6 numbers that show just how far Tiger Woods has come since last Memorial Day
Exactly one year ago the golf world woke up to the shocking news of Tiger Woods' DUI arrest after Florida police found him asleep at the wheel of his car on the side of the road in the early hours of the morning. Soon after came the startling video of Woods struggling to answer questions and complete a field sobriety test. It was a frightening look at how far the 14-time major champion had fallen in such a short period of time.
When we later found out that he had five drugs in his system to manage back pain from his latest surgery, the last thing on anyone's mind, including his, was whether he'd would be able to play golf again.
Incredibly, Woods has made a full recovery both on and off the course in less than a year. He's already eight PGA Tour events into his latest comeback, and has finished T-5 or better in two of those starts. On Monday, he began his U.S. Open prep at Shinnecock, something that was impossible to fathom after the events of last Memorial Day. Not only is he playing well, but there's been no signs of any back pain, something that plagued him on an event-by-event basis in 2014 and 2015.
To see just how far he's come, we took a look at some of the more eye-popping numbers from his comeback trail.
That is the number of spots Woods has jumped in the Official World Golf Ranking since he withdrew due to back pain from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February 2017. Then, even before his Memorial Day arrest, there was reason to believe this might be it for Woods, ending his career at a lowly 674th spot in the OWGR. Now, thanks to seven of eight cuts, five top 25s and a T-2 at the Valspar Championship, he's currently 80th in the world and climbing.
Woods' total on-course earnings between 2016 and 2017, a span in which he played just one event on the PGA Tour, missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. But it highlights just how remarkable his 2018 season has been, as Woods has made $1.4 million in just seven starts. For comparison's sake, it's taken J.J. Spaun 17 events to get to the $1.4 million mark, 14 for Kyle Stanley and 15 for Adam Hadwin.
Woods' odds to win in his next two starts, first at the Memorial and then at the U.S. Open. It's not exactly "Woods vs. the field" like it once was, but the fact he's one of the seven favorites in each tournament is not something anyone expected to happen this quickly.
Days between Woods' last two T-2 finishes on the PGA Tour, both his best in his last 31 starts. The first came at the 2013 Barclays at Liberty National, where Woods' birdie putt at the 72nd hole to force a playoff came up just short. Nearly five years later he had another birdie putt at the 72nd hole at Innisbrook to force a playoff, this time coming up woefully short. He's still searching for that elusive 80th PGA Tour win, the last of which came 21 days before that 2013 Barclays at the WGC-Bridgestone, where Woods famously carded a second-round 61, his career-low round.
Where Woods currently ranks on tour in strokes-gained/around the green, a far cry from claims of him having the chipping yips, which were legitimate after watching him at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open. It's also a stat he ranked outside the top 30 in each of his last two full years on tour in 2012 and 2013.
The ratings increase for the final round of the 2018 Valspar Championship compared to the 2017 tournament. For some reason, Adam Hadwin's one-stroke win didn't quite move the needle like Woods' entertaining runner-up finish.