PGA Championship 2011 Predictions: Will Tiger Woods Fail at Highlands Course?

Thomas ConroyCorrespondent IAugust 10, 2011

JOHNS CREEK, GA - AUGUST 10:  Tiger Woods hits a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 93rd PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club on August 10, 2011 in Johns Creek, Georgia.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Sports have a unique way of creating prodigies, and then questioning their ability when they fail in the big moment. It seems “perfection” was here one day and gone the next. It leaves all of us scratching our heads and wondering what happened. Sometimes, we can never find the answer to why their skills suddenly erode.

The whispers are getting louder that Tiger Woods cannot shake off the rust from being sidelined for 12 weeks with an assortment (knee and Achilles) of injuries. The golf universe is united in believing that he will not win the PGA Championship this weekend to salvage his season, as Tiger is a shadow of his former self.

That’s why I’m going against conventional wisdom and picking him to prevail. This weekend, Tiger’s mindset must be to win the final major of the season and finally silence his critics. He must revert back to his old attitude that you play to win or why bother showing up.

As you watch Woods last weekend at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, he looked more comfortable on the course than any point in the last 21 months. Yes, his life and the public’s perception of him have changed drastically since Tiger crashed his SUV on that fateful Thanksgiving evening. The firing of Steve Williams closed the final chapter to Woods’ life of deceit and deception.

Now Tiger wants his public life to be strictly defined by his golf playing ability, as he tries to recapture the skills that set him apart from others on the course. The big question for Woods is whether he can still hit that crucial shot to put him back into contention for a tournament win.

For me, it has always been a mental block that has stalled Tiger from returning back to his dominance on the course. Now that he has liberated himself from his past, one victory could put Woods right back on track to surpass Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championship wins.

Like it or not, golf needs Tiger Woods. The sport’s hierarchy is very pleased to see him back on the course, especially during the week of a major championship.