Tiger Woods: Predictions for the Next Tournament He'll Win

Pat Mixon@patmixonSenior Analyst INovember 29, 2010

Tiger Woods: Predictions for the Next Tournament He’ll Win

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    Tiger Woods enters the upcoming 2011 PGA Golf year a man surrounded by questions. Can he regain his golf game? How much will his personal life drama affect his golf performance? Will Tiger ever be great again? And, lastly, where does the chase of Jack Nicklaus and golf immortality lie?

    Well, everyone is missing the boat on all of the Tiger doubts. That's because whether Tiger does or doesn’t return to be the best golfer in the world spot has nothing, I repeat, nothing, to do with his personal life.

    Tiger Woods’ work ethic is unparalleled in golf and, outside of Kobe Bryant, Ray Lewis, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady, the greatest in all of sport. Hear this loud and clear. Tiger will be unaffected by the hurricane surrounding his personal life.

    What happened off the course is irrelevant to on it. And look at the slew of other athletes who have returned after a personal storm. One is doing it right now this year. Michael Vick has come back to the top of the mountain with his play as the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback. 

    And, like Vick, Tiger will put his past behind him and focus on golf. It’s the only thing he does and knows.

    The fact is this: Tiger has’t played a full season of golf since 2007. That’s a full three years.

    Last year was shortened by the personal life issues, with Tiger taking four months before he played a tourney.

    2009 was another short year, as Tiger was recovering from knee surgery. He was just getting his golf game back and returning to full health when the November avalanche of sex scandal suffocated him.

    And 2008 was cut short after the magical win at the US Open due to the bad knee.

    So, 2011 will have Tiger back fully on tour, and he’ll still be ironing out (pun intended) his golf game to top form.

    The only real question remains: When and Where will Tiger when his first tournament in 2011? Or maybe, the question is IF?

    I expect Tiger to play a schedule similar to the one he played in 2007. And while he always keeps the exact appearances close to the cuff, this is my best guess at both the tourney’s he’ll play to start the year and how he will perform.

Dubai Desert Classic; Dubai, United Arab Emirates- February 10-13, 2011

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    DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - FEBRUARY 03:  Tiger Woods of the USA with the marshalls after winning the Dubai Desert Classic, on the Majilis Course at the Emirates Golf Club, on February 3, 2008 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by David Cannon/Gett
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Dubai Desert Classic; Dubai, United Arab Emirates- February 10-13, 2011

    Top 10 Finish.

    Expect Tiger to perform well and be in contention in this tournament that he has won multiple times. But I don’t think he’ll be on top of the leaderboard on the final day. Look for a top 10 finish. His putter will fail him, as will his driver be inconsistent, as he refines his game.

WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Dove Mountain, Arizona. Feb. 23-27, 2011

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    MARANA, AZ - FEBRUARY 26:  Tiger Woods of USA bounces his ball on his putter on the 13th hole during the second round of Accenture Match Play Championships at Ritz - Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain on February 26, 2009 in Marana, Arizona.  (Photo by St
    Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

    WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. At The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona. February 23-27, 2011.

    Top Five Finish.

    Tiger has always done well in match play, going back to his college days at Stanford. Expect him to be in contention and finish top five. Still, his putting game will be amiss, and that will cost him the championship. But his game will continue to improve.

Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bay Hill Club & Lodge; Orlando, Fla. March 21: 27

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    ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 29:  Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 29, 2009 in Orlando, Florida   (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Image
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bay Hill Club and Lodge; Orlando, Fla. March 21 - 27, 2011

    Win.

    This will be the place Tiger wins his first tournament. He loves Florida, and it always shows in his game. His swing might still be erratic off the tee, but his putter won’t fail him this week. He finds his game and the winning money.

    The last affect will be the warrior inside Tiger, who will take extra pleasure proving to the world he is back at none other than Arnold Palmer’s tournament.

WGC-CA Championship, Doral Golf Resort and Spa; Miami. March 7-13, 2011

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    DORAL, FL - MARCH 13:  Tiger Woods of the USA tees off at the 3rd hole during the second round of the World Golf Championships-CA Championship at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa on March 13, 2009 in Miami, Florida  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    WGC-CA Championship, Doral Golf Resort and Spa; Miami. March 7-13, 2011.

    Top Five Finish.

    Expect Tiger to perform well again this tournament. And let’s see if he’ll get on a Tiger roll, coming off the win at the Arnold Palmer. If so, this could be the second win and Tiger getting hot as he prepares for the Master’s in April.

    Either way, this is a top five finish, but I think he’ll miss out on the top spot. Put him down for a few shots back at the end.

The Masters Tournament. Augusta National Golf Club; Augusta, Ga. Apr. 7-10, 2011

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    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Tiger Woods (L) and K.J. Choi of South Korea walk to the 16th green during the final round of the 2010 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2010 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    The Masters Tournament. Augusta National Golf Club; Augusta, Ga. April 7-10, 2011

    Win. In Tiger fashion.

    Tiger will make a historic return to Augusta with his first slam win in 2011. Expect everything to go right for him and let go of all the doubt.

    Tiger regains his form and surprises the golf world on the biggest stage. The Masters is the perfect course for him to exert his dominance and will put all the struggles of the past few years to bed (pun intended.) This will be a coming out party (pun intended.)

Wells Fargo Championship. Quail Hollow Club, N.C. May 2-8, 2011

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - APRIL 30:  Tiger Woods finishes his round and failed to make the cut during the second round of the Quail Hollow Championship at Quail Hollow Country Club on April 30, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Imag
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Wells Fargo Championship. Quail Hollow Club; Charlotte, N.C. May 2-8, 2011.

    Top 10 Finish.

    Tiger will ride the success in Georgia at The Masters into North Carolina, but it won’t be enough. His swing will abandon him and cause him to place only in the top ten. This is a hangover affect from the high of Augusta.

THE PLAYERS Championship. TPC Sawgrass; Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. May 12-15

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    PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 8:  Tiger Woods and caddie Steve Williams walk from the 3rd green during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 8, 2010 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jamie Sq
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    THE PLAYERS Championship. TPC Sawgrass; Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. May 12-15.

    Win.

    Look for Tiger to return to top form and take this tournament. He might even win by more than five strokes.

    Something tells me he’ll be dominant this week. His swing, short game and putting all clicking. Tiger will be a like a NBA player, reaching midseason form by this point in the year.

    He’ll have enough tourneys under his belt, and the questions about his personal life will have subsided by this point. Look for Tiger to take this one easily.