One constant theme of pga players is the refrain “We need Tiger back”. Now that does not mean they particularly like having him around or they want him to return to his kick-their-asses form. No. It’s the money
The graph below shows the winners cheque and year on year % change for the Arnold Palmer Invitational (though any tournament would show the same general pattern)
As can be seen, after relatively modest increases in the early 90′s, prize money started exploding from 1997 onwards – Tigers first full professional season- such that the top cheque more than quadrupled by 2004.
The subsequent six seasons have only seen a 20% growth, however with the change predating Tigers woes and even the economy travails. It seems that whatever Tiger effect there has been is probably over and the professionals must rely on the fact that there are only a limited number of sponsorships available every year and resistance to reducing prize money to maintain their living standards
As you may know, I am planning to create a web site with a coverage not otherwise available
One aspect will be a preview for each week’s tournament and as a taster shown below is a table that will be a regular feature – The Front Nine. This shows the leading performers in the tournament over its history
The Arnold Palmer Invitational has been known under several names, principally the Bay Hill, since its inauguration in the mid 1960′s. The data available is from 1970-2010
Select categories from the combobox as required
This is another of Tiger Woods favourite events at which he will hope to show better form over all four rounds. His historical rival, Jack Nicklaus, played it somewhat sparingly and never won. His best chance was in 1982 when – in spite of besting playing partner, Ray Floyd, by a stroke – a final round 75 allowed Tom Kite to come from 6 back to force a playoff and win over Jack and Larry Walker
Happily, Arnold Palmer does have a victory to his name over this time period, exactly 40 years ago, with a close struggle with Julius Boros throughout the tournament seeing him prevail by a single stroke
It is a given in baseball that the team which gets the best player in a trade wins the deal. Now, Liverpool have not exactly traded Torres for Carroll and Suarez but the salaries are compatible and as only attacking players are involved, ongoing assessment via goal and assists contributed will undoubtedly occur
There is no doubt who has struck first. Carroll has only just returned from injury but Suarez has already notched two goals and three assists in his first five games. Meanwhile, rather than respond positively to his new surroundings, Torres has continued in the poor vein of form he has shown since the World Cup. Although older, Drogba and Anelka are likely to restrict his time on the pitch unless he starts scoring again
The table below shows that his current six game stretch equals the worst of his English career (appearances include substitutions and been taken off in 4 of these matches) and the two five match droughts were also this season. The only other six game spell included three matches where he was a late substitute and he did score 7 goals in four games either side of that run.
Otherwise, his consistency – particularly as he does not take penalties – had been amazing and Chelsea will obviously be hopeful that he can recapture that form as swiftly as possible
Other players – listed in goalscoring aggregate – can be selected from the combobox
As often is the case, I get piqued by an article or stray comment, start investigating it and then get led astray
The whole “Is Tiger finished” argument is one of them. There have been many discussions around this covering his age, level of competition, possible use of enhancers and how once he gets his swing back his dominance will return.
In later sections of this series of blogs I plan to bring a ‘more objective’ approach on whether the quest for the remaining 5 majors he needs to exceed Jack Nicklaus’s record 18 is realistic. However, it should not be forgotten that for one reason or another he has not won any of the last 10 majors. Padraig Harrington has won two over this span but I have yet to hear anyone suggesting he is going to win 5 more
One of the most famous Tiger stats was that he was 14-0 when going into the final round of a major with at least a share of the lead - until YE Yang topped him in the 2009 PGA. The corollary is that in the other 36 events where did not have the lead he could not produce a come from behind victory
So who could?
Here is a graph of the players who have done so in the Tiger era 1997-2009 (no 2010 data yet -I just can’t get the staff!). In addition to the aforementioned 14 wins by Tiger, there have been another 19 occurrences where the leader or joint leaders have held on. All three Vijay wins fall into that category whilst Phil Mickleson’s first trio were likewise a case of maintaining a third round advantage
Click on the graph data-points for further details (currently does not work with multiple occurrences)
The outlier, of course, is the notorious Jean van de Valde meltdown at Carnoustie, 1999 where a double-bogey at the last would have ensured his name on the Claret Jug. It was the perfect storm for winner Paul Lawrie as he posted a 67 the joint best score of the tournament and an average seven strokes better than the 13 players ahead of him as the final round began. Click on the plot point to see some of the famous names who could not match him that day, including 8 major winners
Following Tottenham’s recent reverse at Blackpool, I was contacted by either a disgruntled Spurs or gloating Arsenal fan asking whether they had the worst record against promoted clubs in Premier League history
I have yet to address this particular query but it did raise the question of how promoted clubs have done over the years and whether this years crop were amongst the best ever. They may well be the most surprising as Blackpool were prohibitive favourites to go down and most experts had West Brom going down. As I write, they – along with Newcastle – are outside the bottom three but definitely flirting with the drop
The table below shows the previous years as well. Click on headers to sort
The theory about the growth in disparity is generally confirmed in that allof trhe most successful promoted in the first half of premier league history although none have matched Brian Cloughs 1997/8 team which were champions a year after finishing third in the old division 2
Newcastle benefitted from the goals Andy Cole and peter Beardsley and proved o be the second team to Man Utd in the mid 90′s. However, Nottingham Forest matched them the year following with Stan Collymore at the peak of his powers and the prompting of Brian Roy. But the former was sold to Liverpool and the dutchman never repeatred as forset were soon out of the Premiership – yet to return
Rounding out the top are the Blackburn side of the inaugural Premier League. They boasted the biggest outlay that season on players such as Shearer, Le Saux, Gallacher and Ripley and with the subsequent purchases of Batty, Flowers and Sutton were champions two years later
Probably the most surprising of all were the Ipswich team of 2000/1. They benefitted from Marcus Stewarts career year in which he scored 19 of his 26 all-time goals in Premiership and only three teams shut them out all year . At the back youngsters Richard Wright in goal and Titus Bramble showed promise that they never fulfilled. Five points more and they would have finished second but they were relegated in last place the following year
Its almost a certainty that at least one promoted club will be back in Division 1 at the first opportunity. In only one season, 2001/2, have all three clubs survived whilst the year before,Bolton, Barnsley and Crystal Palace all returned from whence they came. So this year could prove one for the history books even though none of the teams can be considered an elite Premiership club