TIGER IN 2013
Bamberger: December's a blur, and before we know it the new season will be upon us. There's a report that Tiger will play Torrey this year. Do you care? Maybe there's something wrong with me, but I love the idea of Tiger playing a U.S.-centric schedule, chasing Snead, chasing Nicklaus, taking no prisoners, giving guys the evil eye. I think we're due for a vintage Tiger season, and I mean five or six wins, a major or two, bad-ass stuff. It won't be because his swing is perfect or because he putts like he did in 2000. It'll be because he doesn't like all this Rory talk. What do you think?
Van Sickle: I think there's something to that, Michael. The challenge of Rory, the first real challenge Tiger's faced, may be just what Tiger needs to focus. But I don't think Tiger's really lacked focus. He lacks supreme confidence in his swing and his putting stroke. If he wins six times, I think it will be because he putts like he did in 2000, because that is what it will take. Any great player needs to be pushed. Rory can only help Tiger, but Tiger has to get it together. His weekend play at majors was disturbing.
Bamberger: Well, you're correct, of course: You can't win without putting great. But I'm trying to say that his putting in 2000 was at a level nobody may ever approach again. His bad major weekends in 2012 I attribute to the head more than the swing. The game was good enough on Thursday and Friday, right?
Van Sickle: True. You can fix a swing flaw with relative ease. Fixing a problem in the head is considerably more difficult.
Morfit: He should always play Torrey, given his record there. It will be good to see him back.
Godich: If Tiger would take my advice and play more, I could see a monster year. Alas, from the way he is talking, it sounds like he's planning on cutting back. I see three victories, none of them on the grand stage.
Van Sickle: I'd love to say Tiger should play more, we all would. But with the appearance money he can rack up overseas, it's hard to blame him for playing the minimum and going back to work rebuilding his cash empire with as many trips to Asia and the Middle East as he can muster.
Bamberger: With all due respect, he's at the point where he needs to play way less, not more. He needs a rested head and his old tapered approach. He's got to come in next year super hungry, super fresh and swinging well. That's how it used to be.
Godich: We can't agree on anything. He needs to play more and stop pounding so many balls. Enough with the robotic routine. Whatever happened to feel?
Bamberger: Arnold Palmer told me last month that Tiger's greatness was rooted in his robotic approach to practice.
Godich: I'm not saying he needs to scrap the practice, only that he needs to cut back on it.
Van Sickle: I really didn't like to see Tiger resorting to just hitting fades most of the time in late summer. He used to be Hogan-like in dialing up whatever shot was called for. It made me think that he didn't have the confidence in his latest swing to do that. I hope that was just a temporary thing.
Reiterman: I've been saying Tiger's got one more "Tiger" run in him, like you described below. As long as Woods is healthy, there's no reason he can't do it.
Shipnuck: Tough call. Three or four wins at places he always win seems likely. But his fragility at the majors hints at something darker. If Tiger wins another major he could take four more after that, but the first one is by far the hardest. On the biggest stages, I'm afraid he no longer has belief -- in his swing, in his putting, in himself.
Godich: Every time Tiger lets an opportunity pass -- and you could argue that he let four of them go in 2012 -- the pressure will only mount. Tiger is human. Nobody fears him anymore. He is a soon-to-be old 37. Nothing new here, but it is what it is.
Walker: Another way McIlroy helps Tiger is that he takes some of the media and fan focus off him. No question that Tiger will always be golf's No. 1 star, but I would imagine it's a relief to share the spotlight after so many years alone in it.
Ritter: He contended in three of the four majors this year but never broke par on the weekend. For the first time in his career, Tiger's problems appeared to be more mental than physical, and that makes me doubt he has another "bad ass" run in him. I can see another 2-3 wins this year, but I'm not picking him to win a major until I see something more on a Sunday.
Hanger: I think he has more majors and bad-ass years in him, but I think Rory is going to make it much harder on Tiger. He may provide some motivation, but Tiger also has to beat him.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: What do you expect from Woods in 2013?