It's been a long time since Tiger Woods was truly feared on the PGA Tour, but should he win the Masters in 2013, the fear of Tiger will return.
Woods is back—of that there's no doubt.
Once the most intimidating figure in golf, he's entered five PGA Tour events this season, winning three.
No other golfer on tour has won more than a single tournament this year, and there isn't a hotter male golfer on the planet than Woods at this time.
But winning regular events doesn't cause other golfers to tremble in their cleats. Winning regular events doesn't cause playing partners to shrivel up and die on Sundays when the tournament is on the line.
That's the kind of fear Woods used to evoke, but in golf terms, it's been a lifetime since he inspired such reactions from his peers.
Hunter Mahan recently spoke about Woods' return to dominance, per the AP (via FoxNews.com):
Everyone is waiting for the first major. I don't know why they're waiting for that. I think he's done enough this year to realize that he's still really good and he's still better than everyone else...It seems hard to be intimidating in golf. But I think he's the closest thing to it.
If Woods were to bring home his fifth Green Jacket this year—eight long years since he last won at Augusta National—the rest of the golfers on the PGA tour would go home, crawl into their beds and cry for their mommies.
Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but you get the point.
Woods is primed and ready for this tournament, too.
In addition to his PGA-leading three victories this season, he is No. 1 in the 2013 FedExCup Standings, leading Brandt Snedeker by over 300 points—despite the fact that he's only entered five tournaments.
He's been phenomenal on the greens, leading the PGA Tour in putting. Woods is also back to his old tricks on Par 5s, scoring a birdie or better 64.29 percent of the time—also the best on tour.
If he can continue rolling the ball on the greens like he has thus far in 2013, the Green Jacket is within reach. Woods' ball striking must be pristine, though, because Augusta National doesn't take kindly to poorly struck balls.
GolfOdds.com has Woods as a 3/1 favorite to win this year's Masters, with Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson as 10/1 shots.
Everyone half-expects him to pull out of his majors drought, but until he actually does there will be questions about whether or not he's "back."
If Woods wants to put the fear or Tiger back into his peers, he must not fail to end this drought.
Note: All stats courtesy of PGATour.com.
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