Tiger Woods’ 2018 has been a success on the golf course, no matter how you look at it. For somebody who had no idea whether he would even be able to play golf again at this level, leading a major championship late on a Sunday as he did at The Open Championship is a big deal. Despite the fact that Woods isn’t close to as good as his former self (even his 2013 self), he’s taken major strides toward becoming whatever it is he’s going to be as a 40-something on the PGA Tour.
Woods has two regular season starts remaining over the next two weeks — the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship — before the FedEx Cup Playoffs and Ryder Cup in Paris. As we enter that stretch run, here are five stats I dug up on Woods that may surprise you regarding how good his season has been thus far.
.24 — For all the talk of his blade putter vs. his Scotty Cameron, Woods is still gaining a quarter of a stroke per round on the field with his putting. It hasn’t felt like it at times, especially in the middle of the year, but if you look at both the beginning of his season and the last few events, he’s been mostly positive.
3 — Since the end of 2007, Woods has played just three seasons in which he’s had more top 25s than he’s had so far this season (eight). He had more in 2009, 2012 and 2013 when he won a combined 14 times. It’s true that top 25s aren’t the greatest barometer for probably the best player of all time, but they’re nothing when that same player is entering his mid-40s and coming off of four back surgeries.
0 — This is the number of players ranked ahead of Woods in strokes gained overall — Woods is currently No. 6 — without wins on the PGA Tour this year. The five ahead of Woods — Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Paul Casey, Justin Rose and Jason Day — have combined to win 10 times. That’s the kind of company Woods is keeping.
.7 — The difference in scoring average per round between Woods’ five-win 2013 season (68.9 scoring average) and this one (69.6 scoring average). Woods is currently No. 10 (!) on the PGA Tour in scoring. Tiger Woods!
8 — Tiger is ranked No. 8 in the Sagarin rankings, which essentially measure how many golfers you’ve “beaten” (or finished ahead of) at various events all over the world (shout out to No Laying Up for pointing this out). Whereas the OWGR rankings- — where Woods is No. 50 — take into account the last two years of competition, the Sagarins only look at the last 52 weeks. Woods has a “record” of 448-231-21 against the top 100 golfers in the world over the last year and ranks ahead of Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler.