Although the PGA season has been going for a couple of weeks, for most people it started with the Farmers Insurance Open because of Tiger Woods. He played his first tournament in the United States after missing the cut in Abu Dhabi while still collecting a reported $3 million appearance fee. That's not a bad few days of work if you can get it. I watched some of the tournament on the Golf Channel. As they showed Tiger I was amazed at how sparse the crowds were. Maybe the first two rounds were reserved for only super rich oil sheiks.
Two years ago when his personal life was falling apart I declared that Tiger Woods would never win another major tournament. I have since changed my mind. This past week at Torre Pines, Tiger was at the top of his game. His swing was smooth, his putting was pure, and his demeanor on the course was like the Tiger Woods of years ago when he was feared by most every golfer on tour. Tiger won three tournaments in 2012, but was 0-4 again in the majors. For a number of reasons I think this is the year he breaks his 0-18 streak and wins the Masters.
Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors has always been his motivation. However, Nike recently signed Rory McIlroy as the heir apparent to Tiger. You would have to be crazy to think that won't motivate Tiger. It's been more than two and a half years since he switched swing coaches and almost two years since firing caddy Steve Williams. I think he's becoming more comfortable with those changes. In his last six PGA events he finished no worse than a tie for 8th.
And most importantly, the scandal that had him preoccupied the past few years with divorce, losing endorsements and his picture in every tabloid is becoming a distant memory.
So when someone asks if you would take the field or Tiger to win the Masters in April, put your money on Tiger Woods.