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Tiger Woods Master Catch-All Discussion

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Just a couple of notes about how good Tiger (and Brooks) were this week:

264 (Brooks) is the lowest winning score for a PGA Championship ever, and Tiger’s 266 would have won outright every stroke play PGA Championship ever, except for David Toms’ win at 265 in 2001, and would have tied Jimmy Walker at 266 in 2016. That’s 58 out of 61 stroke play PGA’s that would have been won outright.

Also, looking at Tiger’s winning scores in all of his PGA Tour victories, 266 was better than 69 of the 79 overall. 

 

Edited by sofingaw

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Also, 266 is lower than all Open Championship scores except Stenson’s 264 in 2016, and is lower than any score ever at the Masters or US Open. 

Understanding that this years scoring was low for a major, this is all very impressive and encouraging, still.

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Another nugget is that Tiger's 66-66-64 weekend was his lowest last 54 holes in a major tournament ever, including those 14 he won. By three shots. The course is of course a big part of the score, but he played really well. And he finished two shots behind Koepka, with a bogey, double start on the first two holes Thursday.

Time for more stats. They got 41 measured rounds, which gives the number crunches something to work with.

tigerstats.png

There is one glaring weakness that's been present all year: Accuracy off the tee. Most notably with the driver, but there's also been a few wayward 3-woods and irons. On the final round of the PGA, he hit only 5/14 fairways, but still found 12/18 greens. More impressively, he shot 64, with two bogies. Tiger has always been the best at getting out of a bad place and somehow finding and pulling out some amazing shots, and that's something he hasn't forgotten the last 10 years. If anything, his inaccuracy off the tee gives him lots of opportunities to hit these kind of shots. He's 176th out of 205 players in driving accuracy. He is of course one of the longer hitters and when he first finds the fairway, intermediate or short rough with a shot at the green, he's giving himself a lot of opportunities by being able to hit short irons. The top three at the FedEx cup, DJ, JT and Koepka are also quite a bit down the list on driving accuray, but pretty high up on the list of driving distance. Less accuracy on longer hitters is of course expected. Simple math explains why you're likely to hit less fairways the longer you are. And maybe also the fact that longer hitters swing faster, maybe making a swing more likely to deviate more than a slower swinger and shorter hitter.

He's been playing as well as he has primarily because of his irons, but also short game and putting. Putting has been up and down this year, but it's steadily improved. Without his iron play, he wouldn't have been anywhere near a shot at winning something this year. At The Open he also struggled off the tee in the final round, only hitting 6/15 fairways. It's probably nerves and insecurity about his game off the tee, which shows itself more than anything in the final round. We've also seen a clear tendency to first tee jitters and that he often starts tournaments quite poor.

That said, let's look at his tee shots this week.

Round 1: 9 on fairway, 1 miss right, 4 miss left.
Round 2: 8 on fairway, 4 miss right, 2 miss left.
Round 3: 10 on fairway, 3 miss right, 1 miss left.
Round 4: 5 on fairway, 5 miss right, 4 miss left.

The first three days are pretty good, but he still dropped 5 shots on those three rounds after missing fairways, and he's mising both ways. If his misses were consistent, he could set up left or right and find fairways even if he cuts or pulls it a little too much, but with two-way misses, it becomes extremely frustrating and difficult. When you miss 5 left and 5 right in one round, where do you aim? This course was maybe especially difficult since it's got a lot of doglegs left, and Tiger usually hits a fade.

If Tiger stays healthy and plays the same way he's done this year, he will win before too long. If he stays healthly and gets his tee shots in order, or at least narrowed to a one-way miss, he can win a lot. With how good his irons are, turning more of those holes where he has to rescue himself from the rough into potential birdie holes is a big deal.

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9 hours ago, 70sSanO said:

At 42, and so many surgeries, he will have a tough time against the younger players who molded their power games after Tiger.  He has kept not only his die hard fans, but I think he has converted a number of non-Tiger fans who are rooting for this version of Tiger against the world.

This doesnt make sense. Tiger just finished 2nd in a major, shot a 64 without hitting a fairway on the front, and had 3 putts that lipped out or burned the edge, in addition to the eagle chance from 17 ft he 3 putted on the 17th to close out his 3rd round, how is that "having a tough time against the younger players" ?

 

Tiger averages 304 yds with his driver and 289 on all drives. That's long enough to handle any course they face on tour, and the 304 yds is 34th on tour this season. Pretty impressive IMO.

I dont understand why you think he will have a tough time against the younger players. Sure I dont expect him to keep these numbers up for 10 years, but for now he has shown no signs of having a tough time against younger players in terms of raw power/distance.

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27 minutes ago, colin007 said:

@iacas, how would you fix Tiger's driver?

I'd be interested in this answer too. I read this on Twitter:

 

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Don't get me wrong, for someone who had a tough time walking not to long ago it borders the miraculous what Tiger has done this past year.  But he is 42 and there is no telling how long he will hold up.

My observation has to do with not only the length but the overall fitness level of the top young players today.  Tiger ushered in that fitness and a lot of his younger competition has been hitting the gym for years, unlike his older competition when he broke into the game.  The John Daly era is gone.  There are also fewer holes in the younger players' games.

I'm hoping Tiger tears it up next year and wins a major and a few tournaments, but he is pretty much an old man at this stage of his career.  It is great watching him back out there.

John

Edited by 70sSanO

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After all the years of injury and personal problems Tiger is playing at age 42 the way I would have expected him to without the melodrama of the last 10 years.  Watching the amazing recovery shots he made demonstrated his raw talent and he certainly can keep up with the young guns.  If he can tame his driver he has multiple wins ahead of him and perhaps a major or two.  To be at this stage in his first year back was beyond my expectations (and maybe Tiger's). 

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3 minutes ago, 70sSanO said:

There are also fewer holes in the younger players' games.

Not sure I buy that. The young players have only been playing against each other. The holes in their games don't get exposed because there is no one out there who is good enough to regularly expose them. If Tiger keeps improving and were to get back to his best, I think you'll see the young players "fold". They won't actually be folding any more than they are right now, but it will be made more obvious by having one guy out there who is that good. 

I don't know if Tiger will hold up or if he will continue to improve, but I am hopeful. He dropped three shots in his first two holes last week and wound up two back. His putter got cold Saturday afternoon and he's definitely not yet at his best. He has shown flashes of it in each part of his game. Once he gets them all together at once, watch out. 

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Must have been so cool for his kids to see. They must have been, holy cr@p, I knew my dad was a legend, but this?

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2 hours ago, colin007 said:

@iacas, how would you fix Tiger's driver?

I don't know. I haven't really looked at it from that perspective.

4 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

Not sure I buy that. The young players have only been playing against each other. The holes in their games don't get exposed because there is no one out there who is good enough to regularly expose them.

I think they have better overall games with fewer holes. The strength and depth of field is a little better now than in 1997 or even 2005.

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12 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

Not sure I buy that. The young players have only been playing against each other. The holes in their games don't get exposed because there is no one out there who is good enough to regularly expose them.

Insert eye rolling emoji... Lets not get into depth of field again. There is another thread dedicated to that. I will say, you are wrong. If you want to argue against that, take it to the depth of field thread.

12 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

If Tiger keeps improving and were to get back to his best, I think you'll see the young players "fold". They won't actually be folding any more than they are right now, but it will be made more obvious by having one guy out there who is that good. 

I doubt it. Koepka, saw Tiger post -14. He kept hitting greens and fairways. He did it against a crowd hyped up by Tiger draining that birdie putt on 18. Nice try, but I don't by your claim. It's not founded on anything factual.

19 minutes ago, NJpatbee said:

If he can tame his driver he has multiple wins ahead of him and perhaps a major or two.  To be at this stage in his first year back was beyond my expectations (and maybe Tiger's). 

Tiger dominated in 2006 and 2007 with a ranking of 139 and 152 in driving accuracy.

Maybe it's the field being better at driving the ball than it was in 2007. Tiger only averaged 4% better in driving accuracy 2007 than in 2018.

 

 

Edited by saevel25

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28 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Insert eye rolling emoji... Lets not get into depth of field again. There is another thread dedicated to that. I will say, you are wrong. If you want to argue against that, take it to the depth of field thread.

I doubt it. Koepka, saw Tiger post -14. He kept hitting greens and fairways. He did it against a crowd hyped up by Tiger draining that birdie putt on 18. Nice try, but I don't by your claim. It's not founded on anything factual.

Tiger dominated in 2006 and 2007 with a ranking of 139 and 152 in driving accuracy.

Maybe it's the field being better at driving the ball than it was in 2007. Tiger only averaged 4% better in driving accuracy 2007 than in 2018.

 

 

My point was more that if Tiger had posted -20, then Koepka wouldn't have had anything he could have done at that point and it may look like they are all folding. That's why I put fold in quotes. Take the 2000 US Open. If Tiger hadn't been playing, it would have been a great tournament and really close. People would have been talking about how tough the course played and how +3 wound up in a playoff. As it is, no one talks about any of that, because Tiger made it irrelevant.

As to the depth of field thing, I don't disagree with you that the field depth is much higher. I would also happily buy that DJ and Brooks are better players than Vijay and Phil and Retief and Ernie were back in 2005. My point there was that some people seem to think that the field were incredible until 1997, then they fell away drastically for about 15 years and now they're back. The reason people think that is because for a 15ish year spell there was one guy who was far and away better than everyone else. If he gets back to being that, then the field are going to appear to have suddenly got worse again. They won't actually have. It will just look that way for the people who try to undermine Tiger's legacy. 

Yes the field is better now than ten years ago, but they are not immune to wobbling. Spieth wobbled at Carnoustie. DJ wobbled Saturday at Shinnecock. They all do. They just don't always have one person cleaning up when they do, so it's not called out so much. I'm on your side on most of this...

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56 minutes ago, 70sSanO said:

Don't get me wrong, for someone who had a tough time walking not to long ago it borders the miraculous what Tiger has done this past year.  But he is 42 and there is no telling how long he will hold up.

My observation has to do with not only the length but the overall fitness level of the top young players today.  Tiger ushered in that fitness and a lot of his younger competition has been hitting the gym for years, unlike his older competition when he broke into the game.  The John Daly era is gone.  There are also fewer holes in the younger players' games.

I'm hoping Tiger tears it up next year and wins a major and a few tournaments, but he is pretty much an old man at this stage of his career.  It is great watching him back out there.

John

I agree.  Seeing him have a serious shot at a win on the back 9 of the last day of two majors (Open Championship and PGA Championship) was impressive.

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I have a question for guys like @iacas and @mvmac. We've all mentioned, heck, we've gone on and on about, Tiger's struggles off the tee with his driver (even his long iron yesterday). I certainly don't know enough about the golf swing to know what's wrong. I'd bet you guys have watched and dissected his swing(s) over the years. He was always a bit shaky since he went to graphite, but I don't remember it being this bad. What do you think his problem is, and will he ever be able to fix it once and for all? Or will this always be his proverbial "Achilles heel"?  

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2 minutes ago, GrandStranded said:

I have a question for guys like @iacas and @mvmac. We've all mentioned, heck, we've gone on and on about, Tiger's struggles off the tee with his driver (even his long iron yesterday). I certainly don't know enough about the golf swing to know what's wrong. I'd bet you guys have watched and dissected his swing(s) over the years. He was always a bit shaky since he went to graphite, but I don't remember it being this bad. What do you think his problem is, and will he ever be able to fix it once and for all? Or will this always be his proverbial "Achilles heel"?  

I don't know.

I don't really watch too much for that aspect.

I think he could fix it. Asking for a prediction is asking whether he should and/or will.

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43 minutes ago, iacas said:

I don't know.

I don't really watch too much for that aspect.

I think he could fix it. Asking for a prediction is asking whether he should and/or will.

I didn't word my question well. What I meant to ask was, do you think the problem is some sort of physical restriction due to his back fusion or other surgeries? Or is it just some flaw in his swing? I remember back at the beginning of the year, you seemed to know a bit about the type of surgery he had. It just seems so strange to see him hit all the incredible shots he does, then be so erratic when his ball is teed up. He obviously is generating enough speed, I'm wondering if he just has trouble physically getting to a certain position while attaining all that speed.

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2 minutes ago, GrandStranded said:

What I meant to ask was, do you think the problem is some sort of physical restriction due to his back fusion or other surgeries? Or is it just some flaw in his swing?

B

2 minutes ago, GrandStranded said:

I remember back at the beginning of the year, you seemed to know a bit about the type of surgery he had.

I read about it. And listened to other people who had the same type of surgery.

The driver is in many ways the most difficult club to hit.

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