It may not be surprising that the illustrious crew of Chris Berman, Roger Maltbie and Rick Rielly have failed to put any perspective into Tiger Woods(or Phil Mickelson) this week, so here’s a shot.

Tiger is playing poorly, hitting the ball all over the yard, right? Well, not necessarily. Tiger has hit 70% of the fairways this week, and is 9th in the field in greens in regulation through 2 rounds with 23. So, what his wrong with him?

As far as I’m concerned not much. But here’s the main reason:

Bad luck.

Consider two drives today. Let’s start on the second. Tiger hit a three wood, with a slightly block that hit and rolled into the fairway bunker. Sounds like yesterday, except that it rolled under the lip of a bunker and gave him absolutely no shot at the green. On the next hole Tiger hooked it right, not a good drive by any standards, but it fell into the deepest grass with an awful lie, and he had to take an unplayable. The common thread between those drives is bad luck. A few feet in a better direction and Tiger can at least hack something up near the green. That probably cost him two shots today.

And that’s not all. Think about the tee shot on 12, that Tiger hit in the bunker. Again, a bad shot, but if it goes a few feet left or right, Tiger has a chance to get the ball close. As it stood, Tiger hit a great shot to get to 20 feet.

Tiger has hit more greens than Phil, hit more fairways than Phil, but has 20 more putts. Over the long run, I don’t believe there is that much difference between the two players’ short games.

I don’t know when Tiger will turn around, but I strongly believe he is on the way to doing so. Even if he isn’t 100%, Tiger still hasn’t had a round, where you think to yourself, “Damn, he hit the ball well, made every putt, and every break.”

I think he’s starting to hit the ball well, when his luck turns around he’s going to shoot a low score.


Phil Mickelson 21.35% 368 245
Graeme McDowell 16.68% 500 535
Ernie Els 10.78% 828 630
Dustin Johnson 8.52% 1074 975
Paul Casey 7.95% 1158 1500
Ryo Ishikawa 4.37% 2188 2000
Ian Poulter 3.87% 2486 1500
Tiger Woods 3.37% 2869 2000
Jerry Kelly 2.44% 4001 5000
Alex Cejka 2.42% 4040 6000
Lee Westwood 2.17% 4513 3000
K.J. Choi 2.09% 4691 2200
Soren Kjeldsen 1.75% 5608 7000
Brendon de Jonge 1.68% 5849 11000
Tim Clark 1.56% 6325 4000

Phil Mickelson
When Phil was asked if he left any shots out there, his response was, “No. No, I mean I made a lot of putts. Sure, there were a few I could have made, but for all the ones that did go in, No I didn’t leave any out there.”

That sums it up. Phil is playing well, but he’s hasn’t played all that much better than Tiger so far. What he has done, is make more putts. Now, Phil is a very good putter, but over the long run is he really any better than Tiger. I think that answer is no.

At this stage, Phil is the most overrated player in golf. So far he’s been a good player with good fortune. I’m hoping that will turn around, but the question is what is the best way to oppose him?

Remember, you can’t deny that Phil has been a better player in Majors this decade. You can debate whether that is good luck or meaningful. I adjusted Phil up to -.87 in my rankings based on the fact I do think he is swinging the club really well right now, and that’s slightly higher than his decade long major average.

That puts Phil at +271 to win, which falls right in between what I see at 5dimes. I wouldn’t value Phil any higher than that, which means in all cases taking him to win is a terrible bet. I still think my original estimate is good for Phil, but I’m just doubtful enough considering he keeps dominating majors, that I’m laying off -280 for now. Hopefully we can get some kind of Y.E. Yang situation on Sunday.

Brendon de Jonge
Alex Cejka
Jerry Kelly
Soren Kjeldsen

If you’re looking for someone that actually has a chance at winning, Paul Casey is way undervalued compared to the rest of the “contenders.”


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