This is always one of the great debates in the difference between amateurs and tour pros. On the one hand we like to estimate what a 10-handicapper might score around Augusta, then we get this one where we try to guess what a tour pro’s handicap might be?
Stats guru Lou Stagner has done the ultimate and revealed what Tiger Woods’ handicap would have been throughout his career. The headline stat is that Tiger’s best year, handicap wise, was in 2008 when his handicap index would have been a ridiculous +9.4. That figure is even more impressive given that it doesn’t take into account tour conditions which would take the number to between +11 and +12.
Of course 2008 was the year that Tiger won the US Open on one leg, he also won in Dubai, the Buick, the Match Play and the Arnold Palmer as well as finishing second at Augusta and a miserable 5th at a WGC event. After Torrey Pines he had to undergo surgery to cut short what would likely have been one of the most incredible seasons in PGA Tour history.
As for some of the other stand-out years – Woods, it should be noted, has won 82 times on the PGA Tour – he had a best handicap index of 8.6 in 2000, the year of those three major wins and part of nine in total. The worst that he was for that year was +6.4 which was tied second behind that 2008 season.
Almost as impressive, and maybe a better demonstration of the huge gulf between the tour pros and us mere mortals, is that his worst handicap index over the whole of 1996-2020 was +3.5 in 2015, which, again, doesn’t take into account tour conditions.
Hopefully we’ll get to see Tiger before the end of the year – this year we’ve seen him make the cut at The Masters, play three rounds of the PGA and then sign off before the weekend at St Andrews.