If Tiger Woods plays his game at Augusta for the upcoming Masters, he will walk away with his fifth green jacket and his 15th major.
Of course, this is golf we are talking about, and there are never any guarantees that one will be on their game. For the most part, Woods has been in a groove this year, and if he can execute the following three keys, he will capture his first major since 2008.
Don't Get in Trouble off the Tee
Accuracy off the tee has never been Woods' strength, and he has been particularly erratic off the tee this year. Woods' driving accuracy sits at 55.8 percent, and at various times, it has cost him.
It doomed him at the Honda Classic and created an uncharacteristically shaky finish as he won the Cadillac Championship.
As he showed at the Cadillac—and numerous tournaments in the past—he can excel even when missing fairways. However, he cannot be so far in the azaleas that he is costing himself strokes.
A few unplayable lies or penalty strokes is enough to derail even the best.
Success on Par 5s
When Woods is rolling, he owns the par fives. While, as we just discussed, he is not the most accurate driver, he has always had great length off the tee, and he continues to boom it.
For his PGA year, he has an average driving distance of 295 yards. This is right in line with his career marks in this area.
Along with this distance, Woods is remarkable with his irons, and he has made a lot of money with his spectacular distance control. He is dialed in with that distance control now, and he appears ready to make waves on the par fives at Augusta.
He needs to.
He did not last year, and it was a big part of the reason he finished 40th.
At Augusta in 2012, Woods played the par fives at just one-under. This isn't even close to good enough. If Woods is going to win at Augusta this year, he needs to be closer, if not past, double-digits under par on the par fives.
Keep His Putting Stroke Working
While solid distance makes it easier to score at Augusta, it is all for naught if a player cannot handle the tricky greens.
Well, the way Woods is putting right now, he is going to have no problem handling them. Woods is putting better than ever, and he leads the tour with 1.476 strokes gained-putting. This is easily Woods' best mark in this category since it came into use in 2004.
Woods is drilling putts of all lengths, and as the New York Times' Karen Crouse points out, he has made 35 putts from eight feet or longer in just his last 144 holes.
If he continues to putt at that high of level, the rest of the field will be battling for second.
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