Tiger Woods is the talk of the sports world for the right reasons again. After winning at Bay Hill, Tiger is the top story all over the sports networks. Everything seems to be going his way as the Masters approaches.
Not only is he healthy and winning, but he is preparing for a tournament in which he has had great success. Not only does Tiger have four wins at the Masters, but he also plays well there almost every year. He is already earning buzz as the tournament favorite. Tiger is certainly going to be a contender at Augusta. But should we automatically assume he is going to win? I'm a little hesitant to say that right now.
There are certainly plenty of reasons that Tiger is the favorite. His track record at the Masters and his recent play are big reasons why Tiger is being listed as a favorite. Of course, his name is Tiger Woods. That usually puts him among the favorites by itself. But there is a big difference between being the favorite and being a favorite. Woods is a favorite, but he might not be the favorite.
While his win at Bay Hill was definitely impressive, it wasn't the Masters. Everything from the course to the field will be different. Woods didn't have to deal with Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, and a number of other big stars at Bay Hill. He will have to deal with them at the Masters. While Woods is looking for redemption by winning his first major in nearly four years, other golfers are hoping to solve their own issues with a win. McIlroy is looking to validate himself as the best young golfer in the world. Donald is looking to earn his elusive first major title. Guys like Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Justin Rose, and Hunter Mahan are all seeking to break through with a major win. Woods has a lot to play for but so do most other golfers.
During Tiger's prime, the old bet used to be if you would take Tiger or the field. Now that the field has closed the gap, that bet doesn't really hold water anymore. But I have no doubt that many golf fans are thinking about that very choice right now. I think it is asking a lot for Tiger to win consecutive tournaments at this point of his career. That said, I'm not ruling him out. Tiger is definitely a favorite, but he isn't the favorite. There are too many other golfers that have just as much to play for at the first major of the year.* - Mark Paul is an avid golf fan. He has watched and played golf since high school.
- Tiger Woods