Texas Mathematics Teacher Spring/Summer 2022 - 8

An Odyssey with Time Series: The Masters Golf Tournament
Historical Prelude
The site of The Masters tournament, annually hosted by
the Augusta National Golf Club, is a former indigo plantation
that later became Fruitland Nurseries, which imported
many varieties of trees and shrubs to the grounds,
including monumental pine trees, fragrant azaleas and
exquisite dogwoods that are springtime hallmarks of the
tournament course, even down to present day.
In 1931 Clifford Roberts and golfing-great Bobby Jones
expressed interest in purchasing the nursery land expressly
as a venue for the game of golf. The purchase price was
approximately seventy thousand dollars. Bobby Jones
had won the Grand Slam, all four major tournaments for
which he was eligible as an amateur, in 1930, and wisely
chose to retire from the game " on top. " He and Roberts
formulated their vision of " the perfect course " and subsequently
engaged the help of Dr. Alister Mackenzie, as
course layout designer, and Louis Alphonse Berckmans as
chief arborist and floral developer.
The construction project began in earnest in the summer
of 1931, and the course officially opened for play a year
later. Since 1934, The Masters Tournament has annually
been held, except for the 1943-1945 WWII years.
Masters Tournament Time Series Exploration
Time Series analysis has a long and storied history, dating
from traditional methods of long ago to current techniques,
many whose roots now lie in machine learning
and artificial intelligence. The goal here is an introduction
to some elementary methods that can help students begin
to grapple with the nuances of time series analysis as a
field of study.
A simple time series plot of the data in Table 1 is shown
in Figure 1, where a break in the series is depicted during
the WWII years. A quick scan from left to right indicates a
possible downward trend, overall. Also, some of the yearto-year
fluctuations are quite large, and what can we say
about them? In the end, the cornerstone question to be answered
is: How are we to make sense of time series data?
That is, how do we " see the forest through the trees " ?
Figure 1. Time series plot for Table 1 data.
The primary statistical tools used here are known collectively as Time Series Behavior Charts, and there are always two:
the Moving Range Chart and the Individuals Chart. Excellent discussions of Time Series Behavior Charts are found in
Montgomery (2013) and Wheeler (2000), while the seminal work is traced to Shewhart (1999). In fact, Wheeler (2000) provides
the most accessible, introductory presentation we have found.
Pre-WWII years:
Let's begin more simply just with the pre-WWII years (1934 - 1942) as a first step. Table 2 provides only the winning score
by year.
Year
Total 284
8 | Spring/Summer 2022
1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942
282
285
283
285
279
280
280
Table 2. Winning total score for years 1934-1942
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Texas Mathematics Teacher Spring/Summer 2022

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