Sometimes It’s Better To Be Lucky

By Peter Aviles
Updated: August 30, 2006

“I guess I was very lucky to even be in a playoff.”

– Tiger Woods

NEW JERSEY — No truer words were spoken as Tiger managed to win the World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational in one of the more bizarre tournaments in recent memory.

Rewind back to Friday when his nine-iron hit the roof of the clubhouse and fell to the opposite side into the loading dock. The ball was retrieved from a gentleman. After much discussion and consternation, Tiger got a yardage ruling that led to a bogey on the hole.

The ruling for him was fortunate, because a different ruling could have had severe consequences. When asked “Do you feel incredibly fortunate?” Tiger responded “Yeah, because if I would have had to re-drop and play where I played my second shot from, it would have been a tough six, really. So it was a break to make a five and get out of there with a five.”

After a brilliant second round, (shooting 64 for the round), Tiger had two (for him) sub par (no pun intended) rounds of golf. I’m just happy to come out on top because I didn’t really have any game today and I was just trying to hang around with my putter, and I did that today on the back nine…All in all, I was very lucky.”

With that statement, Tiger left no doubt about his play the last two days of the tournament. Had it not been for Stewart Cink missing a short eight foot putt on the third playoff hole that allowed play to continue, the storyline would be very different.

On the 10th anniversary of his announcing that he was turning professional, it might be generous to say he had his “B’ game as he went from two strokes down to three ahead before finishing regulation play in a tie forcing a playoff.

Numerologists can have a field day with the statistics from the tournament. One number that stands out is four, as in the number of consecutive victories; the number of playoff holes; the number of consecutive bogeys on Saturday; (holes five to eight), and, the number of consecutive birdies (holes 10 through 13).

What was also interesting was his driving accuracy, driving distance and greens-in-regulation (gir) statistics. On Thursday, driving accuracy was at 71% with distance at 343.5 and gir stats at 78 percent. On Friday, when he shot a 64, his driving accuracy dropped to 57%, while distance increased to 357.5, and gir increased to 83%.

Saturday and Sunday saw driving accuracy drop to 50% each day and distance drop to 334 on Saturday and 297 on Sunday which explains why he continuously had longer shots to the green. Greens-in-regulation drop to a paltry 39% before he recovered somewhat on Sunday to hitting 72 % of the greens.

To use a well used cliché, in the final analysis, the “W” is all that matters. After a quick trip to Ireland to bond with other American golfers in preparation for the Ryder Cup competition, it is back to the USA for the Deutsche Bank Championships.

Where, when all is set and done, Tiger will gladly accept the win, even if it means that sometimes it’s better to be lucky.