Scheffler, Rahm, and Rory: Assessing golf’s new Triumvirate

Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm, 2023 WM Phoenix Open,Syndication: Arizona Republic
Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm, 2023 WM Phoenix Open,Syndication: Arizona Republic /
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Triumvirate, Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy
Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, The Memorial Tournament, Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports /

The glory days of Tiger

To find a Triumvirate that actually surpasses the pace being set by the current stars – and does so for a full season – you have to reach back to the glory days of Tiger Woods in 2003. That certainly was a year for the golfing gods.

Woods of course led the way with a 68.415 stroke average that turned out to be nearly three strokes better than the 71.10 Tour average.

No wonder he won four times. Curiously, 2003 was a year in which Tiger did NOT win a Major, his best finish being a tie for fourth at the British Open. Still, Tiger’s season-long performance translated to a Tour-leading .961 Relative Stroke Average.

He had competition. Vijay Singh stood second in stroke average that season at 68.649, with four victories of his own. Like Woods already a Major champ, Singh failed to win any of the four headline events of that season, although he tied for second at the British Open. Singh’s Relative Stroke Average was .965.

The third member of the 2003 triumvirate was Ernie Els, a three-time Major titlist whose wins included the 2002 British Open. In 2003 Els managed no better than ties for fifth at the U.S. Open and PGA, but still compiled a season-long 66.99 stroke average that was fourth best on Tour. That works out to a .969 Relative Stroke Average.

Combine the 2003 seasons of Els, Woods, and Singh and you get a .965 Relative Stroke Average, a figure that is unapproached by any threesome of Major winners since the Tour began keeping season-long stroke averages in 1980.