The most common question caddie Steve Williams hears about his boss, Tiger Woods, is "How come Tiger misses so many fairways?"
Well, the truth is he doesn’t.
Williams, who got an
unscheduled vacation this summer when Woods had knee surgery, told New
Zealand newspaper The Dominion Post that the PGA Tour’s stats — which
say Woods hits just 59 percent of fairways (157th on Tour) — don’t tell
the true story of Woods’s driving accuracy. Williams keeps his own
handwritten notes on every swing Woods makes, and his stats show Woods
hitting about 65 percent of fairways. "For example, most of the courses we play will have a couple of
driveable par 4s for Tiger. He might hit it in the greenside bunker,
but it’s a great shot, or he might hit a great tee shot that doesn’t
end up on the fairway and people think it’s a missed fairway."
Similarly, Woods might cut a sharp dog-leg with his driver on a par
5 or long par 4. It won’t end up on the fairway, but might give him an
easier shot to the green. The PGA might record a missed fairway, "but in my book it’s a hit,"
said Williams. "Just like if he misses a green by two inches, but he
knows he hit a great shot, so we count it as a green hit. While the PGA
stats are accurate, it’s not necessarily what we look at." The most interesting stat Williams shares isn’t about driving, but three-putting.
According to Williams, if Woods avoids three-putting for an entire
72-hole tournament, he’ll win that tournament 90 percent of the time.