WAS TIGER’s SWING BETTER WITH BUTCH?

I saw a poll the other day, where 75% of teaching professionals though Tiger Woods had a better swing under Butch Harmon. That makes me wonder what the hell 75% of teaching professionals know about golf?

Below is a graph of Tiger’s average score in my rankings from 2002-2010*.


*2005-2007 are estimations of his adjusted score. I have his raw numbers and I adjusted field stregth based on the other years I have. 2010 does not include the Memorial.

First, how to read this graph. The black line traces Tiger’s average through the period of 2002-2010. The dotted lines around in represent a confidence interval(I think I did it right) based on simulations from 10,000 seasons with that given number of rounds. Basically, we can be 95% confident Tiger’s actual level of play falls somewhere in that line(NOTE: How little we can learn from 9 rounds). The red line represents his average of all rounds in the time period weighted equally. The Blue lines are +/- 1 standard deviation based on the number of rounds Tiger played in that season.

Again, I would love to go back to 1997 and take a look at his other years, but I just don’t have the data yet. What this does say, however, is Tiger Woods from 2005-2009 was a better golfer than in earlier years when he was with Butch Harmon. The odds of being 1 standard deviation better than your mean in 4 consecutive years(2006,2007,2008, 2009) is around 80,000-1. It could be random, but I think it’s safe to say that Tiger was at least a little better golfer after switching to Haney.

In fact, I would say that from the second round of the 2006 Cialis Western Open to the Monday playoff in the 2008 US Open, Tiger Woods put together the greatest two year stretch in the history of golf. His level of dominance over deeper modern fields aided by technology is almost certainly unparalleled.

OTHER NOTES
-Never in one year was Tiger Woods not the best golfer.
-Tiger’s biggest rival was Vijay Singh from 2003-2004, who was within fractions of a shot of Tiger.
-Tiger Woods has the 9 best single seasons I have on record. After that it goes Vijay 2004, Furyk 2006, Vijay 2003.
-Mickelson does not rate noticeably better than Furyk, Vijay, Retief Goosen or Ernie Els overall, though his play in the Majors is the second best this decade to Tiger.

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