Statistics Show That A Tiger Woods Intimidation Factor DOES Exist

There’s been lots of controversy lately over whether a Tiger Woods Intimidation Factor does in fact exist. Hank Haney insists it doesn’t. Others say that they see it. Everyone has an example. But examples are subjective.

What do statistics tell us? Two different statistical studies have shown that there is, in fact, a Tiger Woods Factor. Here are the study abstracts:

Dominance, Intimidation, and ‘Choking’ on the PGA Tour shows that players paired with Woods from 1998 – 2001 scored 0.462 strokes per round worse than normal.

Quitters Never Win: The (Adverse) Incentive Effects of Competing with Superstars found that payers are 0.2 strokes per round worse when Tiger Woods participates relative to when Woods is absence. Further “There is no evidence that reduced performance is attributable to media attention intensity or risky strategy adoption.”

The question is how much a .8 or a 1.2 strokes per round difference makes. Another study shows that when Tiger wins, he does so by scoring 0.71 strokes per round less than other winning players:

When Tiger wins, the mean of his neutral winning scores is 0.71 strokes lower than that o fother winning players, a diff erence that is statistically signifi cant at the 0.001 level. This can be interpreted two ways. First, Tiger might simply play better when he wins compared with others who win. Alternatively, or perhaps in addition to playing better when winning, Tiger may choose to play in tournaments that are more diffcult to win in terms of their strength and depth of fields



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3 thoughts on “Statistics Show That A Tiger Woods Intimidation Factor DOES Exist”

  1. “There’s been lots of controversy lately over whether a Tiger Woods Intimidation Factor does in fact exist.” Does in fact exist or did in fact exist? Sure between 1998 – 2001 players probably scored much worse when matched with Tiger than they would have had they not been paired with him. That was more than a decade ago. I imagine it would be fairly intimidating for a duffer like me to play with anyone on the PGA. Don’t get me wrong, Tiger is going to fix whatever ails him, but I don’t think too many professionals are at present particularly intimidated by a man who has shown himself to be very human.

  2. Okay, I know it’s a cheap shot but you have got to realize if you are a pro that when Tiger puts on his pants, and occasionally he does, he does so one leg at a time, like everyone else. Okay. I will put myself in time out. smile

  3. Martin, I think you’re right on this one. I’ve written many times on this blog that Tiger’s Mojo was shattered when YE Yang beat him at the 2009 PGA.

    Up to that point, I think the Tiger factor did in fact exist to some degree. After that, everyone saw that he was beatable … and in the post-fire-hydrant world, players no longer routinely melt down when he is in the hunt.


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