I’ve been waiting to look at Tiger’s stats in awe. Well, the time has come. Tiger has had an amazing season and without a doubt and in my mind he has rightfully earned Player of the Year honors. If Vijay’s putting hadn’t left him at crucial points of the year, I might be talking more about him than Woods.
Let’s go down the list, shall we?
Below are Tiger’s finishing place in the different major categories. His current ranking is used for 2005. The categories are: Driving Distance (DD), Driving Accuracy (DA), Greens in Regulation (GIR), Putting Average (PA), Scoring (SC), Money (MON), Money per Event (MON/EV). The final column lists his wins and majors.
Year DD DA GIR PA SC MON MON/EV WINS/MAJ 2005 2 180 5 15 1 1 1 5/2 2004 9 182 47 2 3 4 3 1/0 2003 2 169 3 14 1 2 1 5/0 2002 6 107 1 83 1 1 1 5/2 2001 3 145 5 102 1 1 1 5/1 2000 2 54 1 2 1 1 1 9/3 1999 3 49 1 24 1 1 1 8/1 1998 2 114 30 147 2 4 4 1/0 1997 2 96 4 60 2 1 1 4/1
Well, we all know that Tiger is crazy long. I’ve watched him in person and seen his ball flight. It truly is something to behold. Tiger has never finished worse than ninth (2004) in driving distance on tour. I don’t think that will change for a while either.
While his distance gives him a gives him an advantage, he seems to give it back in his accuracy. Tiger only hits 56.5% of his fairways… good for 180th on tour. This has always been the one area that he has not dominated. Has it really hurt him though? Not too much. He still hits lots of greens (which we’ll get to in a second) and is actually 12th in hitting greens from places other than the fairway. Personally, I don’t think he cares as long as he still hits a lot of greens in regulation.
Greens in Regulation
Speaking of which, Tiger is very good at hitting greens. At least most years he is. Out of the nine years, including this year, Tiger has been on tour he has been in the top five in GIR. Every one of those seasons, he has had at least four victories on Tour. The other two years he finished 30th in 1998 and 47th in 2004. Those years, Tiger only had one victory on the PGA Tour. Coincidence? I think not. Those two years were also the only two he didn’t finish first in money earned per tour event. Scoring? He finished third in 2004 and second in 1998… the only years other than his rookie year he finished somewhere other than first.
Greens people… it’s all about hitting the greens.
This is one area that Tiger has improved upon as he’s gotten older. He went from 147th in 1998 to second in 2000 to 102nd in 2001. Tiger was on a rollercoaster ride and could not stabilize himself in the putting category. But since 2003, Woods got back on track. He finished 14th that year followed up with a 2nd in 2004. This year he is 15th and continuing his solid putting performance.
Again, some of Tiger’s main competitors like Vijay and Sergio hit a ton of greens, but can’t get the ball in the hole once they are there. Both those guys have had pretty darn good years, finishing in the top 10 in money, but I’d be willing to bet that if you asked them one area they needed to improve to catch Tiger, it would be putting.
That’s right. I almost forgot: Greens and putting people… that’s what it is about.
To examine this a bit closer, excuse me for the sidebar, but I had to put the two together. Over the past few weeks I looked at plotting GIR and putting average by money, but I never combined the two. Look at the graph if you combine them. I’ve included a smoothing best fit line for reference:
The X-axis (horizontal) shows the place of each player when adding their rank in GIR and putting average. The Y-axis (vertical) shows how much money those players earned per event. Tiger’s dot is the very top left one. His combined place is 20 (5th in putting + 15th in GIR). The line slopes down and away toward the bottom right…and significantly too. Once you get left of 100, it jumps significantly.
Other Tiger Stats
Sorry for the digression… I’ll get back to point. The rest of Tiger’s stats are just as impressive. Not only can he hit it and putt it, but he has touch around the green. Tiger is 18th in scrambling and 26th in sand save percentage. Sometimes Tiger has too much imagination around the green but in the end he more than gets the job done. The guy has skills.
Just look at his stats. The only ones that are worse than 83rd are related to driving accuracy… even the obscure ones. Tiger does almost everything well. This is why he is so successful. This is why he dominates. This is why Tiger is Tiger.
Photo Credits: © Unknown.