Release Date: July 15, 2002
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With two major championships under his belt already and this week's British Open in his sights, Tiger Woods has a 13 percent chance of completing golf's coveted Grand Slam by winning all four of golf's major tournaments this year, according to a "probabilist" from the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
"But if he doesn't make it this year, there is a 30 percent chance he'll eventually achieve a Grand Slam over the next 20 years, based on his success rate in past major championships," says Christopher M. Rump, UB assistant professor of industrial engineering.
Rump -- a sports fan whose serious research involves creation of operational systems for traffic, telecommunications and computers -- figures that Tiger Woods has won 36 percent of major tournaments he's entered in his career.
"If Tiger continues to win at that rate, his chances in any given year of achieving the Grand Slam are 1.75 percent or 56 to 1 odds," Rump explains. "Of course, now that he's halfway there, the chances increase -- to 13 percent -- that it will happen this year."
Using a Markov Chain, a statistical model invented by a Russian mathematician to predict outcomes, Rump also figured that Tiger has a 60 percent chance of completing another "Tiger Slam" -- four consecutive major tournaments across two years -- if he continues at his current pace over the next 80 majors.
"Jack Nicklaus won the Master's when he was 46, so it's not inconceivable that Tiger's still winning majors 20 years from now," Rump says.
Though he's not a betting man, Rump has drawn up statistical models to predict outcomes of the Stanley Cup, World Series, NBA Finals and the New York State Lottery.