Let me be the first to say here…I love what Tiger Woods has done with his golf game over the last year and a half, as well as the improvement with his attitude, but I don’t think he will be fitted for a new Green Jacket in 2103.
As much as I would like to say, a Sunday afternoon matchup featuring Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, or Tiger Woods, and Phil Mickelson wouldn’t be fun to watch, because it would, but it is not going to happen this year. If you’re curious as to why I am probably going against the masses here, and taking the field, stay with me….
The one aspect of Tiger’s game that he hasn’t fixed at this point is his driver. I’ll give it to him, the game he is bringing to the golf course week after week is good enough to win a lot of tournaments, just not The Masters. Augusta is the one golf course on the planet that plays away from Tiger’s strength, which is his ability to scramble, and his spot on putting when he gets hot.
When Tiger has to hit a draw off the tee, he usually hits his 5 Wood stinger for control. That tactic will work in June at Merion, but will not work at Augusta. The 5 wood will leave him in the fairway, but too far back for accuracy into the flag. Tiger has become a one trick pony off of the tee, and that is hitting his power fade. The same shot that carried Jack Nicklaus to 18 major championships.
Jack has six Green Jackets, but he could also hit a draw when necessary, and keep it in the fairway. Of course, when Jack was winning Green Jackets, the golf course was 500 yards shorter than it is today. Take a look at the numbers. Although Augusta National has continued to grow through the years, the biggest jump came in 2005 when the majority of the 500 yards was added. This was coincidentally, the last time Tiger won the Masters.
The winner at Augusta needs to have their driver working long and left, something that Tiger can’t do right now, and that aspect of his game may never come back. Ever wonder how Zach Johnson won a Green Jacket, and no other major? The only shot Zach can hit with any consistency, is a draw. Phil Mickelson has three wins here, but Lefty is….left handed, it’s a power fade for him. There has been a few faders of the ball that have won a Masters, but not very often. Ben Hogan fought the same problem Tiger has in the early part of his career, double-crossing his driver. Hogan didn’t become Ben Hogan, the legend until he did as Tiger is doing today, converting to a power fade.
Every once in a while, the statistics just don’t prove out. And it could again this year, leaving me back on my diet of crow. In the sports pick business, you have to bet the numbers, and the numbers say, someone else will win a Green Jacket this year, not Tiger Woods.
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