Where Clark’s victory ranks
Wyndham Clark is such a new talent on Tour that one might not have expected him to rise to historically great performance levels this weekend, and he didn’t. His victory came via a spread of 2.23 standard deviations better than the field average.
You can think of standard deviation as a dominance score: By how wide a margin did the player distance himself from the normal performance of the game’s best players during the week? A score of -2.23 categorizes as toward the low end of the historical norm.
We can get a feel for how Clark’s victory stacks up historically by comparing it with the past decade of U.S. Open champions. In that context, it’s nothing to write home about. From most dominant to least dominant, here’s how the last 10 Open champions have ordered.
Player Year Course Std. Dev.
1 Martin Kaymer 2014 Pinehurst -3.03
2 Bryson DeChambeau 2020 Winged Foot -2.87
3 Gary Woodland 2019 Pebble Beach -2.77
4 Brooks Koepka 2018 Shinnecock -2.42
5 Dustin Johnson 2016 Oakmont -2.36
6 Brooks Koepka 2017 Erin Hills -2.34
7 Jon Rahm 2021 Torrey Pines -2.24
8 Wyndham Clark 2023 LACC -2.23
9 Jordan Spieth 2015 Chambers Bay -2.12
10 Matt Fitzpatrick 2022 Country Club -2.06
We do seem to be in a window of homogenized performances at the Open. Three of the four least dominant champions of the past decade won their Opens in the past three years: Rahm in 2021, Fitzpatrick last year, and Clark this year.
This is a recent phenomenon, and not necessarily a trend. DeChambeau’s victory ranks as the 10th most dominant performance in the entire history of the tournament, Kaymer’s 2014 victory is fifth on that list, and McIlroy’s 2011 win at Congressional ranks second all time.
You can probably guess who’s No. 1…at least you can if you are old enough to remember Tiger Woods at Pebble Beach in 2000.