Tiger Woods' Lackluster Play at Honda Classic Doesn't Diminish Masters Chances

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IMarch 3, 2013

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - MARCH 03:  Tiger Woods of USA plays his tee shot on the third hole during the final round of the Honda Classic on March 3, 2013 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

At first glance, Tiger Woods' week at the Honda Classic in Palm Beach, Fla. was a disaster. He fired three even-par 70s to start the tourney and then finished with a 74 on Sunday. 

This left Tiger at four-over for the tournament and tied for 37th—a full 13 strokes behind eventual winner Michael Thompson. 

However, on deeper inspection, there is very little cause for concern over Tiger's game from this performance.

Sure, the world's former No. 1 player is obviously not at his best, but he is not so far off as his scores from this tournament suggest. 

For starters, let's look at Tiger's final round at the Honda. A 74 puts him a whopping 12 strokes behind the 62 he fired in the final round at this very event a season ago. However, unlike last year, the Champion Course at PGA National was playing like it was ready for a U.S. Open. 

High and unpredictable winds were wreaking havoc for players on this hazard-laden course. Matt Jones posted the lowest score in the final round at two under, and he was one of just five golfers to break par on the day. 

These conditions were terrible for Tiger as he has been struggling with his driving accuracy. 

On Sunday, Tiger lost a ball for the second consecutive round, and he hit several others that found the water—including two on Sunday. This led to an unusual amount of double bogeys for Tiger, as Bleacher Report's Jack Rathborn points out: 

While this is a disturbing trend, it isn't one to get too worked up about. Away from the tee, Tiger was striking the ball well, and he wasn't that far off with his drives. His problems were compounded by this tight course. 

This will allow Tiger to go to work on his driving woes, and with a little over a month away from the Masters, he has plenty of time to get this facet of his game ironed out. 

Tiger won't enter the Masters as the huge favorite he used to be in his heyday, but don't let this performance fool you—Tiger will be able to get his game ready for the year's first major.