British Virgin Islands: Tiger Woods And The Comfort Of Predictability

Last Updated: 13 December 2016
Article by Philip Graham

After more than 15 months in the wilderness, with goodness knows what to keep him entertained during his recovery from multiple back surgeries, Tiger finally came back to the PGA Tour this weekend and competed in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

The entire sporting world watched and waited; could he begin down the road to superstardom once again?

We Brits absolutely love an underdog. We are far more comfortable cheering on someone who will almost certainly lose because it is actually quite relaxing. They almost always do lose, which is expected and therefore does not bring any form of great discomfort or very occasionally they will manage to overcome the odds – and then the celebrations go on for days. The defeat of Goliath by David is truly a glorious one.

And yet, I found myself actively hollering for Tiger. Not because he was an underdog in the tournament after his sabbatical, but because I realised that I wanted to see that greatness again, I wanted to experience the incredible mental belief that he showed every Sunday while wearing his red shirt and dominating every course and opponent laid before him. And part of this is because while we may not like a predictable outcome, we can always take great comfort from predictability. Because it means we actually understand part of what is going on around us on this vast planet, while being surrounded by so many wild and scary unknowns.

But in recent times, this warm comfort blanket has been violently pulled off our dozing souls and tossed into one corner of the room, leaving our pyjama wearing form to face some truly incredible global macro events. The two major ones are obvious; both Brexit and the successful campaign of Donald Trump were neither foreseen by the widespread general press nor by the bookies, who placed considerable odds in favour of the alternative result (and as we all know, the house is very rarely wrong).

One of the interesting aspects coming out of all of this (and ignoring all of the other repercussions which have been documented widely elsewhere) was the fact that the "pollsters" were very strongly leaning towards one outcome on both occasions, only to be proved very clearly incorrect. This had happened in a number of general elections immediately prior to this year as well, including the UK and Israeli elections in 2015. This group of people have chosen to dedicate their working lives to the analysis of probability and the principles of predicting the political future based on historical events and yet were almost universally wide of the mark.

When looking at the reasons behind this – and there are many – one of the aspects I personally think has been overlooked is the rise and influence of social media and the impact that it is having on the general populous. There was a time in which you could be fairly confident that if a particular newspaper or TV Channel reported upon a candidate or party in a certain manner, that view would be retained by a relatively predictable number of people, allowing pollsters to effectively check in on readership/viewing figures and make a sweeping generalisation about those people.

But, the reality is that the general population in most western cultures simply does not rely solely on mainstream media anymore. Everyone has access to an overwhelming amount of facts and figures at a touch of their smartphone's buttons. They do not have to wait up until 9 pm every night to listen to the news, they frankly know things are happening three seconds after they occur. And once they have listened or read one account, if they're interested in that story, they will almost certainly listen to or read a number of other perspectives on the same topic, all of which may come with slightly different twists on the same theme. The ironic result for a pollster then is that this creates a great unknown at their end from the very fact so much more is actually known by the people they are trying to predict.

And so, coming back to the annus horribilis that has been 2016, if the pollsters have been proved to be so inaccurate, does that begin to explain why the investment funds community has had such a tough run this year as well? Clearly, volatility can lead to some fantastic results if you have been able to see the wobble coming, but if we are all moving in the dark as to what is coming next, that leaves even the biggest and brightest people in our industry simply not knowing which way to turn.

By way of an example, there was a truly ridiculous day a few weeks ago as described in greater detail here. Detrick's comment that "this is a confused market" couldn't be more understated. We do not just have a confused market out there, we have a confused collective of 7.5 billion people wandering around this planet and wondering what the next negative and unpredictable turn will be.

Before we all start waving the white flag, the only comfort I can draw from this is that if we have reached the stage where we are all becoming doomsayers, maybe unpredictability will actually work in our favour for once. After all, Tiger managed to knock in 24 birdies over the course of this weekend which was more than any other player out there and no one saw that coming (sadly though, the rules of the tournament rather disappointedly also counted his bogeys which meant he finished 15th out of a field of 17). But there were signs that he may very genuinely rise once again. Let's hope he brings a bull market with him.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions