Tiger Woods — Getty ImagesWelcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Shane Bacon and national columnist Jay Busbee take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by hitting us on Twitter at @shanebacon and @jaybusbee. Today we look ahead to see what this win at Torrey Pines could do for Tiger Woods' year.
Busbee: TIGER'S BACK TIGER'S BACK OH THANK YOU HEAVEN TIGER'S BA- all right, enough. Woods played exceptionally well in notching his 75th career Tour victory on Sunday. The easy storyline is that he's "back," but let's dig a little deeper than that, shall we? Woods is obviously playing better than he has in years, but does that, to your mind, constitute "back"?
Bacon: I think 2012 gave us the narrative that Tiger is "back." Three wins was pretty salty, but for some reason this win felt different. He rolled over the field without much fight back from the contenders (seriously, did ANYONE make a push on Sunday/Monday?), and while he did "stumble" on the way in, he still won by four. I think that four wins since March of last year shows that he CAN win again in bunches, and I think that'll happen this year. With the momentum of a win in your first start on tour has to be a recipe for that huge year we've been waiting for from Tiger, isn't it?
Busbee: Without a doubt. Winning, like losing, is contagious in golf. If Woods feels like he's got all elements of his game in sync -- tee, short game, green -- he'll be more confident and more able to take chances, rather than playing scared (or at least cautious). We've heard all the statistics--Woods only wins Augusta when he's won already that season, et cetera--but the simple truth is that he's playing with the kind of authority we haven't seen from him since before the scandal hit. He may have done damage to his knees that will keep him from a Vijay Singh-like run into his 40s, but he's got several more years of top-flight golf ahead of him. Want to venture a guess on majors?
Bacon: I'll stick to my theory that the British is the best shot for Tiger to win because I'm not sure he's straight enough off the tee to beat up Augusta or Merion, but honestly, if he's hitting it like this isn't he the honest favorite (unlike the Vegas favorite that he normally is) at all the majors? I think Tiger is primed for a run and despite the end of his run on Monday I think he looked as focused as I've seen him in a while. I almost feel like Tiger is sick of all the talk about guys like Rory and Dustin and wants to squash them in 2013. Say he wins Augusta, what happens to the golfing world then?!
Busbee: The golfing world would go into fits of ecstasy that would make the NFL media's love for Ray Lewis look like cold-eyed disdain. And why not? Golf's been in a bit of a lull ever since Woods turned south, and a Woods rebound would bring back the casual viewer. Of course, the hardcores would bitch about how much more rewarding it is to watch Nick Watney (sorry, Nick), but we both know that this sport has to cater to both the day-in, day-outs and the "how's Tiger doing?" viewers. A Tiger win at Augusta would reignite all the talk about catching Jack, and it would do nothing less than transform the entire season. This would be like Jordan coming back with the Wizards ... and winning a championship.
Bacon: And we all know the real winner here if Tiger goes on another run like he did in the early 2000s? Us!
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