Handicap Indeces of the Pros

David Mosher over at The Sand Trap recently posted a very interesting article about the handicap index ratings of the pros. Check out the full article here, but here is a summary of what was written.

Normally we apply a 0.96 multiplier to a person’s average differential in calculating handicaps. This is to help figure in the “potential” of a player. A golfer with an un-adjusted handicap index of 5 becomes a 4.8 index after the 0.96 multiplier is applied. It would make little sense, however, to take a plus-5 handicap to +4.8, so we must instead divide by 0.96. That would make a +5 golfer a +5.2 golfer, again figuring in the “potential.”

At the Top: Tiger Woods
What does it take to be the top golfer in the world? I did a lot of number crunching and came up with this chart and these shocking figures:

Used |   Date   | Score | CR/Slope | Diff. | Tournament
----     ----     -----   --------   -----   ----------
  *  | 01/28/07 |   66  | 78.1/143 |  15.3 | Buick Invitational
  *  | 01/27/07 |   69  | 78.1/143 |  11.5 | Buick Invitational
     | 01/26/07 |   72  | 78.1/143 |   7.7 | Buick Invitational
     | 01/27/07 |   66  | 78.1/143 |   8.3 | Buick Invitational
  *  | 09/04/06 |   63  | 74.8/143 |  14.9 | Deutsche Bank
  *  | 09/03/06 |   67  | 74.8/143 |   9.9 | Deutsche Bank
     | 09/02/06 |   72  | 74.8/143 |   3.5 | Deutsche Bank
  *  | 09/01/06 |   66  | 74.8/143 |  11.1 | Deutsche Bank
     | 08/27/06 |   68  | 75.1/128 |   8.0 | WGC - Bridgestone Inv.
     | 08/26/06 |   71  | 75.1/128 |   4.6 | WGC - Bridgestone Inv.
  *  | 08/25/06 |   64  | 75.1/128 |  12.6 | WGC - Bridgestone Inv.
     | 08/24/06 |   67  | 75.1/128 |   9.2 | WGC - Bridgestone Inv.
  *  | 08/20/06 |   68  | 78.1/151 |  13.5 | PGA Championship
  *  | 08/19/06 |   65  | 78.1/151 |  17.5 | PGA Championship
  *  | 08/18/06 |   68  | 78.1/151 |  13.5 | PGA Championship
  *  | 08/17/06 |   69  | 78.1/151 |  12.2 | PGA Championship
     | 08/06/06 |   66  | 74.3/133 |   9.8 | Buick Open
     | 08/05/06 |   66  | 74.3/133 |   9.8 | Buick Open
     | 08/04/06 |   66  | 74.3/133 |   9.8 | Buick Open
     | 08/03/06 |   66  | 74.3/133 |   9.8 | Buick Open
----   --------   -----   --------   -----   ----------
Average Differential: 10.6
Best 10 Average Differential: 13.2
Handicap Index: +13.75

Now, take a deep breath and read that again. +13.75. Tiger’s worst ten differentials average out to +8.05.

Something like 10% of golfers ever reach single digit handicaps. Tiger’s not only done that (while still in the womb, no doubt), but he’s blown through the single digits on the other side of scratch and is in heretofore unexplored territory at +13.75. That may be the single best handicap index ever!

+13.75! That number just absolutely blows me away. David did some great research and reporting of a handful of PGA players, so head on over and check out his article.

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