Tiger Woods Must Be Considered a Favorite at Honda Classic Despite Slow Start

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 1, 2013

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - MARCH 01:  Tiger Woods lines up a putt on the ninth hole during the second round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa on March 1, 2013 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

While it's true that Tiger Woods has some serious ground to make up this weekend in the final rounds of the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., it's also fact that he made a miraculous final-round run at this tournament one year ago.

For anyone doubting Tiger in 2013, consider this: Woods is even through the first two rounds at this year's tournament, one stroke off his pace at last year's Honda Classic (1-under through two rounds). And despite entering the final round of last year's tournament just 2-under, Tiger shot an 8-under, 62 on the final day to give eventual champion Rory McIlroy all he could handle, ultimately finishing runner-up.

Now, with defending champion McIlroy out of the tournament, Tiger has to be the favorite. After all, he's only two rounds into a four-round tournament.

There's no reason to believe that Tiger can't get back into the mix just as quickly as he fell behind. Keep in mind, he's shot par so far.

So long as Woods remains within striking range of the leaders through Saturday's third round, he'll have a huge advantage when he steps onto the course for Sunday's final round. Not only will he be playing without pressure like he was a year ago when he made his late surge, but the lesser-known names at the top of the board are sure to be battling nerves in addition to the course.

Woods will have to make some adjustments to his game this weekend in order to make a late charge for the lead, but he's certainly capable. 

He's been solid on the front nine through the first two days (five birdies and two bogeys), but has struggled to keep his cool on the back nine (one birdie, two bogeys and one double bogey). If Tiger can keep the ball out of the water and keep his putter steady when it counts, there's no other clear favorite out there.


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