Tiger Woods is set to dominate at the 2013 Masters Tournament after showing the golfing universe he's officially back with a win at the Cadillac Championship. In fact, he's back better than ever, folks.
Brian Wacker of pgatour.com commented, "At the height of Tigermania between 1999 and 2009, Eldrick T. Woods won 35 percent of the time he put a peg in the ground. Now consider this: In his last 18 stroke-play starts on the PGA TOUR, he's won five of them, or 28 percent of the time. Let's just get it out of the way right now: Tiger is back."
Now having won five times since his life took an unexpected path in November 2009, Woods is on course to tee off in Augusta with more confidence and swagger than ever.
Look no further than his most recent win at Doral, particularly the field he won against. Finishing at 19-under, Woods held on Sunday against Steve Stricker (17-under), Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson and Graham McDowell (all 14-under). A little further back from Tiger, at 12-under, was Keegan Bradley, followed by a host of big names at 10-under: Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Peter Hanson and recent tour winner Michael Thompson. That's pretty good company.
Tiger simply rises to the occasion against top talent—actually, it's what drives the man.
With the Masters Tournament coming up April 11, Woods only has one more tournament on schedule before all attention to Augusta: The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. The tournament at Bay Hill, an event he's won seven times, takes place on March 21, two weeks prior to the Masters. Before and after the Arnold Palmer, Woods will likely find time to get in some practice time at Augusta.
Could Tiger enter the 2013 Masters hot off of two straight wins at the Cadillac and Bay Hill? It's entirely possibly; better yet, it's more likely than not. His early season success may be a prelude of what's to come the rest of the season.
Is Woods better than he was in 2000? No, but the idea of it suddenly seems far from ludicrous. The last three times he won at Torrey Pines and Doral to start the season, as he has this season, he went on to six- (’05), eight- (’06), and seven-win seasons (’07). He won nine times, including three majors, in 2000.
The only thing that's separated Woods from regaining his dominance the past couple of years has been inconsistent weekend play. While he did have a less-than-dominant Sunday back nine at Doral, there's ample reason to believe Tiger is ready to exorcise his Sunday demons once and for all.
After the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods will head straight to Augusta National. There, he'll look to capture his fifth green jacket. Despite his record performance at the Masters last year (T40), since 1997 Tiger has 10 top five finishes. Further, only three times has he finished outside of the top 15.
The fact is simple: Tiger's back with a vengeance, and he's set to dominate at Augusta.
You've been warned.