Saturday, September 23, 2006

Europe Leads 2006 Ryder Cup as USA Stumbles

Tim Dahlberg, AP Sports Columnist, in his
September 23, 2006 Yahoo! Sports article
Lehman stays pat with his team, but at what price?
hits the nail right on the head in identifying some of the problems that plague the US Ryder Cup team, which trails 10-6 going into the singles matches.

European retention of the Ryder Cup appears imminent.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tiger Woods is Getting Better

Mike Vitti, PGATOUR.com ShotLink Analyst, has compared Tiger Woods' current win streak of five tournaments with his win streak of six tournaments in 1999-2000 and the results are not encouraging to his professional competitors.

The comparison of the two win streaks shows clearly that Woods has improved in nearly every category of comparison except for driving accuracy and greens in regulation.

The reduced driving accuracy of about 9% (i.e. about one drive in 10) has to be counterbalanced against the increased average distance of Woods' drives of 25 yards - an amazing number for someone who always was a big hitter to begin with.

The statistics for greens in regulation can be misleading since pin placements are often near the edge of greens, so that if you are going for the flag, you are more likely to also leave balls on the fringe - but closer to the hole - than if you merely play for the middle of the green, where you may hit the green in regulation, but where birdies may be less likely due to the long putts that have to be made from positions more easily reachable by approach shots.

The truly impressive figures are the percentages for par breakers and for bogeys or worse. Woods has increased his par breakers to 30% (5.4 every 18 holes) and has reduced his bogey or worse percentage to a mere 7.5% (1.35 bogeys or worse per round). Obviously, Woods is getting better at playing more error-free golf while at the same time increasing his under par percentage.

It looks like the competition will have to get to work to try to keep up with Tiger. The face of golf has changed and it is demanding more perfection and accuracy than ever before. Professional golf has become a sport for craftsmen.

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