Tuesday, August 12, 2003

PGA: Another major coming up, and once again the Tiger Talk is in overdrive. He's fighting a slump. The fear factor is gone. Will he ever catch Jack? So much garbage. In any sport you have good and bad days. Tiger's good days have come in non-majors this year, but he's still tied for wins, second in the money, and highest ranked overall. Only for Tiger could a no-majors season be a slump.

The most interesting way to look at this is to glance at the stats. Tiger, as usual, doesn't dominate the board. He's not in the top ten for driving distance, driving accuracy, greens in regulation, or sand saves. He barely scrapes the top ten in putts per hole. Those categories are the mechanics of golf, after all. But Tiger still nails the intangibles, the categories that don't measure mechanics but rather outcomes. For example, he's first in overall scoring, third in birdies, and first in holes between eagles (an astounding 60.9; his closest competition is 68.7 and the top ten closes out at 90). Tiger still posts four wins for the season (tied with Love) and is second in the money. To top it off, he's only entered 12 tourneys this year -- he's winning one out of three for god's sake! (Mike Weir, who is considered pretty hot this year, has won on of five.)The only other top-ten money player with only 12 tour events for the year is Els, with two wins; to be fair, Els spends a lot more time in Europe than Tiger. Still, who the hell else ever won one of three and fought off "slump" talk?

I know nothing about course, so I'll leave it to Flyer to handicap Oak Hill and the players it favors. I don't think Tiger will win there -- it just isn't his year for majors, it seems -- but it wouldn't surprise me if he did. And you can be damn sure he'll draw low odds on book anyway.

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