Tiger Woods is undoubtedly one of the most successful golfers of all time.
With 14 Major Championships under his belt, including 4 Masters wins at Augusta, as well as a stunning win at Bay Hill last week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, many tipped Tiger to win his fifth Green Jacket, and move to just one behind Jack Nicklaus in the list of all-time Masters Champions.
But yesterday’s second round of the 2012 Masters tells a very different story. Every part of Tiger’s game was off colour, from the driver right through to the usually hot putter. From the tee he missed fairways and greens, but it was putting where the dip in form, and confidence, was most notable.
Take the 4th hole for example. Woods is left with a 5 footer with a bit of right to left for par. Simple stuff.
The putt that followed was described by Sky Sports commentator Butch Harmon as one of the worst putts Tiger Woods has ever hit. From 5 feet, Woods left the ball a foot short and low of the hole. Painful to watch as a viewer, embarrassing if you’re Tiger Woods.
But after 36 holes he has still made the cut, and with a score of +3, is Tiger Woods out of contention?
Absolutely not. He may be 8 shots off the lead, but last year he made up 7 shots in the final round alone. If anyone can produce magic at The Masters and win from absolutely nowhere, it is Tiger Woods. And with the course playing quite slow this year, 2 rounds in the mid to late 60’s could be enough to see Tiger climb the leaderboard and be right in the mix come Sunday evening.
But what about the rest of the field?
With the course playing as it is, anyone level par or better is very much still in the hunt for the Green Jacket.
Anyone within 5 shots has a chance, but it is Rory McIlroy who will feel like he has the most to prove. His meltdown in the final round last year will not have been forgotten, and having made it to -4 after 2 rounds, he is in an ideal situation to make a charge for the lead at Augusta.
Or how about Sergio Garcia? For so many years the Spaniard has been tipped for a major, and now that the pressure is off a little, maybe 2012 will be his year?
But the fairytale will of course be Fred Couples. At 5 under par and joint clubhouse leader after 2 rounds, Couples is in a very strong position. And at 52 years of age, and 20 years since his last Masters win in 1992, a win for Couples would be a very popular choice among the Augusta patrons.
Whatever the final result, The Masters is proving once again why it is held in such high esteem as a golf tournament all across the world.
After last year’s thrilling finale, the 2012 Masters is set up to go the same way, but come Sunday evening only one man will have tamed Augusta to win golf’s ultimate prize.
Only one question remains. Who?
Who do you think will win the Masters? What are your thoughts on Tiger Woods’ performance so far? Does he stand a chance? Let me know your thoughts and comments below.