The question on everyone's lips has been when will Tiger win his next US Masters? It's been a while since he last won at Augusta. In fact it was way back in 2005 nearly eight years ago.
I will use some recent statistics that will support the reasons why he will win and the same for why he won't.
Tiger has always since winning in 1997 has arrived at Augusta the perennial favorite.
He has won on four occassions 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005 and it seems every year he is in contention to win.
There are two main reasons why Tiger has arrived with the expectations of his golf fans, the media and most of his competitors believing he is the real deal in 2013.
Tiger's Domination of the Par Fives
Like he did in his prime when he was winning all fourteen of his majors he led the par 5 scoring category every year except for two years.
Now compare his par five scoring in 2010 and 2012 where he would not have ranked in the top 20. And most damaging is in 2012 at Augusta National he was only one under (His worst score on the par fives as a professional) and the result was his worst Masters finish as a professional tied 40th.
And his last win at Bay Hill he was a combined 12 under for the par 5's, easily the best and two strokes better than anyone else in the field.
If you add the aggregate total of his scoring on Par 5's in his three tournament wins this year it comes to a staggering 35 under par!
The par 5's account for 76% of Tiger's strokes under par for those three tournaments, compared to only 55.9% for the last eight stroke-play tournament winners on the PGA Tour.
Tiger's putting statistics are "through the roof" this season and in fact is the best it's been since he joined the tour in 1995.
He currently leads the stroke gained-putting on the PGA Tour with +1.48.
This translates to gaining 1.48 strokes on the field each round and 5.92 strokes over four rounds. The previous best coming into Masters week was +.0.84
Thats the difference between winning and running 30th!
When he won at Bay Hill a couple of weeks ago he gained 11.2 shots on the field on the putting green alone That is more than 2 full shots better than any tournament he has played in since strokes gained-putting was tracked by ShotLink in 2004.
In all the putting categories (below) including 3 putt avoidance Tiger finished in the top 5 ranking and in 2012 he was outside the top 30 in those categories.
The Weekend "Mojo" Has Gone Missing
In 2012 although Tiger won three times it was evident that he was having problems finishing off tournaments on the weekend.
The statistics don't lie. He was 8 under for round one and two in Majors and 15 over for round three and four.
In fact he did not break par in any round on the weekends of majors in 2012.
This trend did not start in 2012. From the US Open 2004 to the US Open in 2009 he made 18 cuts out of the 19 Majors he played in and he maintained or improved his position on all 18 occasions. That is impressive!
In 12 Majors since he made the cut in 10 of them and maintained or improved his position only once! The lone exception was the US Open at Bethpage Black where he was tied 25th going into the last round and finished T4th. Not so Impressive!
A player that I was coaching at that time Michael Sim played with him on that day and said it came down to Tiger's 2nd shot on the 15th that flew a meter too far that turned a possible birdie into a bogey and stop the charge.
Approach Wedges Set Up Scoring
There was one area of Tiger's game that improved immensely while he was being coached by Hank Haney was his wedge game. His distance control was phenomenal and that wedge he hit into the last at the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines to set up that putt to tie Rocco Mediate and win the playoff the next day was what it was all about.
The stats show although he has improved his approach wedges they are not where they need to be especially at Augusta National where precise wedges are critical to set up those elusive birdies and save the occasional par.
On that note it is interesting to know that in 1977 Jack Nicklaus had turned 37 in January and had won 14 Majors in 60 starts as a professional and Tiger has turned 37 last December and has also won 14 Majors in exactly 60 starts as a professional.
Is that a coincidence or is it an omen?
David Milne and Lawrie Montague - Pro Tour Golf College
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