Network TV Golf Coverage

Missing from this week’s analysis: the number of times the announcers make stupid comments. Gary McCord talks too fast for me to keep an accurate count.

The Numbers Game“They always show Tiger even when he’s not in contention.”

“I want to see more golf. Less jibber-jabbering and network promos, more actual golf shots.”

“Why do they always show people walking around when other players are hitting golf shots?”

No doubt you’ve heard golf fans complaining about network coverage of PGA Tour events. This weekend, I put CBS on the clock and took notes on their network coverage of the inaugural AT&T National. The results… well they may not surprise you, but they do shed some light on the subject.

2007 U.S. Open Scores

How did Oakmont play? How penal was the rough? How tricky were the slick greens? Find out.

The Numbers GameWe all know how hard the U.S. Open is, and we knew how hard the it was going to be at Oakmont Country Club, but did it live up to expectations?

This week we’ll take a look at a few of the more interesting statistics from the 107th playing of the U.S. Open.

Par is a Good Score

Would you believe that the average winning score at the U.S. Open since 1945 has been below par? You’d better.

The Numbers GameThe U.S. Open is notorious for its idea of par as a standard. The courses that host the tournament are usually set up to be quite penal. “Par is a good score” you’ll hear pros say, and this year’s event at Oakmont Country Club outside of Pittsburgh, PA is looking no different.

The typical U.S. Open course has pinched fairways, long holes, super-fast, super-firm undulating greens, and the nastiest, thickest, juiciest rough you’ll ever want to see.

And yet the U.S. Open typically plays to about even par, and is actually trending lower. Let’s have a look.

The Cost of Being a Fan

With the remaining three majors fast approaching, act now if you want to attend live, and get your pocket book ready.

The Numbers GameAnyone who calls themselves a real fan of the PGA Tour has watched the television coverage of a major and thought “How great would it be to attend!?” Fans of Tiger, Phil, and the rest of the boys on Tour would all love to follow the action live. Sure, your couch has some comforts, but how many times are you going to stride along with Tiger as he wins another U.S. Open?

The people attending these events by and large look like you and I. They’re normal guys who just happened to nab some great tickets. Scoring passes to prestigious sports events does not come cheap. Look around sometime and price out tickets to a World Series, or if you dare, The Super Bowl. Major events on the PGA Tour are not much easier on the pocket books. In fact, depending on the event, they can be considerably more expensive.

In this week’s The Numbers Game, we’ll have a look at the cost of being a fan.

Angles of Error

It’s a wonder anyone makes putts longer than two feet given this math!

The Numbers GameWhile baseball may be a game of inches, golf, it’s been said, is a game of angles. It’s better to approach Augusta National’s 11th green from the far left edge of the fairway than, say, what used to be the far right edge of the fairway. It’s better to leave yourself an uphill putt than a downhill putt. If you play a fade, you’re better off teeing up on the right-hand side of the teebox.

Yes, in addition to being a mental exercise, a stroll in the park, and one of the few solitary sports in the world, golf is a game of angles. This week in The Numbers Game we take a look at some of those angles: how far offline can you start a three-foot putt and still expect to make it? How about a ten-foot putt? How hard is it to hit the green or fairway?

Let’s find out.

Money List Trends

The days of the rabbit – a pro golfer scraping by week to week barely making ends meet – are long gone.

The Numbers GameWith his win this week at the Wachovia Championship, Tiger Woods surpassed the $4 million mark for the eighth straight year. And it’s only May!

It’s unquestioned that Tiger Woods has had a dramatic effect on the game, and certainly on the money list. Though you can ask the old codgers about the days winning barely paid for the gas to the next tournament, the modern-day PGA professional must make over half a million dollars just to keep his Tour card!

The money list is one of the few stats that measure actual performance on the course. It’s also one of the few areas in which we can statistically and visibly see Tiger’s effect on the game of golf.

Let’s have a look.

Slow Play Calculations

How much time can you save just by walking 15% faster? The answer may surprise you.

The Numbers GameThis week, The Sand Trap is throwing hard light on slow play on America’s golf courses. We’re fed up, tired, and sick of spending five hours traversing four miles of course, especially when there are so many incentives to play more quickly: more time with family, more time at the 19th hole, more time to play another 18 holes, and the increased likelihood that our spouse will let us play to begin with!

In this week’s The Numbers Game, we’re going to look at how much time one can save doing simple, efficient things on the golf course, ranging from walking more quickly to being ready to play when it’s your turn.

Read on, because I think the amount of time you can save may be impressive.

2007 Masters in Numbers

Zach Johnson wins this year’s Masters. How did he do it? Was this the most boring Masters ever? And how’d the staff do in predicting the outcome? Find out.

The Numbers GameThe Masters is over. Zach Johnson is the winner, Tiger Woods failed to mount a Sunday charge (as did most of the rest of the field), and Augusta put up more than a fair fight. So be it.

While we’re between Numbers Game columnist, I thought I’d fill in with some quickie stats from this year’s playing of the U.S. Open, errr, Masters Invitational.

Reformulating a Formulated Formula

As discussed last week I would like to try to use the 40-30-20-10 Rule to predict the outcome of this week’s tournament…along with discussing some minor tweaks to the formula in order to accomplish this task.

The Numbers GameIt has come to this. In every sport it’s possible to find predictions, whether in the Las Vegas sports books or in your weekly fantasy league. But what if you could have a slight advantage over the rest of your league mates? What if you could predict the future?

Well, you’re looking in the wrong place! This article is basically just a proof of concept from my last article in that I am going to make some minor tweaks to the 40-30-20-10 Rule to see if they can predict the outcome of a tournament more effectively than The Golf Channel‘s WinZone.