Thursday, June 15, 2006

Why Tiger Most Likely Won't Win This Week

***Updated 22 August 2006***

Last year during the PGA Championship, I decided to take some time to research a long held theory of mine, that is that Tiger Woods is a great bet to win on any par 72 major but not such a good bet to win a par 71 major and had never won a par 70 major. The numbers pretty much proved me right, so if you can find yourself one of those Tiger vs. the field bets this week, bet the ranch on the field.

According to the numbers:

1. The first thing I learned is that I forgot that the 2002 US Open at Bethpage Black was par 70 and not 71, so he has indeed won a major on a par 70 track.

2. Tiger's 12 majors break down this way: 10 wins on Par 72 (4 Masters, 2 St. Andrews, 2 Medinah, 1 Valhalla), 1 win on Par 71 (Pebble Beach), 1 Par 70 (Bethpage Black).

3. Since he turned pro there have been 15 Par 70 majors, so he is 1 for 15 (6.7%) in par 70 majors. He is 1 for 7 (14.2%) in Par 71 majors, and a remarkable 10 for 18 (55.5%) in Par 72 majors.

4. He does have 3 top 3 finishes in Par 70 majors (2nd Pinehurst 2005, 3rd Pinehurst 1999, 3rd Royal Birkdale 1998), though no other top 10s. This plus the one win puts a dent in my theory as an absolute. It would be more accurate to say that he is much less likely to win a major where the par is 70.

I know that some of you are big Tiger fans and some are haters, but since all the talk always seems to center around him being the favorite by default every time (in this case even though he has not played a tournament in TEN WEEKS and is either the favorite or 2nd fave depending on who you ask), I wanted to share this info with you so that you can engage in discussions and amaze your friends with your amount of dorky golf knowledge.

If you really want to geek out, here's the complete breakdown, which would lead to an alternate theory: If a major is played on a Par 72 course, then he is probably going to win it (these Par 72 stats are straight-up insane):

Par 70
2006 US Open T82
2005 PGA T4
2005 US Open 2nd
2004 US Open T17
2003 PGA T39
2003 US Open T20
2002 US Open Win
2001 PGA T29
2001 US Open 12
1999 US Open 3rd
1998 PGA T10
1998 British 3rd
1998 US Open 18
1997 PGA T29
1997 US Open 19

Average finish: 19th
Wins: 1 for 15
Top 5: 5 for 15
Top 10: 5 for 15
Angle: the numbers say that in a par 70 major there is no value in betting Tiger against the field unless you are getting more than 15-1 odds, since he has won 1 out of 15 of his par 70 majors. Vicey-versey for field bettors.

Par 71
2004 British T9
2003 British T4
2002 British T28
2001 British T25
2000 US Open Win
1999 British T7
1997 British T24

Average finish: 14th
Wins: 1 for 7
Top 5: 2 for 7
Top 10: 4 for 7
Angle: the numbers say that in a par 71 major there is no value in betting Tiger against the field unless you are getting more than 7-1 odds, since he has won 1 out of 7 of his par 71 majors. Vicey-versey for field bettors.

Par 72
2006 PGA Win
2006 British Win
2006 Masters T3
2005 British Win
2005 Masters Win
2004 PGA T24
2004 Masters T22
2003 Masters T15
2002 PGA 2
2002 Masters Win
2001 Masters Win
2000 PGA Win
2000 British Win
2000 Masters 5
1999 PGA Win
1999 Masters T18
1998 Masters T8
1997 Masters Win

Average finish: 6th
Wins: 10 for 18
Top 5: 12 for 18
Top 10: 13 for 18
Angle: the numbers say that in a par 72 major there is no value in betting Tiger against the field unless you are getting more than 9-5 odds, since he has won 10 out of 18 of his par 72 majors. Vicey-versey for field bettors.

So there it is.

3 comments:

Peter said...

Good call.

Kanu said...

Thanks.

As Ron Burgundy would say, "It's science."

Jimmy the Greek said...

Angle: the numbers say that in a par 72 major there is no value in betting Tiger against the field unless you are getting more than 17-9 odds, since he has won 9 out of 17 of his par 72 majors.

Not even close. If he wins more than half, why in the world would you need to get more than even money? Updating it for the most recent win, he's won 10 of 18, or 55.56%
The break even price on that would be risking 1.25 to win 1.