Tiger Woods is not the favorite to win the Masters, despite ending his 30 months title drought on the PGA tour by winning the Arnold Palmer invitational at Bay Hill for the 7th time in his career. More than two years of injuries and simply playing bad don’t disappear into thin air, especially with other promising players more deserving of being called favorites.
Is Tiger out of his slump? Probably. I mean a title should mean that, right? With no clearly dominant player this year, with no one winning more than one tournament in 2012 so far, Woods has to be a good a bet as any to win the Masters for the first time since 2005 and end his Majors drought, not winning a big one since the 2008 US Open, his 14th Major Championship.
But it seems that Woods’ win has put everybody in some Tiger-Fever or frenzy once again. The talk of him bound, once again, on breaking Jack Nicklaus’ Majors record (18) is everywhere. Like Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Phil Mickelson don’t exist. All three of them have won titles this season already.
And we haven’t talked about Lee Westwood and Steve Stricker. Stricker was nowhere to be seen last time out, but as much as Golf officials love highlighting everything Tiger – it’s simply good economics, it would be misleading to have people think Tiger Woods is back, and a new era of his dominance is upon us. The field is deep with talent, without any clear favorites. Tiger just stands out because of everything he’s achieved over the years and simply being the biggest name in American sports when the mood is right.
In 2011, no one won more then two tournaments. Luke Donald was on top of the money list because he was consistent with Top 10 finishes. For Tiger Woods, and what everyone expects him to be, ‘just’ a top 10 finish isn’t good enough. Second place usually isn’t good enough. It’s a different Golf world, and it doesn’t have Woods’ dominance, despite his improved long game and new swing, written all over it.