Tiger Woods made our golf model look silly. Have we learned a lesson?

The sport’s most beloved star was very good at Augusta—but also very lucky economist
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FOR EVERY single week between August 2013 and September 2018, betting on Tiger Woods was a losing proposition. Owing to a series of injuries and over-use of pain-killing prescription drugs, golf’s biggest star went five years without winning a single tournament. So in hindsight, it looks like remarkably poor timing that the The Economist ran an article pouring cold water on Mr Woods’s chances of winning the Masters Tournament in precisely the week that he wound up ending his 11-year-long drought in major championships. “Our Masters forecast is lukewarm on Tiger Woods”, read the headline on the online version of the story, which ended by declaring it “more likely than not that he has let loose his last roar”.

Before the tournament began, betting markets gave Mr Woods a 5% chance to win. That was more than twice the 2.2% estimate produced by EAGLE, our statistical golf prediction model. Did punters know something that the computer did not?

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