Tiger’s New Old Game
The last time Tiger Woods was the number one ranked golfer in the world was October 2010. That’s a grand total of 29 months ago.
That all changed this week at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Invitational, which Tiger Woods won running away at -13. That’s Woods’ eighth time to win the same PGA tournament.
Justin Rose gave Woods his best, but faltered on Saturday before attempting a comeback on Monday’s round (after torrential storms in and around Orlando postponed play on Sunday), and Ricky Fowler tried to match Woods’ performance in the final grouping, but Woods’ irons were too much for Fowler and all the “chasers.”
And then there was Woods’ putting, which was nothing short of masterful. For the week, he made 19 of 28 putts between 7 and 20 feet. It was like the Tiger of old — the golf ball seemed to just follow a line from Woods’ putter to the middle of the hole, over and over and over again.
You could hear professional golfers around the globe simply deflate with each stroke of Tiger’s Nike Method putter.
So, Tiger has now won 77 PGA Tour wins, only 5 away from legend Sam Snead’s 82.
And then there’s The Masters coming up in Augusta in mid-April, the golfing equivalent of the Super Bowl.
You think a few odds makers in Vegas now have Tiger to win this year’s Masters?
Not that I would ever gamble on such a thing, but money does talk, and in this case, online casino Bovada already has Tiger at 11/4 odds to take this year’s green jacket.
But since this is a data driven, technology-oriented blog, let’s look at a few more numbers.
Bleacherreport’s Ryan Rudnansky observes that in 2010, Tiger ranked 109th in putting (strokes gained). 45th in 2011. 36th last year. And this year?
You got it? Numero uno.
At Doral, he recorded just 100 putts for the 72 holes, the lowest putting mark in his career.
Oh, yes, and he’s won three times this year in four stroke-play tournaments (we’ll disregard his nasty bit of business at the Accenture Match Play, where Charles Howell III ousted him in the first match).
Is Tiger’s taking the Master’s in two weeks a done deal?
Of course not.
Would I pick him over all the other players in the field?
What do you think?