Golf Asia



Everyone knows that Tiger Woods has had a huge impact on the game of golf.

I conducted a study that aimed to quantify one part of that impact, specifical­ly the spill over effects of his success on the tournament prize winnings of his colleagues on the PGA. Fortunatel­y, the PGA Tour provides a wealth of data, readily accessible which allows for such an analysis.

Any analysis of course requires some starting assumption­s.

I looked at how much total PGA Tour prize money had increased in the years before Tiger joined the Tour, and the years after. From 1990 to 1996 the total purses on the PGA Tour increased from $82 million to $101 million – about 3.4% per year. By 2008 purses totalled $292 million, an increase of 9.3% per year since Tiger joined the Tour. This difference can be called the ‘Tiger Woods Effect’.

To calculate how much individual golfers benefited from this effect, I looked at the golfers who took home a paycheck in 2013

and calculated how much extra money they took home versus a scenario in which the rate of prize money increased as it had before Tiger showed up.

Other assumption­s could be used, but no matter how you do the analysis, the Tiger Effect was huge, and by huge I mean overall much more than $1.5 billion. About 50 cents of every dollar won on the Tour from 1997 to 2008 can be attributed to the Tiger Woods Effect.

The two players who’ve benefited most are Phil and Vijay.

Vijay Singh benefited just a little bit more than Phil – $36m to $29m. They are the top two and then there’s a bit of a drop to Jim Furyk at number three (see below).

The Tiger Woods Effect seems to have had its day, regardless of Tiger’s future plans.

Since 2009 total prize money on the PGA Tour has actually decreased. Back in the 1960s golfers used to say that they owed 50 cents of every dollar won to Arnold Palmer – a remarkably similar amount to what I calculate here. So if history is any indication, there is likely to be another superstar at some point. That said, I’m not sure we’ll ever see another Tiger Woods.

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