GolfDigest.com posts a terrific Q&A with golf pros, caddies and broadcasters who give their take (under the cloak of anonymity) on Tiger Woods’ chances to win at Augusta National next month. It’s long but worthy read given the insight the respondents offer without getting the evil eye from El Tigre.
WHY TIGER CAN WIN A FIFTH MASTERS (AND WHY HE CAN’T)
MAJOR CHAMPION: He still has a bit of an aura. If he gets into contention, the roars will be different. Everyone will know who it is. That will resonate with the others.
BROADCASTER: The younger lads are not frightened of him—or so the theory goes. But if he puts his name on the leader board on Sunday, we’ll see how unconcerned they are.
MULTIPLE WINNER ON TOUR: He played with Justin Thomas in the Bahamas, and the player of 2017 took a step back. That was interesting.
TEACHER: There will be at least a few of the top guys driving well at the Masters. A few of them will putt well, too. So for Tiger to beat all of them, they’re all going to have to have a lot of mishaps elsewhere on the course. It’s possible that they all have a bad week. Not likely, though.
“The younger guys have never had a dose of the old Tiger staring them down with that cold look. Tiger could play defense with that glare.”
BROADCASTER: He wants to win one so badly, he could get in his own way. Wanting so much to stick it up Brandel Chamblee’s bum, he can’t get past that.
BROADCASTER: A friend of mine works on people’s backs, and he said, “Fused spine? Forget it. If you haven’t got the range of motion you need, you can’t hit the ball that far.” But Tiger came out with 180-plus-mile-per-hour ball speed—that’s more than Justin Rose.
MAJOR CHAMPION: Ernie Els is the only player who has won a major before Tiger, during Tiger and after Tiger. The only one. Which tells you how Tiger beat up on that generation. There are more players now on Ernie’s and Phil’s level.
MULTIPLE WINNER ON TOUR: Tiger is more ruthless than any of the younger lads. I hope he comes back as the son of a bitch he was before all his problems, which would be a great contrast to the “man romance” we see in so many top players now.
TEACHER: I don’t have a lot of confidence in Tiger at Augusta. Here’s the sequence: His driving isn’t going to be accurate enough, so he isn’t going to get his approach shots close that often, so he’s going to be putting from distance too much, so he’s going to three-putt sooner or later.