Punch shot: How many majors will Woods win in 2013?

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 11, 2013, 2:20 pm

Tiger Woods has two PGA Tour victories in four starts this season. But he hasn't won a major championship since 2008. Will his good form in 2013 end that drought and revive his quest to break Jack Nicklaus' major-victory record? GolfChannel.com writers weigh in with their predictions on how many majors Woods will win this season.



Tiger Woods looked concrete-solid, and frightening familiar, at Doral. Power fades off the tee. Dialed-in irons and wedges. An improved putting stroke. Such a commanding performance always leads to hyperbole, and for good reason.

Tiger is the favorite to win a major each time he tees it up. And he should win a major this season, if only because of the superb form we’ve seen in four PGA Tour starts. At Doral, he topped names like Stricker, Scott, Garcia, Mickelson, G-Mac, Bradley and McIlroy.

But there are four majors each year. There are 50 to 75 players who have a legitimate chance to win. As easy as he made it look in 2000-01, the math isn’t in Woods’ favor.

Think about it this way: If McIlroy won the Masters, Brandt Snedeker the U.S. Open, Lee Westwood the British, and Bradley the PGA, would anyone be surprised? Probably not.

No one in the world is playing as well as Woods right now. But that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to add to his major haul.


I had Tiger Woods winning one major before the year started and I'm not changing now.

When it comes to ranking players or predicting future success directly after a victory, I try not to suffer from SMS – an affliction which has nothing to do with text messages.

Instead, it stands for Short-term Memory Syndrome and too often we suffer from its effects. I've written this before, but it's already happened numerous times this year. When Dustin Johnson won at Kapalua, he was 'primed to win a major'; when Russell Henley won one week later, he was a 'Ryder Cup hopeful.'

All of which brings me to Woods. His wins at Torrey Pines and this past weekend at Doral were vintage TW. That means methodical with a side of boring. Sure, we all remember Woods winning tournaments punctuated by energetic fist pumps, but just as often he cruised into the winner's circle.

These wins should prove he's on top of his game, but at its very core professional golf is a cyclical game, with ups and downs and ebbs and flows on a weekly basis. To watch Tiger win twice already and instantly claim he's prepared to pile up majors is to forget recent history, when his ups came prior to the big ones and his downs came during them.

I'll keep Woods at my original season-opening prediction of one major. I may be wrong, but at least I won't have to be treated for a bad case of SMS. 



Tiger Woods is enjoying bursts of brilliance again.

The first 54 holes at Torrey Pines in his Farmers Insurance Open victory in January featured some of the best driving we’ve ever seen from him. His victory this past week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship was a showcase of classic Tiger putting with some terrific iron play. His short game was sharp in both victories.

These give us reasons to believe we could see another major championship masterpiece in the making, with the possibility Woods puts all those pieces together, in another dominant runaway at next month’s Masters. If he drives it like he did at Torrey Pines and putts like he did at Doral, he’ll blow away the field at Augusta National. The confidence that comes with that could easily lead to two or even three major championship titles this year.

The way Tiger closed out at Torrey Pines and Doral, however, leaves room for skeptics to still wonder how he’ll close a major. Woods gave back four shots over the final six holes at Torrey Pines. He gave back two shots over the final three holes at Doral. The combination of his weekend fades at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship last year feed anyone who still has doubt about Woods winning majors. If Tiger fades on yet another major weekend in this year’s Masters, he might not win one this year.

The bet here is it all comes together well enough at the Masters to give him his 15th major triumph and at the U.S. Open at Merion for his 16th.


Tiger Woods will win one major in 2013, a clinical rout similar to the textbook walkover he enjoyed last week at Doral when all of the cylinders cascade into place flawlessly and the field is reduced to playing the consolation match long before Sunday’s final turn.

Said triumph will occur at Oak Hill, site of this year’s PGA Championship and the type of ballpark that Woods dominated when he was winning majors at a regular clip.

It’s simple math.

Although Woods has a Grand Slam of green jackets, he hasn’t won the Masters since 2005 and if the club didn’t exactly “Tiger-proof” the venerable Georgia gem in the early 2000s they undoubtedly made it “Tiger tougher.”

Merion Golf Club may also be a less-than-perfect fit for Woods at this year’s U.S. Open. The classic layout will play to just under 7,000 yards with a focus on precision not power, which will expand the field of potential champions and effectively narrow Woods’ chances.

And Muirfield, site of this year’s British Open, is always a great unknown that demands a bit of luck as well as copious amounts of skill (Woods shot a third-round 81 at Muirfield at the 2002 Open in a horrific gale).

Which brings us to Oak Hill, where, it should be pointed out, Jack Nicklaus collected major No. 17 in 1980 and where Woods will land No. 15.



I’ll jump on the humongous bandwagon, and won’t think twice about it.

Woods said himself last week that he doesn’t want to be as good as he was in 2000; he wants to be better. I don’t believe it’s possible for him to be better than he was 13 years ago, but he’s closer to that now than he has been at any point over the past four years. That type of form is easily good enough to win two majors.

Another comment Woods made Sunday after winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship was that he last played this well at the Farmers Insurance Open. I know such thoughts are in his competitive DNA, but he played better at Doral. Much better. The 27 birdies and 100 total putts show Woods was in complete control of his game.

The Masters is the obvious choice for Woods to pick up one major this year, especially since his putting seems to be in top shape. Many are saying Merion’s layout will not suit Woods’ pursuit of another U.S. Open. I don’t necessarily agree. After all, he has won a major by hitting 4-iron off the tee. But let’s say he doesn’t win.

The British Open is the second major Woods will win. He finished six back when the Open was at Muirfield in 2002 – Ernie Els won in a four-way playoff. That week’s performance didn’t please Woods, but he’s returning to a place he admires and believes is a fair test.

Woods will collect his first claret jug since 2006 and the major tally will be 16 by year’s end.

Getty Images

After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

Getty Images

Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

“The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

“Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

Getty Images

Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

Laura Davies won the day.

It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.

In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

“I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

“It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

“It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

“People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

“Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

She also relished showing certain fans something.

“Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

“The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

“I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.

“I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.



Getty Images

Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”