Tiger Woods: What Can You Expect at 2012 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am?

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IFebruary 7, 2012

Tiger Woods has turned his back on the AT&T for the last 10 years.
Tiger Woods has turned his back on the AT&T for the last 10 years.Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Let's take you back in time for a moment to 2002—the last year that Tiger Woods played in the AT&T Pro-Am, which elders like myself still refer to as "The Crosby."

January and February at the Monterey Peninsula isn't the best of times for putting surfaces. After watching countless putts perform like a drunk at the wheel of a bumper car, Woods—as Woods can do—told buddy-at-the-time Mark O'Meara "I don't need this."

Woods didn't need it, and he's been missing from the event for 10 years. But, he will break that long-standing boycott this week.

Sure, you're all expecting el Tigre to win this week. After all, I can hear everyone proclaiming to the world "He can dominate at Pebble Beach! He won the 2000 U.S. Open by 15 shots!"

The only problem is that Pebble Beach in June is a far cry from Pebble Beach in February.

You may also want to keep in mind that this little four day hit-and-giggle with your amateur partner excursion is played twice at Pebble with rounds at Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula Country Club sandwiched in there.

Some have all the luck.

Which brings us back to Eldrick T. Woods and his 2012 PGA Tour debut on Thursday.

Can Woods win for the first time since the 2009 BMW? It's certainly a distinct possibility. After all, this field is not packed with players from the Top 10. No Luke Donald, no Lee Westwoood, no Rory McIlroy, no Martin Kaymer and so on and so forth.

When you see some "golf experts" throwing out names like Bryce Molder, Nick Watney, Hunter Mahan and Trevor Immelman, well, for goodness sakes, I'll see your Molders, Watneys and Mahans and raise you one Woods.

Consider that two weeks ago, Woods was in contention at Abu Dhabi on the final day until he started introducing his golf ball to the rough over the final 18 holes, hit just two fairways and six greens and watched the guy from England, Robert Rock, putt his golf ball the way Woods used to.

Consider also that Tony Romo is a perfect pro-am partner for Woods. When Romo's getting yardage, Woods can pilfer his way through Romo's little black book and surely come up with an entire new stable.

Most of all, as has become the case with Woods, there's the constant he now faces called "it depends."

It depends on him hitting fairways.

It depends on him putting somewhat the way he used to.

It depends on him trusting the swing changes he's made.

It depends on how everyone else plays.

It depends on him putting four, not three good rounds together.

And that's a lot of "it depends."

Even for Tiger Woods.