Charting Tiger Woods’ Career

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

Inspired by Tiger Woods’ victory on Sunday, I decided to chart some basic statistics from his 17-year PGA Tour career, including this one on how often he finished in the top 10 at tournaments: 

See all the charts.

The PGA site has tons of year-by-year data for each PGA tour player since 1980, including every imaginable question (putting, driving, greens in regulation, and many more). So this is just the minimum of what’s possible with golf statistics. 

Anything you’d like to see? 


NY Times Examines Injuries To Jockeys, Horses At Race Tracks

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

The New York Times has posted a sad and troubling story about the horse racing industry:

[A]n investigation by The New York Times has found that industry practices continue to put animal and rider at risk. A computer analysis of data from more than 150,000 races, along with injury reports, drug test results and interviews, shows an industry still mired in a culture of drugs and lax regulation and a fatal breakdown rate that remains far worse than in most of the world.

The story has a chart and map visualizing the rate of incidents at each track, showing how it varies by state:

Which European Soccer Leagues Have The Most Per-Match Goals?

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

Has European football gotten increasingly boring over the years? If you like offense, perhaps.

Since the mid-1950s, fewer and fewer goals on average have been scored per match. The trend is evident among the major national leagues (Spain, Italy, England and Germany) and also the Champions League, in which the best teams from each country compete for a European title.

Goals per match in the latter championship, formerly known as the European Cup, are down the most (-39%) since 1955 — followed by Spain’s La Liga (-30%), England’s Premier League (-14%) and Italy’s Serie A (-9%). Per-match goals in Germany’s Bundesliga are down 21% since 1964, the earliest data available.

This chart, made in Adobe Illustrator, attempts to the visualize the trend: 

Data Source:


NFC vs. AFC: Charting Four Decades of ‘Pro Bowl’ Scores

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

The two NFL conferences have split victories almost evenly in their annual Hawaii showdown/snoozefest known as the Pro Bowl, with the NFC holding a 21-20 record against the AFC. This chart, perhaps as interesting as the game itself, shows how the two sides have scored over the years: 

Larger version | Data source: Wikipedia

How Many Points Will Alabama And LSU Score Tonight?

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

In previewing tonight’s national championship game between LSU and Alabama, USA Today reports that a high-scoring contest isn’t expected: 

LSU and Alabama combined for just 15 points in their November matchup that saw neither team reach the end zone.

The anticipated defensive struggle Monday night will contrast with the Rose, Fiesta and Orange Bowl which totaled 83, 79 and 103 points, respectively. In fact, in those three games there were more points in eight of the 12 quarters than the previous November matchup between the Tigers and Crimson Tide.

But how have these teams scored in previous matchups? Since 1902, the Tigers and the Crimson Tide have faced off 74 times, with an average combined score of about 32 points — twice the total from this season’s earlier game.

This histogram shows the number of games in 10-point increments. Twenty games have resulted in 40 or more points (see larger version): 

There have been some low-scoring games over the years, but also some real shootouts. In 2007, for example, the matchup resulted in 75 points, with LSU winning 41-34. This line chart shows the trend over time (see larger version): 

We’ll see what happens tonight.

Data source: