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What to expect in 2013: No. 3, Tiger Woods

Jay Busbee
Devil Ball Golf

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Tiger Woods is ready to get this 2013 thing going. (Getty Images)

Since the Mayans were wrong, it appears the 2013 PGA Tour season will actually happen. There are plenty of big names set to make some noise in the upcoming season (the year kicks off on January 4th!), so we've picked our ten guys we think will have huge impacts next season and preview them here. We continue with some guy named Eldrick.

Tiger Woods

Age: 37

Career PGA Tour wins: 74

Career major wins: 14 and holding

What he did in 2012: This was the year Woods finally shook off The Hydrant Incident and started playing like one of the best golfers on the planet on a regular basis. Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his first PGA Tour win since all the way back in 2009. He would go on to win the Memorial and the AT&T National, along the way passing Jack Nicklaus' PGA Tour wins mark.

As for the majors? Well ... depends on whether you're talking about how he started, or how he finished. Woods continued to struggle on the weekends at major tournaments, playing himself out of potential win after potential win. He tied for third at the British Open, but couldn't get inside the top 10 at any of the other three majors. Woods rose as high as second in the Official World Golf Rankings and currently ranks third, still far behind leader Rory McIlroy.

Why we like him in 2013: Because even though he's no longer the best player on the planet, he's still one of them, and that's enough. This is undoubtedly Rory McIlroy's world now, but Woods still has the game to compete on a regular basis. He'll take a couple more steps in the direction of Sam Snead's record 82 PGA Tour wins. But we all know that the big target still lurks in the bushes for Woods.

Can he catch Jack Nicklaus? Can he amass four more majors to tie, five more to pass the Golden Bear? That's the challenge, that's the question, and it gets tougher to back Woods with every passing year. Certainly, he should have a good shot at Augusta, but he's never won a major at any of the other three sites (Merion, Muirfield and Oak Hill). McIlroy, Luke Donald and others are rounding into form. And to put it in perspective: only 13 golfers have ever won more than five majors. Woods would have to match or exceed the career efforts of Byron Nelson, Seve Ballesteros or Phil Mickelson to top Nicklaus.

No matter what, Woods won't pass Nicklaus in 2013. So let's enjoy what we have: a chance to watch one of the world's greatest in one of his final seasons of Tour-challenging dominance. He may not be the greatest, but he's still great, and for golf, that's more than good enough.

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