Commentary

Who had the better season: Tiger or Lorena?

Updated: December 10, 2007, 11:21 AM ET
By Ron Sirak | Golf World

The Player of the Year awards for both the PGA Tour and the LPGA were wrapped up early. Tiger Woods clinched his with a victory at the PGA Championship, and Lorena Ochoa all but locked up hers at the Women's British Open. So, who had the better year, Woods or Ochoa? Which No. 1 is the true player of the year?

Tiger Woods
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhWoods won seven events this past season ...

With the anticipated rivalries on their own tours never materializing -- Phil Mickelson failing to step up and Annika Sorenstam having to back down because of an injury -- the only real competition for Woods and Ochoa is across gender lines.

First, let's dust off the rivals. Mickelson won three times in '07, including the Players Championship, but his best finish in a major was T-24 (Masters), and he missed the cut in the U.S. and British Opens while battling a wrist injury. Woods won seven times, including the PGA Championship, two World Golf Championship events and the Tour Championship, along with first place in the inaugural FedEx Cup.

Sorenstam, diagnosed with a ruptured disk in her neck in April, played only 10 events and, after a playoff loss to Meaghan Francella in her first start of the year at the MasterCard Classic, never had a top-five finish. That's quite a letdown for a player who has won multiple times on the LPGA Tour every year since 1995.

Lorena Ochoa
Richard Martin-Roberts/Getty Images... while Ochoa did him one better.

So how do Tiger and Lorena do head-to-head? Woods played 16 events -- besides his seven victories, he had a trio of second-place finishes and 12 top-10s. Ochoa played in 25 events, winning eight, adding five seconds and two thirds, and finishing in the top-10 21 times. In top-threes, Woods is slightly better -- 62.5 percent to 60 percent -- but in top-10s Ochoa gets the nod, 84 percent to 75 percent.

Both won one major championship in 2007, but Woods' average finish in the majors was 4.25 (T-2 in both the Masters and the U.S. Open and T-12 in the British Open) while Ochoa's was 4.75 (T-2 in the U.S. Women's Open, T-6 in the McDonald's LPGA Championship and T-10 in the Kraft Nabisco Championship). So Woods has the advantage there.

Woods and Ochoa both let two majors slip away. Tiger was second to Zach Johnson at the Masters and Angel Cabrera at the U.S. Open, despite playing in the final pairing Sunday in both championships. At the Kraft Nabisco Championship, it appeared Ochoa would have the upper hand going into the fourth round until she made a quadruple-bogey 7 at the 17th hole in the third round. She finished four strokes back of eventual champion Morgan Pressel. At the U.S. Women's Open, Ochoa missed the final five fairways and lost to Cristie Kerr by two.

Ochoa finished the season with total earnings of $4,364,994 -- 242 percent more than second-place Suzann Pettersen. Woods won $10,867,052 -- 86.7 percent more than Mickelson, who was second.

The conclusion? So totally did each dominate, I declare the Player of the Year race a dead heat.

Ron Sirak is the executive editor of Golf World magazine.

Ron Sirak is the executive editor of Golf World magazine.