The Incredible Stat On What Tiger Woods' Handicap Would Have Been

Statistician Lou Stagner has revealed details of the incredible handicap Woods would have had in 2008

Tiger Woods takes a shot during the 2008 US Open playoff
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tiger Woods seemed virtually unbeatable in his peak years, and statistician Lou Stagner has the numbers to back it up.

According to Stagner, in 2008, when Woods was still in his prime, his official handicap index would have been an incredible +9.4 - the number of strokes better than scratch Woods was at the time. However, that is before reckoning for Tour conditions. Once those are taken into account, it is adjusted to a scarcely believable figure somewhere between +11 and +12, emphasising just how impressive Woods' form was at the time. 

In 2008, Woods’ season was cut short. Indeed, he only played a total of seven tournaments before knee reconstruction surgery ended his involvement following his win in the US Open that June. However, including his 14th Major win, Woods barely let up throughout the season. 

He won the first four tournaments of 2008, before finishing fifth in the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He followed that up with a runner-up finish in the Masters at Augusta National before famously edging out Rocco Mediate after 91 holes at Torrey Pines after one extra hole of an 18-hole playoff. Given the incredibly low handicap index calculated by Stagner, we can only speculate as to how many more wins Woods would have achieved that year had injury not curtailed his season. 

Of course, the American's peak lasted for far longer than just 2008. Previously, Stagner posted details of some other legendary years in Woods’ career, including 2000 when he won three Majors among nine victories on his way to completing the unique Tiger Slam in 2001 - four Major wins within 365 days. However, perhaps surprisingly, 2008 still comes out on top. 

Regardless of the precise form Woods displayed at any given time, the figures show just how dominant Woods was in his prime as he broke so many incredible records and inspired a new generation of fans to take up the game. 

The handicap system provides a gauge to an amateur golfer’s current aptitude and performance level, and enables players of different abilities to compete against each other. However, in the professional game there is no handicap system, although some pros keep a handicap as a guide to how many shots they should give amateur friends.

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.