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Tiger Woods: the season so far

by Matt Cooper
Updated On: April 24, 2020, 5:03 pm ET

Age: 44

 

World ranking (current/end of year)

Current: 3rd
2019: 12th
2018: 16th
2017: 656th
2016: 652nd

 

Current 2020 Stats

FedEx Cup Rank: 28th
Events: 3
Wins: 1
Top 10: 2
Top 25: 2
Made Cut: 3
Money: $1,956,312

 

Strokes Gained

Off-The-Tee: 143rd (2019: 113th, 2018: 100th, 2017: 191st)
Approach: 17th (2019: 10th, 2018: 3rd, 2017: 191st)
Around The Green: 122nd (2019: 45th, 2018: 11th, 2017: 14th)
Putting: 228th (2019: 74th, 2018: 48th, 2017: 1st)
Tee-To-Green: 49th (2019: 2nd, 2018: 8th, 2017: 191st)
Total: 179th (2019: 14th, 2018: 5th, 2017: 189th)

 

Analysis

Woods could hardly have started the 2019-20 season better than by winning the Zozo Championship and in some style, too. How long ago that now seems! He backed it up with a fine performance in the Presidents Cup, added T9 in the Farmers Insurance Open, but T68 in the Genesis Invitational was a bit of a disappointment. His SG stats are a little deceptive. To begin with, his Zozo Championship win lacks any numbers so skews this year’s tallies. He also played too few events in 2017, 2019 and this year to be ranked. However, in those three years, we have taken his numbers and looked to see where that would have placed him. Even taken with a pinch of salt it represents something of a worry for his short game, but shows his Approach numbers are impacting on his improved form over the last two years.

Grade so far: B+

 

2020 quotes

Farmers Insurance Open (on his game): “I feel like I ended the year on a good note and I felt like my game really didn't need a whole lot of dusting.”

Genesis Invitational (on what causes him physical problems in his swing): “Bending, twisting, turning, moving. Other than that, I'm all good.

Genesis Invitational (on his career): “That's the fun part of trying to figure this whole comeback. How much do I play, when do I play, do I listen to the body or do I fight through it? There are some things I can push and some things I can't.”

 

THE MAJORS (most recent results on the left)

The Masters: 1-32-17-4-40-4-4-6-2-2-3-1-22-15-1-1-5-18-8-1-MC

A grand total of 13 top six finishes in 21 visits, five of them earning him green jackets. The first was iconic in one sense and his most recent in another. Everything in-between was remarkable for many different reasons. We know that he loves the course, he likes the approach shots, he can cope with the misses from the tee, and that he possesses imagination and execution around and on the greens. Big question this year: Will the course playing a little longer in November impact on his chances? Side note: He hasn’t been in the top five after 18 holes since his first defense in 1998.

PGA Championship: MC-2-MC-MC-40-11-MC-28-2-1-1-4-24-39-2-29-1-1-10-29

In his first 13 tournament starts he didn’t miss a cut, 12 times made the top 30 and won four times. Notably in that stretch, however, was when YE Yang overcame Woods’ third round lead – the only man to achieve that against him in a major. He was second in 2018, but that came amid three missed cuts.

U.S. Open: 21-MC-MC-32-21-4-6-1-2-MC-2-17-20-1-12-1-3-18-19-82

At his height, Woods was typically excellent when faced by this test. From 1997 to 2010 he played 14 times and only once didn’t make the top 20. In that spell, he won three times, once by a huge margin and once on a broken leg. When tied for the halfway lead in 2012 he looked set to continue his form, but then it all went wrong. His next 13 rounds in the event would fail to reap one sub-70 score, a run he broke in the final round last year. He’s followed that great run, therefore, with five failures to break the top 20.

Open Championship: MC-6-MC-69-6-3-23-MC-12-1-1-9-4-28-25-1-7-3-24-22

Carnoustie 2018 was when it became clear that Woods might have it in him to win a 15th major. He started the week with a glint in his eye, enjoying being reacquainted with links golf in hot sun, and ended it very nearly winning. At his best, the links challenge is perfect for him. He enjoys the cerebral examination and the requirement for imagination. Surely the greatest factor in his Open future is the weather. A bad back needs warmth and if he doesn’t get it, beware. In all? 15 major wins. Only Nicklaus has more.