Tiger’s back! Wait, we knew that already. Should substantially be some-more specific:
Tiger Woods is behind in a U.S. Open! The 14-time vital champ strictly committed to a 2018 inhabitant championship this week, that will be usually his second start in a eventuality given 2013.
Tiger’s usually done one cut during that time, so anticipating he’ll make it to a weekend would be a reasonable idea for most. But we all know there’s usually one approach Tiger’s wired: He wants to win.
He stands a chance, of course, yet before going all-in, you’d be correct to reason off for a bit and keep your eye on a pivotal stat streamer into a year’s second vital …
First, a word on 2018’s horde course: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, a brutally formidable exam where Tiger hasn’t faired good in a past. You competence remember as an pledge in 1995, Woods had to repel due to a wrist injury. In 2004, he finished T-17, important by many standards solely yet not indispensably by a man on his approach to winning 14 majors.
Based on past contests, no players unequivocally flower during Shinnecock, yet dual opposite kinds survive: Short and unequivocally straight, a likes of Corey Pavin (the 1995 winner), Fred Funk and Tim Clark, who all finished inside a tip 10 in 2004; and a prohibited brief game/good ball-striker types. Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson were runners-up in 1995 and 2004, respectively, while Retief Goosen’s implausible Sunday putting arrangement won him a prize in 2004.
Tiger’s Key Stat
All of that brings us all behind to Woods.
The representation stretch of stats from Tiger’s quip is still small, yet it’s vast adequate for us to start sketch some insights. In short, stretch isn’t a problem (far from it), yet correctness many unequivocally is. So distant this deteriorate Tiger ranks 40th in pushing stretch and implausible fourth in pitch speed, yet languishes 202nd in Driving Accuracy.
The unequivocally large issue, looking forward, is that after medium improvements early in a season, Tiger’s correctness seems to have plateaued some-more recently. A few some-more tournaments like this, and it might be substantiating itself as a baseline.
So distant in 2018, this debility hasn’t harm Tiger as most as it might’ve—or maybe should’ve. His report has been cramped to courses he’s mostly informed with, and his good iron play (he’s 15th in strokes gained/approach) has helped poultice his inaccuracy. It’s a trend that reason loyal during a Masters: Despite attack 12 percent reduction fairways than a field, he averaged 6 percent some-more greens in regulation.
Tiger can appreciate a PGA Tour and Augusta National’s forgiving severe for that. But as a severe on debate becomes some-more penal—especially during a U.S. Open during Shinnecock Hills—he won’t be means to keep papering over this large moment in his game. He simply can’t keep blank this many fairways any design to contest in June, even if a USGA is formulation on personification a march with wider fairways than in prior visits to Southampton, N.Y.
Watch this stat closely over a subsequent dual months—it could reason a pivotal to Tiger’s chances.