Greg Norman: 'I doubt' Tiger Woods can return to top form

Devil Ball Golf

Greg Norman knows a thing or two about dealing with mental scar tissue. He's faced huge letdowns on the biggest stages with the utmost class. So when he is speaking about the toll golf can take on a player's mind, he's an expert.

Norman, a Hall of Famer who spent more than six years as the world's No. 1 golfer, told Matt Lauer on "The Today Show" on Tuesday that he doesn't think Tiger Woods will ever return to top form.

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"Quite honestly, I doubt it," Norman said. "Not the way he was in 2000 on for eight or nine years."

The 60-year-old expressed what's become a common sentiment: something is wrong with Woods' head.

"Mentally he's a little unraveled," Norman said.

“Imagine with what we’ve seen since December of last year, with his short game [and] chipping," Norman continued. "Imagine standing over the back of the 12th green at Augusta National, and you’ve got to chip it down there, Rae’s Creek right in front of you, or the back of the 15th of Augusta National . . . all those gremlins are going to be sitting in his head.”

Woods announced Feb. 11 that he would not compete on the PGA Tour again until he felt his game is "tournament ready." He is skipping this week's Honda Classic near his home in Jupiter, Fla. It's unclear when Woods will play next, but many anticipate his return at the end of March at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a tournament he has won eight times. A start at Bay Hill would be a likely indicator of an intention to play in the Masters.

Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, has made public statements on Woods' behalf, suggesting his client is champing at the bit to play again. However, Woods isn't playing this week and can't play next week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral because he isn't in the world top 50.

The disparity between what Steinberg says and Woods' absence indicates caused an anonymous PGA Tour player, speaking to Golfweek, to suggest there's something more to Woods' woes than chipping and driving.

The player said, "[Steinberg is] covering for him.”

Watch the entire Greg Norman interview right here:

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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