Leading up to the Masters, we'll offer up our thoughts on some of the game's best players and their chances to win at Augusta. We continue our coverage with the most talked about golfer on the planet: Tiger Woods.
His 2012 so far: Woods won an official event for the first time in more than two years when he captured the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the seventh time in his career. He also has a pair of top-three finishes in six starts this season.
His Masters record: Only Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer can boast the kind of success Woods has had at Augusta National. His four green jackets are second only to Nicklaus' six, and even in the years Woods hasn't won, he's almost always finished inside the top five (six times in his last seven starts).
Why he could win: Because his game is peaking at the right time. As opposed to years past when we questioned Woods' swing and his mental state, he comes into the Masters with a breakthrough win and a boatload of confidence. When you put both of those things together with Augusta National, you almost always get a green jacket. Woods has produced some incredible moments at the Masters over the years and the way he's playing at the moment, you have to believe he's going to make another serious run this year.
Why he could lose: We've only seen Woods close things out in an official event on one occasion in the past two-plus years. It's easy to jump on the Tiger bandwagon and start proclaiming that he's back, but until he starts winning on a consistent basis, it's impossible to tell if we'll see "Bay Hill Tiger" or "Abu Dhabi and Pebble Tiger" on the weekend. Sure, it's Augusta National, his home away from home – but the uncertainty surrounding his play on the weekend has to give you pause.
Our take: Tiger Woods will be right there when the leaders make the turn and things start to get really interesting on Sunday, but with so many big names playing at incredibly high levels right now, you get the feeling that someone could pull a Schwartzel and come out of nowhere to win. Woods will pick up another top-five finish, but he'll have to wait another year for his fifth green jacket.
Your turn, friends. Your take on Woods' chances at Augusta this year?
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