I’m not sure if you’ve heard yet, but Tiger Woods is back. Armed with his new equipment contract with Taylor Made Golf, his ball deal with Bridgestone, and the expectations of the entire golf world on his back, he’ll tee it up tomorrow at Torrey Pines.
Making his first PGA Tour tournament start since August 2015, Woods will be paired with World #1 Jason Day and World #3 Dustin Johnson in a powerhouse display of three of Taylor Made’s biggest athletes.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better pairing,” he said.
While the entire golf world will be watching, here are three reasons why Tiger will win this week:
- He is Tiger Woods. He’s shocked the world before, why not again? There was a time when we believed that Tiger could just flip the switch and make the shot – remember the putt he made on the 72nd hole of the 2008 U.S. Open? A putt he had to make to force a playoff? Drano.
There was the unheard of chip shot he hit on Sunday at the 2005 Masters on the 16th hole. Or the chip in at the 2001 World Cup of Golf to force a playoff. He has always had the ability to make the toughest shots in the toughest situations. There is no reason to believe that he won’t do it again.
- He Likes Birds. He led the limited field at the Hero World Challenge in December in birdies with 24. He has shot par or better on 50 of 54 rounds at Torrey Pines. In his career he has birdied almost 24% of the holes he has played and average over 4 per round.
- It’s Torrey Pines. Tiger has all but owned Torrey Pines – with 7 wins in this event, that 2008 U.S. Open, and 3 times at the World Junior Golf Championships. He knows every blade of grass on the course. That course knowledge will help him crush the nerves and get the job done.
Of course it’s easy to dream. While a victory this week wouldn’t be the biggest surprise, it is hard to believe that Tiger will be able to brush off the cobwebs, dust off his putter, and hoist a trophy week 1. Here’s why:
- He is Tiger Woods. Yes, he is a birdie machine, knows the course better than most, and has always delivered in the clutch. But, come on, man! He’s struggled to hit fairways – a critical need on the long, challenging South Course. The recent rains in Southern California have made the rough grow and kept the mowers in the shed. Combine that with his chipping struggles and there’s almost no way he can do it.
The only thing that isn’t in doubt is how much buzz there is coming from Torrey Pines this week. It’s going to be fun to watch!