What to Expect from Tiger Woods' 2013 Debut at Abu Dhabi

Daniel ZhuContributor IJanuary 15, 2013

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - NOVEMBER 30:  Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the second hole during the second round of the Tiger Woods World Challenge Presented by Northwestern Mutual at Sherwood Country Club on November 30, 2012 in Thousand Oaks, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

After a resurgence in 2012 with three PGA Tour victories, former World No. 1 Tiger Woods looks to kick off his 2013 season at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Woods, now the third-ranked player in the world, finished tied for third last year, and is looking to strike once again early in the season.

Woods has shown significant improvement since his winless slump that started back in 2010. He seems to have control of his revamped swing and has improved all aspects of his game. There is still a lack of consistency on the golf course at times, but Woods seems to be rounding back into form and displaying signs of the Tiger Woods of old.

Last year, Woods won all three of his events by going head-to-head with some of the top players in the world and producing flashes of brilliance—like his amazing flop shot on the 16th hole at the Memorial—that indicated Woods was making a comeback. He battled Graeme McDowell at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and went down the wire with Bo Van Pelt at the AT&T National.

Overall, 2012 was a good year for Woods. The main thing for Woods was that he remained healthy throughout the season and was able to play a full schedule. He did, however, show signs of struggle during the final rounds of the majors. It was shocking to watch the once invincible Tiger Woods struggle on the big stage and have trouble coming down the stretch of a major championship.

This week, Woods needs to put on a solid performance to set the tone for the next few months of the season. He was a little shaky in the postseason last year, but given his renewed confidence, Woods should be in contention come Sunday afternoon. The fact that the Abu Dhabi Golf Club has four par-fives and stretches over 7,500 yards also gives Woods an advantage with his length.

He does not need to win this week; a top-five finish would bode well for him. Woods needs to be focused on using this event to shake off some of the rust from the holidays before he makes his PGA Tour debut at the Farmers Insurance Open.

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will begin on Thursday, and Woods will most likely be paired with Rory McIlroy once again. All eyes will be set on Woods as he enters his 2013 season opener at Abu Dhabi.