Tiger's Iron Play Improves And Aren't We Glad ShotLink Proves It

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In his return to PGA National, Tiger Woods opened with an even par 70 in breezy conditions with greens under criticism from players for a lack of grass (Randall Mell reports).

Bob Harig's story for ESPN.com covers what was again, mostly positive, with one rough hole mixed in along with a less-than-pretty day statistically.

In Tiger's previous two starts, he noted and observers like myself confirmed that his iron play was needing work. While the sample size is small, GolfChannel.com's Ryan Lavner noted this from the round one ShotLink data:

The more telling stat was this: His proximity to the hole (28 feet) was more than an 11-foot improvement over his first two starts this year. And also this: He was 11th among the early starters in strokes gained-tee to green, which measures a player’s all-around ball-striking. Last week, at Riviera, he ranked 121st

While a mysterious sport like golf can't always be summed up in stats, this kind of nugget is not only practical to Tiger, but to media and fans wanting to quantify progress. It's all a reminder that the PGA Tour's investment in ShotLink has often been underestimated in its magnitude, as is the tireless effort of the ShotLink crew and their volunteers each week.