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Additive Inverses and Absolute Values

Opposite numbers and distance from zero

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Tiger Woods
Teacher Contributed

Real World Applications – Algebra I


How do we see integers in Tiger Woods’ golf score?

Student Exploration

Golf is a popular sport known all over the world. At one point, player Tiger Woods was the most popular – first due to his golf career, and later in the media. Focusing in on his golf game, we can apply our understanding of integers and adding integers to better understand the basic scoring of golf. When a golfer scores on par, the golfer’s score would be zero. If a player scores below par, or scores in less than the par number, the player then has a negative score. Let’s look at Tiger Woods’ scores from the 2012 Open Championship in England.

In this screen shot of the first round, Tiger had a score of 2, which is one less than par. Taking the difference of these two numbers, he then has a score of -1. In the second hole, he scored on par, so his score stayed the same. We can represent this relationship as different operations on integers:

For the first hole: \begin{align*}2 - 3 = -1\end{align*}

Total for the second hole: \begin{align*}(2 - 3) + (4 - 4) = -1\end{align*}

Continuing with his score, his total score for the first round of golf is -3. Is this a good score, or a bad score?

This represents a pretty good score, because since the par is 70 strokes for the round, he completed 67 strokes, or three under par. That’s pretty good!

How else do you see the operations of integers represented in this picture of his scores for the first round of golf?

Extension Investigation

Look on pga.com to view the most recent professional golf tournament. Click on any player, and observe how integers play a role in this tournament.

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