Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tiger Woods Analysis

I'm a Tiger fan, and I follow the tour pretty closely, so even though I know Tiger won a tournament and hasn't been awful, it also seems like he hasn't been that good necessarily. But is that true? Here are some numbers and some analysis.

So, many of you know, though many would be surprised, that Tiger ranks #3 in adjusted scoring average on Tour. Based on the missed cut, the poor Masters and Players, you'd think it would be worse, right? But no, overall, his scoring average is good.

So I looked at total driving. I know that after his win earlier this year, he was leading in total driving, but after his last three tournaments, where it seemed like he kind of lost it, I figured he had plummeted. But not so. He stillranks #3 on tour in total driving. 

So, when I looked at that, I thought to myself, well, putting is probably really hurting him, because all the talk is about how he just doesn't putt well anymore, etc... but anyway, he ranks 19th on Tour this year in strokes gained putting. Very good. In 8 foot putting, he's 54th. Not great, but not terrible. But just looking back to, say, 2009, he was 74th. In other years, he's been even worse. Not the automatic putter everyone thought. It just felt that way. So he's right in line with "Old Tiger" when it comes to putting.

I thought maybe scrambling had gotten worse for Tiger, but so far, he's doing ok. 34th this year, though again, he had several top 20 seasons in years past. He's #31 in sand saves this year. Again, pretty good.

So in looking for other areas where he's not up to his past standards, I did find a couple. In "birdie or better from the rough," Tiger is well off his old pace. He had several years in the 2000's where he was top 20 in that category, while this year, he's 84th. I included this one simply because I always felt like that was one of the huge advantages Tiger had over the field. He could go hit it a long way, and even if it was in thick rough, it seemed like no one could even approach his ability when it came to still being able to muscle the ball out of that rough and get it within birdie range. It seemed like that alone would usually get him a couple strokes per tournament over the field, and he isn't getting those right now.

In birdie % from 175-200 yards, Tiger is 40th. Not horrible, but he led the Tour in that one and was always top 20 in earlier years. In approaches from 175-200 and from 200+, he ranks pretty high, top 25 if I recall correctly. So he's still one of the best with his longer irons.

In approaches from the rough from 150-175, he's 114th this year whereas in years past, he had some very high finishes.

Driving distance is also down. The difference comes from using a 3 wood rather than driver, but still, he's only at 281 this year. He's been at 287-290 in many other years, and was even at 300+ in other years. He can still get it out there with the driver (he ranks 10th in "% of yardage covered on par 5 tee shots), but he's been dialing back off the tee to stay in the fairway.

Tiger is 19th in bogey avoidance. Again, that's actually really good, but he had a handful of seasons where he led the tour in the past.

Tiger is in the 90's this year on par 5 scoring. I figured that is really what's costing him, but I was surprised to see that he actually hasn't done as well at that as you would think in the past. He's only been top 10 once, and has had several years outside the top 40. Still, so far this year that has cost him some strokes.

Finally, in approach distance from inside 100 yards, Tiger is only 120th this year. That may be his biggest "issue," if you want to call it that. He led the tour in this category a couple times, and has never been worse than average, until this year. Not sure why. He also is doing very poorly from 100-125 yards, ranking like 140th this year, while he was in the top 7 every single year from 2003-2007. 

So while he's still doing a lot of things well (some surprisingly well and much better than you'd think based on what people say about his game), the things that appear to be keeping him from being dominant like he used to be are that he isn't quite dominating the par 5s like he used to, he isn't quite as deadly on those approach shots from the rough as he used to be, and he isn't quite as accurate on those 50-125 yard approach shots as he used to be.

1 comment:

  1. Nice stats. As a golfer myself, I agree that the approach shot stats are the key. You have to get close enough to the hole for birdies because otherwise the putts are too long to break par and win tournaments. I also think that Tiger driving with his 3-Wood is indicative of a weak(er) mental attitude than in his younger, better days. Golf in the first place should be fun and knocking the ball 300 yards or more is it. Thereafter you get the ball as near the hole as you can. If you are playing it safe off the tee, you will be playing it safe on approach shots, when in fact you should be attacking the flag.