This past weekend, the sports world turned its attention back to the golf course as Tiger Woods found himself in familiar territory atop the leaderboard at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. This marked Woods’ 75th PGA Tour victory and seventh at the Farmers (his most at any single tournament) netting him a total of just over $8,000,000 in winnings from his seven wins. Woods has famously battled back from injuries and personal issues that took him away from the game and left doubts in the mind of golf fans as to whether he could be the dominant player he once was.
Apparently this win has made believers out of UK based betting site Ladbrokes who now have Woods at 6-1 to win the Masters this coming April. While this win is certainly a good indicator of what may come (5 of his 6 wins at Torrey Pines have followed with at least one major win in the same season), Woods still has a long way to go before he is ready to be the favorite at Augusta. Even though Woods held a six shot lead going into the final round, driving accuracy and general inconsistency plagued his game as has been common in recent years. Twice on Sunday Woods hit extremely erratic drives over the crowds on an already wide golf course. Without his ability to recover creatively and his near perfection around the Greens, this might have been a much different result. To win at Augusta or any major this season, he will have to succeed at much tougher and less forgiving golf courses and bring his A-game in every category. That being said, his putting and short game were reminiscent of a younger more fearless Tiger that we haven’t seen in quite some time.
Some will argue that after a victory like this so early in the year, a major victory is inevitable for Woods this season. 2012 proved Woods hadn’t forgotten how to win as he notched three victories in prestigious events (Bay Hill, Memorial, AT&T National) and showed glimmers and hints of the golfing genius he once was; to predict a major win soon would be hard to argue against. But, the younger
generation of players has proven to be up to the task, and with the likes of Phil Mickelson (one par away from setting the PGA Tour 36-hold record at this weekend’s Waste Management Phoenix Open) and Brandt Snedeker (two Top-5s in three starts this season and sitting T-3 this weekend after 36 holes) heating up, the competition will be fierce.
Ben Ludlow is a golf enthusiast, both playing and watching the game since he was a kid.