Scottie Scheffler vs. Tiger Woods by the numbers: It’s closer than you think

All day Sunday, Scottie Scheffler had that killer instinct in him.

Scheffler was a man on a mission, someone who wanted to win for the second straight week and, in this case, for the second straight year at The Players.

He also looked like Tiger Woods in his prime. He chased down another trophy with a disciplined, yet systematic style of play while others behind him caved under pressure.

“Anytime you can be compared to Tiger, I think, is really special, but the guy stands alone in our game,” Scheffler said after his victory at TPC Sawgrass. “He really does.”

Sunday evening was not the first time the 2022 Masters champion received a comparison to Woods.

“I’m not going to remember the exact numbers, but, we’re playing at Riviera this year, and I hit my tee ball, and this guy yells out, ‘Congrats on being number one Scottie. Eleven more years to go,’” Scheffler reminisced.

Scottie Scheffler, PGA Tour, The Players Championship

Scottie Scheffler poses with The Players trophy after his win.
Photo by James Gilbert/PGA Tour via Getty Images

“This is my eighth tournament win now out here. I’ve tied him in Players Championships. Outside of that, I’ve got 14 more majors and 70-some PGA TOUR events to catch up. So I think I’m going to stick to my routine and continue to plot along, try and stay as even-keeled as I can.”

The reference to “11 more years” relates to Scheffler’s ascendance to the top-ranked player in the world. He has held that esteemed position for 74 weeks thus far in his career, which equates to roughly 18 months.

Woods, meanwhile, was ranked number one in the world for 683 weeks, or about 13 years and one month.

So, in reality, Scheffler will need to hold that top-ranked spot for a little less than 11 years.

But as Scheffler pointed out himself, he has a long way to go to come close to— let alone match— Woods’ resume.

Still, the comparisons between Woods and Scheffler certainly carry some weight.

Scottie Scheffler vs. Tiger Woods By The Numbers

The strokes gained metrics speak for themselves.

During the 2022-23 PGA Tour season, Scheffler averaged 2.614 strokes gained tee-to-green, which ranked second all-time behind Woods’ 2006 season (2.982).

(Worth noting: strokes gained began in 2003, or else Woods’ 2000 season would rank even higher than his 2006 campaign.)

Scottie Scheffler, PGA Tour, The Players Championship

Scottie Scheffler on the 14th hole during the final round of the 2024 Players Championship.
Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

This year, of the 22 rounds Scheffler has played on the PGA Tour, he has averaged 2.83 strokes gained tee-to-green.

He has been better so far this year, which is quite the compliment, considering how well he played a season ago.

Consider this: in 2023, Scheffler played in 23 events on the PGA Tour. He finished in the top five 13 times, including a tie for second at the PGA Championship and a solo third at the U.S. Open.

If he is not winning, he is right there, as was the case with Woods so many times. Scheffler also never came close to missing the cut a season ago, similar to Woods at the peak of his powers.

The same can be said about this season.

Scheffler’s worst performance so far in 2024 came at The American Express—an absolute birdie barrage played across three courses. That event saw an amateur win for the first time since 1991, while Scheffler finished at 21-under and tied for 17th.

Since then, Scheffler tied for 6th at Pebble Beach, finished three strokes out of a playoff in Phoenix, tied for 10th at Riviera, and then won back-to-back at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and TPC Sawgrass.

Sounds pretty Tiger-esque, right?

Tiger Woods, The Players Championship

Tiger Woods during the 2006 Players Championship.
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

But the comparisons do not stop there.

Scheffler remained composed all throughout Sunday’s final round at The Players, hitting fairways and greens while avoiding the trouble that lurked everywhere. He missed only two fairways—at the first and the seventh holes—and saved par on both.

He did not make a single bogey, either, while Wyndham Clark, Xander Schauffele, and Brian Harman—the trio who finished one stroke behind him—combined to make six.

That ultimately cost those players a chance at glory at TPC Sawgrass. But it did not cost Scheffler.

He simply does not make mistakes, and the stats prove it.

So far this season, Scheffler ranks first on the PGA Tour in bogey avoidance, dropping a shot only 7.61% of the time. In 2006, Woods’s bogey avoidance rate was 12.18%.

Instead of making mistakes, Scheffler fires at flagsticks when a green light presents itself. Just as Woods did in his prime. Seemingly every round, the former Texas Longhorn sets himself up beautifully for multiple opportunities.

Despite his putter woes, Scheffler still has made a birdie or better on 31.48% of the holes he has played in 2024. That ranks first on the PGA Tour. Clark ranks second, almost two whole percentage points behind Scheffler.

In 2006, Woods’ birdie or better percentage was 27.14%, which ranked first on tour.

Tiger Woods, The Open

The scoreboard at the 2006 Open Championship.
Photo by Peter Byrne/Getty Images

Scheffler Flexes Clutch Gene, as did Woods

But another statistical comparison between Woods and Scheffler has to do with their clutch genes.

In 2006, Woods had a final-round scoring average of 68.75. He won seven times, including The Open and the PGA Championship back-to-back. What makes this even more impressive is that these two majors came on the heels of his missed cut at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. That week, Woods was in a sorrowful state. His father and mentor, Earl, passed away a few weeks before.

So far this season, Scheffler has a final-round scoring average of 66.43, highlighted by his exquisite 8-under 64 on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass.

He routinely shows up when it matters most, and he has done so on consecutive Sundays. Last week, the final round scoring average at Bay Hill was 73.14—the highest of any of the four rounds.

Scottie Scheffler, PGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational

Scottie Scheffler smiles following his win at the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA Tour via Getty Images

So, Scheffler, with a bevy of other players in contention, carded one of the best rounds of the year. He shot a 6-under 66 in windy conditions to win by five.

Talk about clutch.

Funny enough, Scheffler changed to a mallet putter in the days leading up to Bay Hill. He is now two for two with his new putter, something that should petrify the rest of the tour.

Perhaps he makes it three for three at the Texas Children’s Open in Houston, where he will play next.

After that? The best players in the world—including those on LIV Golf—will head to Augusta National for The Masters. Everyone—including those on the Saudi-backed circuit—will have their sights set on Scheffler, who will have a better chance than anyone to slip on the green jacket.

Indeed, it would not surprise anyone if he went on to win at Augusta.

But should we be surprised that Scheffler is playing this well?

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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