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Victory has been elusive for Woods at Augusta since his unforgettable triumph in 2005 in a playoff with Chris DiMarco, which was highlighted by one of the greatest chip shots in golf history at the par-three 16th hole.
There is reason to believe that Woods will get the job done this time around, though, based on the phenomenal putting that has driven him to two consecutive victories on the PGA Tour.
Woods' dominance on the par-fives is beginning to resurface, and his tendency to hole round-saving putts has certainly returned. Having said that, Woods has had difficulty closing out tournaments, ranking 118th in final-round scoring average.
Considering the volatility that tends to occur atop the leaderboard on the back nine on Masters Sunday, that is a trend Woods will have to reverse if he wants to capture a fifth title.
Steve Stricker is considered a good friend to Woods, and the putting lesson he gave is what Woods has credited with his vast improvement on the greens. Stricker expressed to the New York Times' Karen Crouse that Woods seems generally in a better state of mind these days since the infidelity scandal has blown over:
I don’t really know too much about his personal life, but it just seems like he’s happier...whether that means his golf game or his personal life are in better order or all of the above. Yeah, it just seems like I think he’s got some confidence going in both areas, you know, and he’s playing well and putting well and feeling good about everything.
For whatever reason, Woods is having trouble ultimately getting it done at the Masters lately. Six consecutive finishes in the top-six didn't result in any more victories, and then he struggled to a tie for 40th in 2012.
Having said that, it would be surprising to see Woods not seriously threaten to win.