Until Tiger Woods fails to win this year’s Masters Tournament, I don’t even want to begin to discuss if he’ll fall short of Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major championships. Ever since Woods’ public scandal and turbulent 2010, many have begun to ponder a world where Woods never wins again. If it exists, we don’t currently live there.
Playing an entire meal time before the leaders yesterday, Woods carded a six-under 66 and stole some thunder from Nick Watney, who proved to be the eventual champion of the WGC Cadillac Championship. Watney’s win and clutch shot making is no doubt the biggest take away from last week’s event. But the second might be that familiar Tiger smile that crossed Woods’ face when asked if he liked his chances at The Masters in early April.
“Oh yeah,” he simply said through smiling teeth.
I do too, actually. Remember, Woods put together a top five finish at Augusta National last year in his first tournament back in golf since a public scandal like no other in human history. The man knows the course and has worked his magic there numerous times before.
I never thought Woods would be able to win in 2010 with everything going on in his life. Even with the major tournaments at some of his favorite courses – Pebble Beach and St. Andrews – it just wasn’t her on several levels.
The bigger target in my mind has always been the 2011 Masters. Does he wish the swing changes with Sean Foley were coming along quicker? I’m sure. But all that matters is they’re in full gear for Augusta.
It’s been16 months since Woods last won a golf tournament; an eternity given the clip at which he used to hoist trophies. Still, if he gets it together for four days in April, everything in his golfing life is restored. If he wins Augusta, he’s immediately the favorite for each of the next three. If he wins Augusta, he’s Tiger Woods again, even if it’s version 3.0.
Tiger’s been through a stretch of bad times. But he’s shooting to win Augusta. Do I still like his chances?