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Shane Bacon

Jack Nicklaus admits that it'll be hard for Tiger to win the Masters

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More than his perfect image, the one thing Tiger Woods has tricked us all into thinking is winning on the PGA Tour is easy. It ain't. Not at all.

A guy as talented as Ernie Els hadn't won an event up until last week since 2008. Phil Mickelson hasn't won a major championship since 2006. Tiger just made it happen a lot more consistently, and we all were made to believe that winning should be that easy.

When Tiger steps foot on the Augusta National grounds, he will be the favorite to win the Masters. That is, according to people that set odds and lines and try to rake in cash during sporting events. To the golfer, there is no chance Tiger could be the favorite. Just ask Jack Nicklaus.

"Seve (Ballesteros) went to that Masters not having played very much golf," Nicklaus explained. "I remember he and I were playing a practice round and he said to me 'I'm not as sharp as I should be'.

"As soon as he said it, I knew when Seve came down the stretch on Sunday, he wasn't going to be as tough as he'd usually be. When he hit his ball into the water at 15 in the final round, it was the type of swing you'd expect from somebody who wasn't sharp.

"And being sharp is being tournament tested on a recent basis. That'd be the only negativity for Tiger at Augusta -- he'd not be tournament tested, though as a golfer and having practiced all the shots, he will be fine. So it's going to be very interesting."

It might have taken the all-time leading major championship winner to extract the point I've been trying to make for months, but there it is. Jack said it, without having to actually say it. This rust Tiger will deal with from his lack of tournament golf will play more of a factor than people want to believe.

He might string together some solid rounds, and you can never count Tiger out of anything, but on Sunday, when he needs that swing or that stroke, it'll be a lot tougher for him to pull it off with this much time away from tournament golf.

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