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The game of golf, its equipment, and players’ skills have changed a lot in the 25+ years since Tiger’s pro career began. It begs the question, would a younger Tiger still dominate today? And what does that have to do with your company’s small parcel shipping?

Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest golfer to ever play the game. He won his first pro tournament in 1996, and we all know the story since. But, a lot has changed in the sport in that time.

The answer to the question of whether or not Tiger in his prime would dominate today is debatable. This is not to imply that modern players are any more skilled or hard-working than Tiger was, but the game is different in several important ways. The data, however, support the idea that pro golfers are better.

Looking at data from The Masters tournament over the past 20+ years tells a convincing story. In 2000, Augusta National, the course where The Masters is played every year, was measured at 6,985 yards. Ten years later, Augusta increased its length to 7,435 yards. And in 2023, the total distance for 18 holes was 7,545 yards. So, the course has gotten longer, and, much like shipping, more distance makes golf harder.

At the same time, the last six Master’s winners have shot double digits under par, which is the longest streak in the tournament’s history. In other words, the course has gotten more difficult, yet players are shooting consistently better scores than they ever have in the history of the tournament.

What’s changed?

While there is limited evidence suggesting players today are more skilled than at any time in the past, there is plenty that has changed related to player performance. Up-and-coming professionals, like Austin Eckroat, who earned his PGA tour win in 2024, are beginning their careers at a great time. The two main areas that have improved scoring are getting more help from specialists and the availability of better equipment technology.

For example, there is a greater emphasis on support in the form of coaching. Most elite players have expert coaches and partners with specialties that help them be the best they can be. There are swing coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, and most pro golfers even rely on sports psychologists. Today, players are more physically and mentally prepared before they take their first swing.

Another factor is there’s no question that the technology behind the equipment used by players is better. Modern drivers help golfers hit the ball straighter and farther — and the same goes with irons.

So, it’s actually not much of a debate. Tiger probably would dominate today. Given all the things that help golfers be better today, it’d be hard to see how he wouldn’t be just as exceptional.

What does this have to do with parcel shipping?

There are parallels between golf and parcel shipping optimization over the past 25 years, too. Just as golf pros face longer and harder courses, these days companies face rising carrier rates. The “game” has become harder for small parcel shippers.

Part of that is carriers making their contracts and rate structures more complicated. For example, accessorials and fees that were once used for extreme exceptions are now the norm. Carriers and their reps work very hard to get better at negotiating and knowing where they can grab the maximum margins from their customers.

Companies’ parcel operations are much different today as well. Shipping requirements are often much more complex and require a strategy. Would the approach used by a shipper to negotiate its contract and optimize parcel costs 25 years ago still work today? No chance.

The good news is that shippers who’ve adapted in the same ways pro golfers have (through coaching and technology) are seeing exceptional results. These shippers are like the elite golfers of today. Companies that ran exceptional parcel operations before, and are also doing so today, have evolved their approaches.

Here are two ways parcel shippers can make their operations elite today:

The core technologies companies use today to drive cost and service optimization are BI and data analytics — learn more here.

The expert coaches companies use today to help to secure the best service and rate contracts are specialists in small parcel contract negotiation — learn more here.

Companies that work with TransImpact save 15%–40% off their small parcel spend. That’s double digits in savings – just like being under par at The Masters.

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