"I am Tiger Woods." Remember that? A few years back, as its newest endorser suddenly became a superstar, Nike began running commercials in which cute kids of various races made this declaration. The ads depicted the young golfer extraordinaire as an accessible Everyman's hero, the sort of person we all could emulate and realistically aspire to be.
Wannabes across the country (more likely middle-aged men than fresh-faced children) adopted the saying. But now, in the wake of Tiger's record-setting British Open win last weekend, it seems it's officially time to retire it. How can even an above-average Joe ever hope to match this guy?
Just in case there are still some stubborn dreamers harboring the fantasy, though, we put together a little reality check.
Michael Caspar, co-founder of GolfServ Online (a free Internet service that, among other things, gives its members access to accurate tracking of their golf performance, online tee time booking and virtual lessons) crunched some numbers to determine the abilities of the "average golfer." That would be the mid-point man (and it is a man, according to statistics) among the 26.4 million Americans who play golf.
After comparing the data provided by GolfServ (www. golfserv.com) and others with Tiger Woods' statistics for the 2000 PGA season, there's only one thing left to say: "No, you're not Tiger Woods."
The average man:
Name: Nowhere near as flashy as "Tiger"; according to the 1990 U. S. census, more than likely "James."
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 181 pounds
College: 44 percent have degrees, and, like Tiger, an additional 36.4 percent have some college experience.
Marital status: Married
Average driving distance: 220 yards
Percentage of tee shot drives that land on the fairway: 37
Average number of eagles per year: 0.47
Average number of birdies per year: 17.5
Average score per 18 holes: 92 (the National Golf Foundation is less generous; it says 100)
Average handicap: 20.71
Income: $91,636 annually (household)
Other sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; National Golf Foundation
Name: Tiger, legally changed from "Eldrick" in December 1996
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 160 pounds
College: 2 years at Stanford University
Marital status: Single
Average driving distance: 292.2 yards
Percentage of tee shot drives that land on the fairway: 72.1
Total eagles: 11
Total birdies: 228 (but the year's not over; in 1999 he had 317)
Average score per 18 holes: 67.77
Income: Thus far, $5,735,581