Players At The Masters Expect Tiger Woods To Play Well

April 5th, 2010-  By Bryan Cross

While many questions will surround Tiger Woods as he makes his return inside the ropes at Augusta National following a 144 day absence from the PGA Tour, his fellow tour pros think he will come out and compete well.

The media frenzy comes full-circle this week with respect to Woods, and the players in the field answering questions about him.  Despite the long hiatus however, his opponents expect to see the old Tiger, but admit that coming back and making the first tournament the Masters is a difficult task.

“Me? No chance. I have to work my way back into competition mode,” remarked Heath Slocum when asked if he would be able to make his debut at the Masters and expect to win.

“I think if anyone can do it, Tiger proved after his knee surgery that he can jump right back into the fire pretty easily.”

Those sentiments echoed throughout the field, as many admitted the challenge that makes it difficult to win a major even when playing once a week.

“Do I think Tiger Woods can be a competitive factor at the Masters? I can’t believe you’re even asking that question,” Stewart Cink said, who played in the opening two rounds of the Masters last year. “We’re talking about Tiger Woods, the best player that’s ever played golf. I’ve seen the players who are usually in that conversation. I’ve never seen anybody that plays golf like Tiger Woods does. So the answer to that question is yes, I believe he can be a factor.”

This is not Woods’ longest time away from golf, as he spent eight months rehabbing his knee following surgery shortly after winning the U.S Open in 2008 at Torrey Pines.  He had the procedure in June of 08′, and returned to competition in February 2009.

“There are advantages, I think,” remarked Colin Montgomerie,”You haven’t really paid much attention to people’s form, to where they are, what they are doing. You just play your own game, and suddenly, you know, bingo, you’re 1-up playing the last. I think you might find that there could be the odd disadvantage to him coming back, but I think that at this stage, there are more advantages than disadvantages.”

“He’s physically fit. He knows how to swing a golf club. He knows how to win. He just hasn’t done it for a while. He’s the best player that’s ever played and he will adapt accordingly.”

Woods will feel comfortable at Augusta, as he has won four green jackets, most recently in 2005.  He has been in contention over the last couple of years, but could not capitalize on opportunities on the weekend.

Augusta National Golf course is widely perceived as one of the most difficult courses to navigate through with respect to the short game.  The touch and feel shots that are necessary for success in the Masters are what sets apart the winners.

Questions remain about the sharpness and feel that Woods has around the greens, which critics say that it will be impossible to be at his best.  However, they are quick to point out that Woods is perhaps the only player in the field who does not need to be at his best to win the Masters.

“No, no. I think I can’t fathom taking five months off and going to Augusta, unless you have to, unless circumstances make it that you have no choice, then I suppose that’s what you do,” Arnold Palmer said last week while hosting the Arnold Palmer Invitational. “But I think that the sharpness of your game and your approach to playing at a major championship, whether it be the Masters or the Open or any championship, is how sharp you are.

“You can’t get very sharp not playing. Even just practicing won’t do it. To be sharp, you have to compete. You have to be in the mood to compete. Now, you can say a couple of weeks, that would be one thing. But five months? No.”

Despite the long absence from golf, USA Online Sportsbooks have installed Woods at the betting favorite to win the 2010 Masters, going off at 4/1.

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One Response to “Players At The Masters Expect Tiger Woods To Play Well”
  1. JVMFan Says:

    Tigers mistress–the p@@@ star–Joselyn James is going to be watching his press conference live according the the CNN HLN Show “Issues.” They are going to monitor his words and her reaction. That girl is getting more and more bizarre so it should be interesting. Jane Velez-Mitchell (the host of “Issues”) didn’t hold back on her last time she was on the show–saying “What do you want? What do you WANT?!”

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