Funny Business with Jane Wells

The Dow's 'Aye' of the Tiger?

Tiger Woods

Among the firsts in Sunday's PGA Championship was that Tiger Woods, for the first time, did not win a major tournament while in the lead going into Sunday.

Another certainty thrown onto the ash heap of golf.

But is another, less-certain, barometer involving Tiger also ending up in the rough? I'm talking abut The Tiger-Dow Correlation. This metric originally started around 2000, when the New York Post reportedly postulated that whenever Tiger played on Sunday--regardless of whether he won--the Dow went up on Monday, as giddy traders reacted to seeing Woods on TV the day before. Somewhere along the way, this metric morphed into "How Tiger Plays on Sunday is How the Dow Plays Monday." In other words, Tiger wins, the market wins. Tiger loses, we all lose (except shorts, aka the Mickelson crew).

Well, Tiger lost yesterday, and last I checked the Dow is down. But let's take a look at the rest of the season.

Up until yesterday, Woods had played on Sunday in 10 tournaments this year.  He won five, but the Dow rose only three times the following Monday.

After winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 29th, the Dow closed down 250 points the next day. After winning the Memorial Tournament June 7th, the Dow rose ever so slightly June 8th. Woods won the AT&T National on Sunday, July 5th, and the Dow rose 44 points on Monday. The Dow rose over 100 points the day after he won the Buick Open this month, but it closed down 32 points the day after he won the World Golf Championships a week later.

As for market reaction when Woods lost on Sunday, the markets lost four out of five times, except for the 200+ point gain the day after Woods came in 4th place at the Quail Hollow Championship May 3rd.

Maybe the markets just go down a lot on Monday this year.

Still, combining Woods' wins and losses on Sundays in 2009 and comparing that to the Dow on Monday, the theory still works 70 percent of the time. Perhaps those aren't the sort of odds Woods prefers, but as a stock market theory, I can think of worse.