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Tiger Woods’ golfing statistics

Everyone knows Tiger Woods’ golfing statistics, but now an economist has been studying his financial standing to emerge with the most revealing fact of all.

Should the 24-year-old phenomenon continue earning money at his present rate he will be worth SIX BILLION dollars by the time he is in his fifties.

Not that the Tiger needs to earn another penny. The commercial machine was in evidence everywhere at the wonderful Millennium Open at St Andrews that was every bit as memorable and magical as I imagined it would be.

Woods memorablia was in just as much demand as the official merchandise that included logoed shirts at up to £65 a time, £25 neck-ties and £75 sweaters. One Japanese visitor spent £1,400 in one visit.

The famous Nike tick – the logo of his clothing and ball sponsors – was everywhere. Most of all, youngsters love wearing hats and shirts endorsed by their idol. When he teed up for the first time with the new Nike ball – and won – ball sales accelerated almost beyond the firm’s ability to supply.

His £500,000 winner’s cheque took his earnings for seven months to £3,765,000 – an average of £268,000 for each of the 14 events he has played this year. It was his sixth win and he has also occupied the top five in six other events.

And those figures do not include “incidentals” like a reputed £1 million appearance fee at the Deutsche Bank Open in Germany in May.

But I digress. Woods, the golfer many feel will become the greatest the world has ever known, attracted record daily crowds of up to 50,000 to sunny, warm St Andrews.The benign nature of the weather and marked absence of even a cooling wind during the day made records possible.

Surely the presence of Woods helped the attendances reach an incredible 230,000 over the week, including the practice days. That was 22,000 more than at St Andrews ten years earlier.

And the man who won the US Open at Pebble Beach the previous month by a staggering 15 shots, was at it again.

He set his heart on nothing else than being the recipient of the old claret jug first won by Young Tom Morris of St Andrews at nearby Prestwick in 1872. And, once again, he did so in style.

Perhaps the care he showed over his final putt from four feet for a closing 69 and eight-shot winning margin typified his approach to the whole glorious week. It was the largest victory in modern times.

He wanted to finish all four rounds under 70 and break the previous championship record of 18-under-par 270 set by Nick Faldo at St Andrews in 1990. With that putt, he managed both to become the youngest player to complete the Grand Slam of Majors.

Afterwards Faldo said: “All credit to him – the guy is simply in a different league.”

At the post-win press conference, conducted as usual with a charm, dignity and modesty that completes his fine personality, he brought further shudders to his fellow professionals with this simple self-analysis.

He said: “I can play better – no doubt about it. There were a few loose shots out there. But if you learn from your mistakes, you can become a better player and a better person because of them.”

Woods joins four greats from the past – Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen – to have won all four majors.

He became the first player to hold the US and Open titles in the same year since Tom Watson in 1982. Only Hogan and Lee Trevino have achieved a similar feat since the war.

No-one has ever won three majors in the same year, but who will bet against Woods achieving that? The final major is the US PGA Championship at Valhalla, Louisville, Kentucky starting on August 17.

Bookmakers stopped taking odds on Woods at St Andrews after opening their accounts at little better than 2-1. What price Woods at Valhalla for his second PGA title?

Don’t bet against him.

Peter Godsiff

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