A BRIEF LOOK AT TIGER IN 2000

Here are the top-10 seasons from 2000 (PGA Tour only):

Player

Average

Rounds

Tiger Woods

-1.386

72

Phil Mickelson

-0.822

76

Ernie Els

-0.797

64

David Duval

-0.750

59

Nick Price

-0.664

58

Paul Azinger

-0.651

72

Steve Flesch

-0.632

113

Tom Lehman

-0.613

69

Davis Love III

-0.594

88

Vijay Singh

-0.557

84

 

That seems to be pretty obviously Tiger’s best season ever, although it’s worth noting that the PGA Tour average in 2000 might not be as good as it was in 2006-2008 when Tiger was comparable.

That raises the question is it more impressive to average -1.386 over 72 rounds or -1.25 over 150 like he did from 2006 through 2008 (It would be higher if you cut 2006 in half, but I didn’t feel like doing that).

It’s turns out that using his 2000-2009 average, 2000 is about a 1 in 100 season, and 2006-2008 is about 1 in 20 seasons. If you take from the 2006 Western Open to 2008 US Open, they are probably about equal stretches of golf, all else equal.

As far as the strength of field issues, I’m not really sure how to quickly look at that. If you judge by players who played over 40 rounds in both 2000 and 2007, their average drops about -.1 from 2000 to 2007. Obviously, being seven years older is probably a big factor for many of those players.

Another way might be too look at the breakdown by score relative to average, since my theory is that an increase in the number tour average player makes it harder to separate yourself from the field.

Here’s that comparison among players with 40+ rounds in each season:

So this is basically what percentage of players who are a certain level better than average. At the top, it’s slightly less great players in 2007 (less than -.7 standard deviations), while there appear to be more players who are better than average. Seems to be in line with my theory, but I have no idea how much harder that made it for 2007 Tiger, or if this quick comparison is even meaningful.

I don’t know, It was pretty incredible watching what Tiger did in the 2000 US and British Opens, but following more closely from 2006-2008, I’d still lean to the incredible level of play and consistency over a longer stretch of time. I can see the argument for both, though.

 

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