010, Johnson held a three-stroke lead after 54 holes before imploding with an 82 in the final round.

This points to Johnson’s true issue: It’s not that he struggles to perform at majors, but that he struggles to close them out. For some, this is legacy crippling, analogous to Michael Jordan or Tom Brady suddenly vanishing in the waning moments of the NBA Finals or the Super Bowl. But the notion holds water statistically. According to a round-by-round analysis of Johnson’s true strokes gained,<a class="espn-footnote-link" data-footnote-id="4" href="https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/some-golfers-step-up-on-major-sundays-and-then-theres-dustin-johnson/#fn-4" data-footnote-content="

We omitted any tournament in which a score wasn’t listed or the player withdrew or was disqualified. The data goes back to 1983 and is current as of last week, so it doesn’t include the recent RBC Canadian Open.

“>4 his numbers plummet from 2.03 and 2.58 during the opening rounds of majors to 1.82 and 1.03, respectively, on the weekend.<a class="espn-footnote-link" data-footnote-id="5" href="https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/some-golfers-step-up-on-major-sundays-and-then-theres-dustin-johnson/#fn-5" data-footnote-content="

We’d expect a player’s true strokes gained to be less impressive on weekends, given that the field has been thinned of the less competitive entrants.

“>5 At nonmajors, however, his average true strokes gained spike after cut day and are at their highest on championship Sundays.

Sunday is DJ’s worst day

Average true strokes gained for Dustin Johnson in majors and nonmajors by tournament round

Avg. True strokes gained
Tournament Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
Majors 2.03 2.58 1.82 1.03
Nonmajors 1.58 1.40 1.61 1.70

Source: Data Golf

This is abnormal. Of the 10 worst major rounds in Johnson’s career, four came during Round 4. Relative to the field during the fourth round, Johnson averages 0.67 more true strokes gained at nonmajors than he does at majors.

For context, we compared Johnson’s career performance to a selection of his contemporaries and rivals. That negative disparity in the final round is larger than any of the contemporaries we sampled and contrasts mightily with that of Koepka, who averages 1.08 more true strokes gained on the final day of majors than he does at run-of-the-mill events.

Johnson doesn’t raise his game to a major level

Average true strokes gained in the fourth round throughout the careers of notable golfers in majors and nonmajors

Avg. True Strokes gained in Fourth Round
Player Nonmajors Majors Difference
Dustin Johnson 1.70 1.03 -0.67
Tiger Woods 2.93 2.50 -0.43
Justin Thomas 1.47 1.24 -0.23
Adam Scott 1.54 1.51 -0.03
Bubba Watson 0.80 0.79 -0.01
Phil Mickelson 1.57 1.72 +0.15
Jason Day 1.49 1.73 +0.24
Rory McIlroy 1.98 2.29 +0.31
Jordan Spieth 1.44 1.82 +0.38
Rickie Fowler 1.07 1.47 +0.40
Justin Rose 1.24 1.86 +0.62
Brooks Koepka 1.25 2.33 +1.08

Source: Data Golf

The only golfer among DJ’s peers to come close to his fourth-round letdown is Tiger Woods. But Woods has averaged a mind-melting 2.93 true strokes gained in Round 4s at nonmajors, by far the biggest figure in our sample, so a drop to a still-impressive 2.50 in majors isn’t exactly shocking.

Over the course of a four-day tournament, Johnson is still crushing the field — even at majors. His performance in true strokes gained at majors is 0.35 better than at nonmajors. When compared with the overall major splits of some of the top golfers, that difference is mostly average. In other words, Johnson’s championship problem is largely because of the fourth round.

Johnson still plays better overall in majors

Average overall true strokes gained throughout the careers of notable golfers in majors and nonmajors

Avg. true strokes gained
Player Nonmajors Majors difference
Brooks Koepka 1.00 2.01 +1.01
Jason Day 1.24 2.12 +0.88
Jordan Spieth 1.60 2.36 +0.76
Justin Rose 1.04 1.68 +0.64
Phil Mickelson 1.51 1.99 +0.48
Justin Thomas 1.29 1.67 +0.38
Rickie Fowler 1.32 1.70 +0.38
Dustin Johnson 1.56 1.91 +0.35
Rory McIlroy 1.68 1.93 +0.25
Adam Scott 1.37 1.58 +0.21
Tiger Woods 2.65 2.73 +0.08
Bubba Watson 0.83 0.86 +0.03

Source: Data Golf

The good news for Johnson is that his overall major performance is improving — even if it isn’t producing trophies. Much of Johnson’s reputation for failing to vanquish majors was cultivated prior to his 30th birthday. Indeed, the five best seasons of Johnson’s career by true strokes gained have come since he turned 30, in 2014. And that peak performance has manifested during majors, too, where he’s finished an average of nearly 10 spots better compared with how he finished in his 20s. Entering the Masters, only Jordan Spieth and Johnson had led at least 10 major rounds since 2014. This weekend’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach — where DJ and Koepka are co-favorites — will be Johnson’s 19th since turning 30.

Johnson is getting better with age

Average true strokes gained per round in majors for Dustin Johnson before and after his 30th birthday

Career
Before turning 30 After turning 30
Number of majors 22.0 18.0
Average finish place 31.1 22.0
Avg. true strokes gained
Before turning 30 After turning 30
Overall 1.4 2.5
Round 1 1.2 3.1
Round 2 2.0 3.3
Round 3 2.2 1.4
Round 4 0.3 2.0

Source: Data Golf

It’s unlikely that Johnson could ever live up to the public’s expectations of him. The curse of appearing as though you were designed by a supercomputer is that the results must follow. Johnson is capable of producing any shot on a golf course, but his performance at majors, at least in terms of how the public writ large perceives it,<a class="espn-footnote-link" data-footnote-id="6" href="https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/some-golfers-step-up-on-major-sundays-and-then-theres-dustin-johnson/#fn-6" data-footnote-content="

By wins and losses.

“>6 understates how exceptional he is. And since the major-winning spout typically goes dry by a player’s mid-30s, the hourglass is running out for Johnson to show the world that he can win when it matters the most.

How Mike Gravel Could Win The 2020 Democratic Primary

Many things, most of them unlikely, would have to transpire for former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel to win the Democratic nomination for president.

A few possibilities: All the other candidates drop out, and no successful write-in campaign is waged. A capricious President Trump orders a catastrophic invasion of another nation, lending massive credibility to Gravel’s perennial anti-war stance (he helped put the Pentagon Papers into the public record). The Democratic primary electorate all of a sudden decides that it would prefer an octogenarian candidate to the current septuagenarian front-runners. (Gravel is 89 years of age; meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is a youthful 77 years old, and Joe Biden is a spring chicken, at 76.)

But last week, Gravel became the 23rd Democrat to count as a “major” presidential candidate by FiveThirtyEight criteria, pushed over the edge from minor to major candidacy by his inclusion in a majority of polls. And that means we have to imagine what we call the “theory of the case” — how can Gravel win the Democratic nomination?

It would be easy to laugh at Gravel’s campaign — while he has said he is running to win, he hasn’t campaigned, and he has turned his operation over to a handful of teenagers who voice his Twitter account with the dually earnest and sneering cadences of the internet. And his political performance art ads have certainly left him open to mockery. But while he’s not likely to win the nomination, Gravel is carrying on a grand American tradition: the protest candidate.

Gravel first ran for president in 2008. He made the debate stage and hit mostly the same note — the cost and senselessness of war and the hubris of American foreign policy. He took to task the major Democratic candidates for their bellicose posturing on Iran and their stances on the invasion of Iraq — Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Joe Biden had all voted to authorize the invasion. (Last week, Gravel announced an endorsement from “Man Who Threw Shoes At George W. Bush.” Google it.) This time around, Gravel has added to his repertoire, adopting the 2019 left’s fondness for a Green New Deal and the abolition of the Electoral College, along with more niche proposals like postal banking. He is a former two-term United States senator, and while his candidacy is not plausible, it is principled.

Protest candidates can sometimes be spoilers — there’s likely no love lost between Al Gore and Ralph Nader or Hillary Clinton and Jill Stein. Gravel’s protest candidacy is not that kind, but it does suit its age. It has the grassiest of grass roots beginnings, a tinge of absurdity and a devotion to promoting ideas that exist outside the realm of what is currently politically possible.

Gravel’s theory of the case might well be that Democratic voters somehow come to embrace this 89-year-old man with boyish helpmates as an embodiment of the political idiosyncrasies toward which quite a lot of Americans are inclined. (How else do we explain the popularity of Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996?) He’s certainly not making the same case as any other candidate.

At the very least, American politics loves a flame-thrower. Or in this case, a rock-dropper.

Ultimate SEO And Cloudflare Partners

Ultimate SEO is proud to announce our partnership program with Cloudflare. As a defacto web host serving hundreds of sites this strategic alliance brings the best hosting security solutions together and integrates one of the most popular internet companies with our hosting solutions.

In the coming days we’ll be relaunching UltimateSEO.net as our hosting and network site. Below we’ve included some notes from Cloudflare as well as a video.

Us in 90 Seconds from Cloudflare on Vimeo.

How CloudFlare increases speed and security of your site

This is a guest post written and contributed by CloudFlare.  CloudFlare makes it easy for any site to be as fast and secure as the Internet giants.

CloudFlare, a web performance and security company, is excited to announce our partnership with Ultimate SEO! If you haven’t heard about CloudFlare before, our value proposition is simple: we’ll make any website twice as fast and protect it from a broad range of web threats.

We power more than 400 billion monthly page views – more than Amazon, Wikipedia, Twitter, Zynga, AOL, Apple, Bing, eBay, PayPal and Instagram combined – and over 1.2 billion monthly users regularly pass through our network. We’re really glad Ultimate SEO has partnered with CloudFlare.
Faster web performance

CloudFlare is designed to take a great hosting platform like Ultimate SEO and make it even better.

We run data centers [link to http://www.cloudflare.com/network-map] strategically located around the world. When you sign up for CloudFlare, we begin routing your traffic to the nearest data center.

As your traffic passes through the data centers, we intelligently determine what parts of your website are static versus dynamic. The static portions are cached on our servers for a short period of time, typically less than 2 hours before we check to see if they’ve been updated. By automatically moving the static parts of your site closer to your visitors, the overall performance of your site improves significantly.

CloudFlare’s intelligent caching system also means you save bandwidth, which means saving money, and decreases the load on your servers, which means your web application will run faster and more efficiently than ever. On average, CloudFlare customers see a 60% decrease in bandwidth usage, and a 65% in total requests to their servers. The overall effect is that CloudFlare will typically cut the load time for pages on your site by 50% which means higher engagement and happier visitors.

Broad web security

Over the course of 2011, CloudFlare identified a 700% increase in the number of distributed denial of service attacks [link to http://blog.cloudflare.com/2011-the-year-of-the-ddos] (DDoS) we track on the Internet (see the chart below). As attacks like these increase, CloudFlare is stepping up to protect sites.

CloudFlare’s security protections offer a broad range of protections [link to http://www.cloudflare.com/features-security] against attacks such as DDoS, hacking or spam submitted to a blog or comment form. What is powerful about our approach is that the system gets smarter the more sites that are part of the CloudFlare community. We analyze the traffic patterns of hundreds of millions of visitors in real time and adapt the security systems to ensure good traffic gets through and bad traffic is stopped.

In time, our goal is nothing short of making attacks against websites a relic of history. And, given our scale and the billions of different attacks we see and adapt to every year, we’re well on our way to achieving that for sites on the CloudFlare network.

Signing up

Any website can deploy CloudFlare, regardless of your underlying platform. By integrating closely with Ultimate SEO, we make the process of setting up CloudFlare “1 click easy” through your existing Ultimate SEO cPanel dashboard. Just look for the CloudFlare icon, choose the domain you want to enable, and click the orange cloud. That’s it!

We’ve kept the price as low as possible and plans offered through Ultimate SEO are free. Moreover, we never charge you for bandwidth or storage, therefore saving you tons via reduced bandwidth costs.

For site owners who would like to take advantage of CloudFlare’s advanced offerings, we also offer a ‘Pro’ tier of service for $20/month [link to http://www.cloudflare.com/plans]. The ‘Pro’ tier includes all of the ‘Free’ tier’s offerings, as well as extra features like SSL, full web application firewall and faster analytics.

We’re proud that every day more than a thousand new sites, including some of the largest on the web, join the CloudFlare community. If you’re looking for a faster, safer website, you’ve got a good start with Ultimate SEO, but the next step is to join the CloudFlare community [link to https://www.cloudflare.com/sign-up].

AWS Vs. Digital Ocean: Costs, Performance, Features For Cloud Computing | Clear Winner

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Creating A PBN Network Part 4: The Site Needs A Story

Creating a PBN or Private Blog Network is likely more difficult that just focusing on your content and the value it offers visitors. In this post we’ll examine what you need to have on the site and how it should be structured.

In previous posts we’ve discussed:

Creating A Private Blog Network: PBNs In 2019 For SEO

PBNs 2019 – Domain Detailing – Picking Expired Domains And 301 Redirects

Auto Posting Across Social Media Platforms – IFTTT – Buffer.com

Domain Name Register – PBNs In Mind – Namesilo.com

Every Site Needs A Backstory

Because every organic real site has one. If you decide before you create the site what it is and who made it then you’ll be able to create a site that will serve your PBN well. I’ve made site’s as if it were a school assignment in music and communication, or I’ve built a medical conference site that happened years ago but continues to update it’s site with follow up articles. I’ve built news magazine sites that promise to focus on local news that matters. Each site has an intended audience and justifies its existence.

Be creative and shake up the site’s purpose, play with the name. One site I had was aidusa.website I built a site seeking international aid for the USA because of the state of politics and our national debt. I noted our poverty levels, healthcare challenges and violence on the streets. It kinda made some sense after you look at it. That site could easily then harbor a backlink for a charity, healthcare site, legal site or a news site.

Regularly Updates

If you own one site and its this site your building you’re going to update it at least every month right? Its something you’re passionate about and you’ll find the regular updates will attract regular visits from search engines. This doesn’t scale well when we think about 10 sites or 100 sites … 1000 sites. You’ll need to read up on our Auto Blogging ideas in another article that we posted a while back.

Link Placement

Avoid … just don’t … place a link in the header or the footer or the sidebar of the site to another site. Your main “real” site doesn’t do that I bet. Why would this site? Keep money links to your target site in content. Define your site with anchor text that is relevant to the keywords you are pursuing.

Who’s Behind The Site And The Ability To Contact Them

I know what your favorite word is … or at least statistically speaking I do. It is your name. Humans love to talk about themselves and they like to take credit for something they’ve done. Websites aren’t much different.

So it looks odd when a site gives no information about the person or group behind it. The About Us section is important and just like on your money site or the important site … you need a means to contact the owner. A simple contact form or link to a twitter account is needed here. You don’t have to create email accounts on all the sites but you would be smart to create an email forwarder for the domain to one central account.

Social Media Presence

Your money site has the ability for people to share content on social media. It likely has 5, 6 maybe more social media accounts tied to it. Your PBN site likely should have something too. Use IFTTT or Buffer.com to automate the social media presence but make sure there is one.

Make a customized logo for each site.

Technical PBN Stuff Here

Dont setup a Google Analytics or Search Engine property on the same account that you use for your main account.

Have a seperate IP address or use a different host company for your various sites. Register your domain names on several registrar sites and use their nameservers or Cloudflare. It’s fine to build a template site with plugins and pages ready to be migrated onto a new domain and setup but make sure you vary them. Different themes, plugins, structure … experiment here and there, don’t install Yoast on everyone, use something different.

In the end patterns are what break us, or forgetting what we’d do if this was our only site. Be organic….and have a backstory.

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