Tiger Woods was the favorite to win The Masters this past April. Likewise, he was the bookmakers' pick to take the 2013 U.S. Open last month. Woods, however, failed to win either one of them, extending his major-less streak to 16 events.
Yet despite those unmet expectations, Woods is again the favorite heading into next week’s Open Championship at Muirfield, where he looks to win his 15th major championship and first since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
To reverse recent history and renew his assault on Jack Nicklaus’ career record of 18 majors, Woods will have to avoid the pitfalls that befell him at Augusta National and Merion Golf Club earlier this year and maybe get a dose of good luck for the first time in a long time at a major.
It’s not just physical execution Woods will be trying to fix this week at Muirfield but also better mental preparation that will allow him to approach the season’s third major in a better state of mind. If he can do that, Tiger will be better prepared for the unknowns that an Open Championship will undoubtedly present.
At 37 years old and still four victories behind Nicklaus, the only thing that matters to Woods is winning majors. Ironically, then, that’s about the only thing the World No. 1 hasn't accomplished since that 2008 triumph in San Diego.
To change that next weekend in Scotland, here are a handful of pitfalls Woods will have to avoid at Muirfield in order to win his fourth career Open Championship.