Congratulations to Tiger Woods, who captured his second win in 2013 and 76th career title on the PGA Tour. Oh, and we’re back with By the Numbers after a temporary hiatus due to the pesky real world intruding. On the way to his victory at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Tiger obviously put up some impressive numbers, but we’re going to try look at several that you (probably) haven’t heard repeated ad nauseum (100 putts total), as well as a glance at a few other players.
- Yes, Tiger putted well last week (thanks to Steve Stricker), and finished second in strokes gained putting at Doral, but his overall play was very solid, particularly his iron play. He finished in the top 10 (T7) in greens in regulation (GIR), and fourth in proximity to the hole. So, not only was he making a lot of putts, but the putts were often for birdie, and makeable birdie putts at that.
- While Tiger and his cumulative stats have been inconsistent this year (two wins, but also the 37th at the Honda Classic, ousted in the first round of the Match Play) (warning, extremely small sample size!), bear this out. He is currently ranked 68th in GIR and 97th in scrambling (although he has not played the easiest courses — again, warning: sample size). To compare, last year he ranked 32nd in GIR and fourth in scrambling. If Tiger is to have the year he wants, and we expect, those numbers have to improve. On the upside, he is leading the Tour in scoring average, and has made marked improvement in his wedge play, going from 83rd in 2012 to 22nd on approaches from 50-125 yards so far in 2013.
- Looking at the WGC-Cadillac Championship leaderboard, hitting greens in regulation was crucial. Of the players who placed in the top 10 (11 total), only one – Peter Hanson – finished outside of the top 15 in GIR. After a poor start to the week, Rory McIlroy ended up sixth in GIR, carrying him to his first top-ten of the year.
- Phil Mickelson obviously didn’t win, but along with Graeme McDowell, his play might have been the most impressive — until he reached the green. Phil was tied for second in greens in regulation and sixth in approach shot proximity to the hole. Unfortunately (for him), he was 42nd in strokes gained putting.
- Tiger’s new putting guru (not really — the two have helped each other for years) Steve Stricker continued his resurgence in semi-retirement. After a poor finish to last year, Stricker, the part-time golfer (who has played more rounds this year than Rory), finished second, two shots behind Woods, for his third top-five in merely three starts this year. He led the field in strokes gained putting at the Cadillac Championship. And if he had played enough rounds to qualify, his 1.301 average strokes gained putting per round would lead the Tour (note: really small sample size).
And there you have it! — the WGC-Cadillac Championship by the numbers.
(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)