Tiger Woods: Why British Open 2012 Is Best Chance to Win Major

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2012

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV - JULY 6: Tiger Woods watches his second shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the Greenbrier Classic at the Old White TPC on July 6, 2012 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

It's been more than four years since Tiger Woods last found the winner's circle at a major. The extended drought has a great chance to finally end at the Open Championship, where the polarizing superstar will enter as the rightful favorite.

You probably wouldn't know it due to all the talk about whether or not Woods is "back," but he's actually having the best season of anybody on the PGA Tour. He leads the money list, has the most FedEx Cup points and has the lowest scoring average.

Woods has won three times, including twice over his past four starts, and has avoided the miserable rounds that plagued him so frequently during his slump. It's clear that he's turned the corner, even without another major title.

The most important thing is how comfortable he looks on the golf course. During his swing change, his approach became far too mechanical and even the slightest mistake would turn into a big miss. He has a lot more fluidity now, giving him more margin for error.

That will be key at Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club. If a player can keep the ball in the fairway, it's a very manageable course as is evident by the average winning score of 11-under par in the last three British Open's held there.

However, if they are trying to play out of the rough all week, it's not going to end well. The fact Woods seems to have found a groove off the tee with his patented low stinger should bode well for his chance at the year's third major.

Also working in his favor are the struggles of his fellow stars.

Rory McIlroy has missed the cut in four of his last six events. Lee Westwood only has one round under 70 in his last eight with a combined score over 10-over par. Everybody knows about Luke Donald's poor play at major events.

In other words, the door is wide open for Woods. The key, as always, will be his approach shots. With his problems off the tee fading away and improved putting, he just needs to make sure he gives himself enough reasonable looks at birdie to win.

He still has plenty of time to chase down Jack Nicklaus for the most major victories of all time, but he can't afford to wait much longer to at least get restarted.

An Open Championship triumph would get him right back on track.