Montana to California: Thomas Ruyle is Student of the Week!

After spending his summers interning with the Cleveland Browns, Thomas Ruyle knew he wanted to work in sports. Thomas graduated from Montana State University in December and jumped right into the Sports MBA program in January! Read on to learn more about him. 

Hometown: Bozeman, MT

Undergraduate College: Montana State University

Favorite sports to play: Football and Basketball

Favorite Sports Movie: Creed

Why SDSU Sports MBA: I graduated from Montana State while working as an student equipment manager for Montana State Football and a few internships with the Cleveland Browns. Although I loved working in sports, I didn’t feel the same about equipment managing. I came to the program to get opportunities to work on the business side of sports and further my education.

Favorite class so far: Financial Management

Fun fact about you: One time I potentially saved Jim Brown from serious injury as I caught a speeding football that was headed towards his head.

Best out of the classroom activity so far: Touring the Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista. Having the opportunity to tour the world class facilities that they have to offer was an exceptional experience. 


The Proof is in the Putting

Jason Day reached the pinnacle of golf on March 27th, 2016 becoming the number one ranked golfer in the world. A significant contribution to Day’s success was his putting throughout his stretch of PGA Tour wins in 2015 and 2016. Starting with the RBC Canadian Open, Jason Day had the TaylorMade Ghost Spider Tour in the bag when he edged Bubba Watson by one stroke to hoist the trophy on that final day of the tournament. Following that win, Day notched three more wins in 2015, most notably his first ever Major at the PGA Championship. The trend continued for Day in 2016, adding three more wins to his repertoire. It would be ill-advised to assume that just one golf club is the sole reason for Day’s success, but the numbers don’t lie. A new statistic, adopted in 2011, tracks the amount of strokes gained through putting. created a statistic that measures the probability of making each putt based on distance and assigning a certain value to each distance. provides an example below of how Strokes-Gained Putting is measured:

Let’s say a golfer has an 8-foot putt, which the stats say a player should make 50 percent of the time. The putt is given a value of 1.5. If the golfer makes it, he/she gains 0.5 strokes on the field. If the golfer misses it, he/she loses 0.5 strokes on the field (Golf WRX 2016).

Essentially, the longer the putt, the higher the amount of strokes gained on the field. Unfortunately, based on the information provided, the statistical analysis could only go as far back as 2004. For those unfamiliar with the PGA tour, Tiger Woods had a run of 264 consecutive weeks as the world number one in golf from 1999-2004 (Golf Today). Had Strokes-Gained Putting existed during that run, this article may have a far different focal point.

Listed below is a chart of the Strokes-Gained Putting for each of the world number one golfers from 2004-2016:

The spread is astonishing. Prior to 2016, no one had even topped 0.97 Strokes-Gained. Not only did Jason Day top the 1.0 mark, but he cleared it by 0.13, which is the largest spread between any two consecutive golfers listed. Tiger Woods, whom arguably has the greatest career any golfer on this list, is nearly 0.3 strokes behind Day. Given the information provided, it can be inferred that Jason Day, statistically, had the greatest putting season ever. It is beyond a mere coincidence that Day’s putting performance sky-rocketed since switching to the TaylorMade Ghost Spider Tour, and other tour pros are noticing.

Rookie golfer Jon Rahm, of the TaylorMade team, captured his first win on tour at the Farmers Insurance Open, sealing the win by sinking a 60 foot eagle putt on the 18th hole. Yet again, the TaylorMade Ghost Spider Tour contributed to a tour victory. Current world number one golfer Dustin Johnson, whom has been a part of the TaylorMade team since 2007, previously had a Titleist Scotty Cameron putter in his bag up until the 2016 season when he too made the switch to the Ghost Spider Tour. Upon switching putters, the current number one and number two golfers in the world are now both carrying TaylorMade’s masterpiece in their arsenal. Once again, no single club will win a golf tournament, but the question has to be asked what makes this putter so special.

The TaylorMade Ghost Spider Tour has a few key features that differentiate it from the competition. The putter has a Pure Role™ system on the face of the putter that helps the golf ball maintain its line through the putt. As stated on, the putter, “… features a redesigned seamless crown as well as vibration dampening foam between the body and frame for enhanced feel and audio feedback.”  Below is an image breakdown of the Pure Role™ system:

The Ghost Spider Tour also features two counter-balance weights at the back of the putter head to provide an even weight distribution. Needless to say, this putter is one of the most innovative on tour. TaylorMade, having the number one driver on tour for years, now has a seat at the table for the argument of the best putter on tour. With three wins in 2017 already, the Ghost Spider Tour is on a roll, with no signs of stopping.

Sanders, Peter. “Did Jason Day just have the best putting year of any Tour pro ever?” Golf WRX. 12 November 2016.

Red Bull Air Race Returns to San Diego


San Diego is an epicenter of sports and sporting events. The events cover a wide variety sports and the city frequently hosts events which fall well outside of the traditional sports arena / park.

This weekend the Red Bull Air Race tour returned to San Diego for the first time since 2009. The weekend was full of tricks, turns, and speeds which are, frankly, hard to conceptualize / understand from the ground. The sky was the standard California bright blue and the sun was as expected, shining!

As we progress through the Sports MBA program, it’s clear that from now on, we can never attend sports events without a critical eye! Everything we have learnt so far adds an element of question, inquiry, and evaluation when we attend these events. Being based in San Diego, this gives us endless valuable opportunities to put our knowledge to the test and allows us to expand our learning in the real outside environment, not just the classroom.


Warning Track Power: SMBA ’18 Visits Athelytix Precision Sports Analytics

Earlier this week SMBA ’18 headed to Athelytix to meet with CEO Jim Chase and CMO Norb Seufert to demo The GRID Hitting System. This system is a part of the Athelytix precision sports analytics offered for training and entertainment to deliver meaningful performance improvement to athletes at all levels. According to WinterGreen Research, the sports analytics market is expected to grow $4.7 billion worldwide by 2021 which places Athelytix in a unique position to make analytics available to the masses.

The newly patented system offers bi-directional laser object detection to capture accurate real-time data where competitors can only track a single direction. The precise measurement and predictive analytics calculate velocity, trajectory, distance and location while HD video captures biomechanics and synchronization. This is all sent to the cloud where the results are immediately analyzed and can be compared over time on their web platform or free mobile app. This system can also be expanded to many other sports besides baseball/softball including golf, soccer, and hockey.

Before SMBA ’18 stepped into the cage, the San Diego Padre’s field dimensions were loaded into the system allowing the students to see how they stack up in a big-league park. Thanks to Athelytix for getting SMBA ’18 into the cage to demo this system and track our performance in the process.