Follow Shane Bacon on Twitter at @shanebacon.
After Friday's second round, when Tiger Woods put together a beautiful 4-under 68 at Bay Hill to get him in the hunt heading into the weekend, I took a chance. I wrote a story headlined "Tiger Woods is going to win this weekend." It was my attempt to stir the pot, and it failed miserably.
But it is a perfect example of just how easily we golf fans can be swayed. A name carries way more weight than current success. That's why Tiger is still a 7-to-1 bet to win at Augusta National, even though it's clear there is no way that's happening. On Saturday, Tiger posted an ugly 2-over 74 while everyone else in the field seemed to be going low, taking advantage of a calm day in Florida. Sunday's round was much of the same. Over 17 holes, Tiger had it together. He was 2-under, looking to jump a few spots and take something positive from a golf course he has won at six times. But if there has ever been a perfect example of the Old Tiger versus the New Tiger, it was the 72nd hole at Bay Hill.
Two years ago, Tiger came to the 18th on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in need of a birdie to secure his first title since going through a season-ending knee surgery. Stalking a putt, Woods curled it in, slammed his cap on the ground and threw both arms in the air. "I'm back," his reaction exclaimed.
But this Sunday wasn't that. Tiger knocked his second shot in the water, made a tournament-closing double-bogey, and missed out on a chance for a respectable finish.
He isn't where he needs to be. He doesn't have any hope of winning at Augusta National, and those that dispute that are more enamored with the name and the history than they are with the current results. His body language is negative. He seems too mechanical around the greens. But any "expert" will give you 10 reasons why Tiger is struggling. The bottom line is, he isn't where he needs to be to give the Masters a run.
I took a chance on Friday and hoped that maybe, in some crazy, delusional world, me predicting a win by Woods would propel him to the trophy. I just forgot that this Tiger just isn't that guy right now.