Tiger Woods Has Earned the Right to Be Favorite at 2013 Masters

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMarch 11, 2013

DORAL, FL - MARCH 10:  Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the fifth hole during the final round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at the Trump Doral Golf Resort & Spa on March 10, 2013 in Doral, Florida.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Warren Little/Getty Images

Remember in 2010 and 2011, when grandiose prophecies of Tiger Woods' inevitable demise echoed across the globe?

Well, that was then, and this is now.

After capturing the WGC-Cadillac Championship for the first time since 2007 on Sunday, Woods is now favored to win the 2013 Masters (per Bovada).

Woods followed up a disastrous two years on the PGA Tour marred by infidelity and injuries with a comeback campaign in 2012. And he hasn't stopped rising since.

In four PGA Tour events this year, Woods has already claimed two victories (Farmers Insurance Open, Cadillac Championship).

He has been able to overcome struggles in driving accuracy and greens in regulation percentage with a putting game we haven't seen since 2009. He ranks seventh on tour in strokes gained putting (via PGATour.com).

But Tiger has also turned back the clock to 2009 in driving distance (18th on tour) and improved his sand save percentage (ranked 51st, his best mark since 2009). He also ranks first in scoring average, second in birdie average and seventh in holes per eagle.

In winning the Cadillac Championship on Sunday, Woods posted a remarkable 27 birdies. (His career high in any tournament is 28.) His driving accuracy, driving distance and putting were solid. He still needs to work on his greens in regulation (GIR), but if he keeps putting like this, it may not matter.

The 37-year-old has to feel good about his game right now. He hasn't been perfect (he finished 37th at the Honda Classic), but overall, he's shown glimpses of pre-2010 Tiger. Even in his comeback campaign last year, he finished with three wins. He already has two, and it's not even April yet.

Interestingly enough, Tiger withdrew from the 2012 Cadillac Championship with a left Achilles injury. After that, he went on a run, posting seven top-10 finishes (including two victories) to close out the year.

It's an exciting time to be a golf fan.


Because Tiger is striking fear into the hearts of his opponents again.