Originally posted on Tap In Golf  |  Last updated 3/25/13
  Let’s go back to November 6, 2011. If you’re a golf fan, this was a weird time for you. You had seen Tiger Woods dominate the golf world for more than a decade. But on that early November day, possibly the greatest golfer of all time sat at 58 in the Official World Golf Rankings. It was unfathomable two years earlier. In 2009, it seemed as if Tiger would break every record in the book, including the most important one to him, 18 major championships. But on that day in 2011, there was a lot of doubt in people’s minds. And it wasn’t doubt about passing Jack Nicklaus in terms of major championships. There was a strong feeling Tiger would never win again. Allow me to repeat that. A lot of people, myself included, were wondering if Tiger would ever win a single tournament again. Well, here we are. Forget everything I said regarding doubt above. That’s gone now. Tiger is once again number one in the world. The best golfer on the planet. He has a certain swagger about him again. Disgusted grimaces and club tosses have been replaced by fist pumps and trophy celebrations once again. But as I mentioned before, does any of this matter? He. Wants. Major. Championships. Don’t get me wrong. Being number one in the world is something that Tiger wanted. Ever since he dropped to 58, when people doubted him, he knew he would get back. And now that he is, how will he play in a few weeks at Augusta? Will this provide more confidence to get it done? Or is he feeling major championship pressure? Here’s what I do know. You will read a lot about Tiger being number one again. I’ll leave that alone for now. But let’s look ahead, shall we? When the Master’s gets underway in a little more than two weeks, how will Tiger fare? Why he won’t win: The Big Miss: Tiger has been, for the most part, locked on recently, except for one major area. Tiger has long fought the big miss off the tee. For Eldrick that is left. Way left. That miss mainly comes with the driver, a club that you must hit well at Augusta to attack those pins. If he doesn’t get that figured out, he won’t score well, and therefore not win. Think about the last few years when he was in contention. The reason he didn’t win (among other things) was the driver. Now that he has those other things tightened up, it still comes down to the big stick. I still don’t have confidence he can do it consistently and perhaps the most troubling thing, I don’t think Tiger does either.   Longer Augusta: Remember when all the rage was Tiger-proofing a golf course? Well, they certainly gave it their best effort at Augusta. In fact, since Augusta National was lengthened to it’s current distance, Tiger hasn’t won. Coincidence? Nope. Just go back to my first point. You have to hit it further down the fairway to attack the pin with shorter irons. It’s Golf 101. Average Down the Stretch: Is it just me or is Tiger generally indifferent down the stretch? Remember when Tiger used to slam the door shut on Sunday? That’s seems like a long time ago. In his three wins this year, Tiger has been okay on Sunday (or Monday). He left other players in the mix until about the 15th or 16th holes. That doesn’t seem like Tiger does it? Or is he just being conservative? Maybe it’s a bit of both but at Augusta, a course notorious for late Sunday charges (see Jack Nicklaus and Charl Schwartzel), you have to finish. You can’t let people hang around because it may burn you. Why he will win: The Putter: Man, has he been good with the flat stick recently. He is making the putts he used to make. The putts that he made in 2005, when he won his last green jacket. Even if he isn’t hitting the ball particularly well, he has made up for it with the putter. Who knows, maybe my point above about missing off the tee will be moot if Tiger can keep hitting putts consistently from 10-15 feet. Getting Out in Front: One thing Tiger has done really well this year is make sure he has a solid lead going into Sunday. In all three of his wins this year, he has led going into Sunday and hasn’t looked back. Yes, he has kept people around him on the leaderboard, but a big leads help. If he can get a solid lead going into Sunday this year at the Master’s, maybe it won’t matter if someone makes a back nine charge. Experience: I don’t think there is player on Tour that can outthink Tiger. And Tiger knows Augusta National better than anyone. If conditions are tough, greens are rolling super-fast, etc. Tiger will be better than most.  He knows what it takes to win. So let the hype machine begin. Crank it up to eleven. It’s only going to get bigger and bigger for the next two and half weeks. Enjoy the ride folks. 
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