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Tiger Still Has Skeptics Files!

Following Tiger Woods's second win of 2013 and just a month before the Masters, it's hardly a surprise that many are back on the bandwagon.

Derek Lawrenson in the Daily Mail wasn't so impressed:

Reading some of the reports coming out of America on Monday they might just as well skip the tournament part of the Masters next month and head straight to the green-jacket ceremony.

But they ignored one vital fact. Tiger won’t win the Masters playing like he did at Doral. Or rather, he won’t win driving the ball like he did at Doral.

Add Ron Sirak to that list too.

The thing about bandwagons is that they are moving targets. Jumping on and off comes with its share of risk. Right now, the Tiger Woods bandwagon, light of load in recent years, is once again buckling under the weight of its cargo.

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Reader Comments (28)

The media, in general terms, is incredibly fickle . . as if they have no long term memory.
What do they mean by "bandwagon"? That he will win? No one can predict that with certainty.
What one can say is that Woods is playing well. He has contended at The Masters most years.
Barring any unforseen events such as injury, he should contend this year, with a good chance of winning.
What's to say some Cinderella Kid such as Carl Spackler or Charl Schwartzel (2011 final round - 2 hole outs, birdied holes 15-18) won't come out of nowhere?
03.13.2013 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane
The driver itself is one problem, but the main reason he won't win at Augusta is that you absolutely have to move the ball from right to left on half of the tee shots (2, 5, 9, 10, 13, 14 and 17) to get in position, and Woods simply doesn't have a reliable draw off the tee in his repertoire anymore, even with his 3- or 5-wood. That's 28 tee shots for the full tournament where he doesn't have a go-to shot, and that just won't do. I think four green jackets is as many as he'll get.

No, look towards Merion for a better shot at major #15 - 5-woods off the tee, dialed-in short irons and good putting will go a long way there. "Trap-cut" fairway woods off the tee will work just fine at Muirfield (assuming the weather is decent) and Oak Hill too.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
I was getting on the bandwagon, and then I read these comments. Oh well. Hawkeye, I think you are overstating somewhat. I certainly can see him having problems with the tee shot on 13 and 17. I've only been to the premises at Augusta twice, before the new length and trees were added. I think a straight shot works fine on 5, 9, 10 and 14. I think he has to have a 'special' week to get the win at Augusta, but I can't see anyone else with a better chance.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt H
Tiger knows the course better than anyone, knows the greens better than anyone, and seems to be putting better again. I have to say he is my fav by not by much. I think the driver will be key. He'll need to drive it better but he can do it. I do think Hawkeye has a point, in order to make it a bit easier he will have to move the ball right to left which is not something he will try to do imo. So approaches will be more challenging. If he can handle the pressure (which I think has gotten him recently surprisingly to me) he has a better chance than anyone else imo.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim
It's not that they are fickle; they're lazy. Half write the "he's back" columns and the other half write the "whoa, wait a minute" columns. Nothing like a pre packaged bit of speculation that fairly writes itself.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
"In order to make it a bit easier he will have to move the ball right to left which is not something he will try to do imo": That's the thing, can he have enough ego-check to NOT go for the optimal tee-ball? It's about the green light that Ben Crenshaw speaks of, the risky shots are so tempting at Augusta because they offer such a great reward when pulled off. Take the 17th, for example - I think that the play for him there these days is a high, cut 3-wood over Ike's tree, which would leave him with a semi-blind 8-iron second shot and a 4 at worst. But in 26 years of watching The Masters I've never seen anyone hit anything but a driver there. So does Woods have the mental power to back off?
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Will anyone in the media just once show the cojones to just let a story happen, rather than predict that he'll win 6 majors this year and then say they were first to say it?

i.e. Anyone for a little restraint?
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGolfFan
Hawkeye hit the nail on the head. Unless Tiger works on hitting a comfortable, reliable right to left shot between now and the Masters, he will not be in the mix.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
Tiger can hit a draw with a 3 wood, usually. Everyone has better and worse weeks driving the ball. It would obviously be hard to tiger to win the masters on a good driving week.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterElf
The days of taking Tiger over the field are over, but he is as good as any player in the world right now. It cracks me up to read comments like he won't be in the mix. He has finished worse than 6th at Augusta once in the last eight years. Regardless of ball flight, he is much more likely to be in the mix than not at Augusta.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterknottypine
Thanks Hawkeye for reminding Tiger that a draw is pretty much a necessity a ANGC. He probably forgot about that and has no plan to play the course.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
While it is golf, so Tiger Woods will probably NOT win the Masters, what amuses me are the prognosticators who state unequivocally, "Tiger Woods WON'T win playing like he did at Doral." Well 48 of the top 50 in the world were at Doral. If we assume that the winner is likely to come from that pool of players, which of the 47 other players are MORE LIKELY to win at Augusta playing the way THEY did at Doral? That is to say -- worse than the guy that won the tournament. And they wonder why print media is dying?
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGottta Ask Why

If TW ''moves the needle'', they are ptty much required to participate in the pre event speculation- I don't think they arw lazy- I think they have an ditor that says have 1200 words on TW at the Masters on my desk by 11 in the morning---and so they do.

As to my thoughts- I think TW is in a position to win IF he doesn't choke, and I would take the ''will'' on the will/won't over under.

He has shown buckling in both his wins this year- but- he did win. If that ball had rolled in the water on 18 last week,, a playoff would have tsted the ovr/under for Augusta- but as it stands- I see him spitting the bit. IMHO.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
@Brad: Eh? Where did I say that he doesn't know how to play Augusta? Of course he knows full well that he needs a draw to play Augusta well, I'm just pointing out that he doesn't seem to have that shot right now. If you think that I think I know better than the most dominant player in history, that's... I'm tempted to say "stupid", but I'll settle for disappointing.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
its about a month away! who knows how he'll be playing at that time! this prediction stuff just amazaes me....Golf Digest went 20 years before they got a major winner prediction right!

and remember Crenshaws last win: he was playing like crap til his caddy there gave him a tip

utter nonsense this topic is
03.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
Guess these guys didn't see the 285y bullets with 3w/5w that TW was flatting out there. The shots LOOK like they've been hit fat (I swear he'd hitting about 1/5th of an inch behind the ball) ... but they fly dead-straight. That would work at Augusta as long as he continues to have good control with the irons.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPepperdine
Hawkeye makes an excellent point and my take on it is a bit different. I think he WILL try to hit the 'proper' shots and that'll potentially be his undoing. If he tries to hit draws and doesn't have success, we'll see Tiger playing his swing and playing his way out of contention. Although, honestly, 'out of contention' for him could mean a bad Saturday and a 4th place finish.

Here's hoping he keeps his putting form and plays golf instead of playing his swing for 4 days.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDsl
Hawkeye, how can you say he doesn't seem to have that shot in the bag right now? Have you been watching his practice sessions?
You could be right, maybe he can't hit a draw to save his life right now. Even if he doesn't, a guy named Nicklaus did alright at Augusta and if I recall right, his go to was a nice little buttercut. So to say he absolutely has to move the ball from right to left on half the holes and that his green jacket days are over is, well, kind of stupid.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
@Brad: Nicklaus always started playing a draw a month before The Masters. And Woods in his prime used The TPC as batting practice for the high draw off the tee. He might have it in practice now, but he sure doesn't bring it to the course. I hope I'm wrong (Tiger fan, you know), but my crystal ball shows a lot of chop-outs from the right-hand trees on 11, 13 and 17 for him.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Pepperdine, fat shots usually fly pretty straight.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStord
None of the big hitters hit driver on 13 anymore. And Tiger had no problems that I saw hitting a draw with the three wood.

If he putts Augusta's greens anywhere close to the way he putted last week, he will be tough to beat.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSmolmania
Technology has turned Augusta into a left-handed bombers paradise, look for Bubba and Phil, again.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSnoozing Marshall
Forget drawing the ball off the tee, TW's big problem at Augusta the last 7 years has been his putter. One year on the back nine Sunday he missed two eagle putts inside 6 feet and barely lost the tournament. Those are the kind of putts he has to start making again at Augusta if he ever wants to win another green jacket.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDRM
knottypine Tiger took over the field in 2 of his last 3 stroke play events. Clearly those days are not over.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaddy
in his book, haney mentioned how much more difficult augusta is for tiger/right handers
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterUmp
Doesn't look like Ror's will need to worry about dealing with the pressures associated with being #1 for much longer -- lead now under 1 point. The lead was 4.6+ points in week 1.
03.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Hawkeye and others:

An argument can be made that a fade is just as effective at Augusta. 1) They stop faster 2) Easier to control and 3) They listen while hooks/draws don't!

Holes #1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 11, 15, 17, 18 can be played with a cut....and even #2, 10, 13 (w/ a FW wood) and 14 can be played with a straight-ish ballflight albeit with a longer 2nd shot. But with them new'll simply be a short iron anyways ;-)

Methinks to win a major, it is imperative that one can move the ball both ways with ease and Tiger is a throwback in a sense in that he actually tries to move the ball on every swing VS the robotic/cloned swings we see at expensive live-in academies all through the south...pretty to watch, but hardly effective in some situations. It's like taking a new Ferrari Off-roading, and I know I'd rather have my old Ford F150 in that situation. Tiger at least knows how to get it around and in from pretty much every corner of the course which would be totally demoralizing to a lesser golfer.

IMO the key to Augusta has always been being able to carry the ball the proper distances and control it upon landing irregardless of shot shape, that will make the chip/pitch/putt/recovery shot much easier when they "miss it in the right spot".

That and putting lights out for the week...and being great out of the sand, and being long/straight, patient, aggressive, passive, humble, and decisive when the situation calls for it. Tiger and Jack have done those attributes better than most...hence their records in the big ones.

Gonna be a great Masters....(put money on Ogilvy BTW! You heard it here)
03.14.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Were any of you people at Doral? Tiger hit plenty of draws.

And Jack Nicklaus seemed to get around the old fruit farm pretty well, did he not?
03.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterErik J. Barzeski

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