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PGA Tour Confidential: Is Tiger Woods heading for breakout in majors this season?

Tiger Woods, Torrey Pines
Robert Beck / SI
Tiger Woods is closing in on his eighth career title at Torrey Pines.

Every Sunday night, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

To sound off on all the topics in this week's edition, join our Readers' PGA Tour Confidential Monday at noon ET.

TIGER OWNS TORREY PINES, AGAIN
Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it "marine layers." Despite the fog-out Saturday, Tiger Woods appears headed toward his eighth career win at Torrey Pines. By now it's not exactly a dog-bites-man story. And Rory? Not there. Neither is Luke Donald, Justin Rose or Lee Westwood. Give me your prediction: Does this portend a breakout 2013 for Tiger, or is it more of what we saw in 2012?

Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: The only thing that will change perceptions is a major win by Tiger. Otherwise, this is 2012 all over again.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: It's more of 2012. Yet again, he is winning on a course where he has dominated. Tiger will be the first to tell you that his season is measured by how he fares in the majors. I want to see how he handles the pressure there when he gets in the hunt again.

Herre: In short, nothing matters until Augusta.

Morfit: I agree. There was a sense of inevitability to Tiger’s winning from the very start of the week. The guy has won five of his last six starts at Torrey. That is a totally insane statistic.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: This would be a nice win, but we saw Woods ring up three similar Ws in 2012. The breakout can only come at a major. I don’t think we’ll really know if this is a vintage Tiger Season until Sunday at Augusta. Can’t wait to find out.

Charlie Hanger, executive editor, Golf.com: Agree with those who point to the majors. A multi-win season would be more of the same. A major is what he desperately needs to take the next step.

David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: Tiger's performance has been impressive, but not flawless. He's won seven times at Torrey Pines, six PGA Tour events and one U.S. Open, so another impressive finish isn't really surprising. His wins in 2012 were also on courses where he's had a lot of success. If he wins the Match Play (his next event), then I’ll say we need to buckle up for something special in 2013.

Godich: Disagree on the Match Play. He could run into a buzz saw one day and be done, even on a day when he goes low.

Morfit: One thing I did see that I liked was his ability to clean up those eight-footers for pars to keep the round going. As Paul Azinger tweeted today, nobody but maybe Mark O'Meara putts those bumpy greens as well as Tiger.

Herre: Woods grew up on them.

Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: Tiger's 2013 will be better than his 2012 (which was pretty good). Despite his gaudy record at Torrey, he hasn't won here in five years. Even more important is that he looks healthy and confident.

Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Golf.com: What we saw in 2012 was a preview of things to come in 2013. Except this year, Woods will be more comfortable with his swing and it will hold up under major pressure. To think Tiger will keep collapsing in majors is crazy. He’s got 14 of them; he’ll win plenty more if he stays healthy.

Godich: I'd agree with that, except I wonder if he is no longer immune to the pressure. That said, he may have one of those weeks like he had at Augusta in '97 and at the Open at Pebble, where he lapped the field.

Stephanie Wei, Golf+ contributor: I think winning at Torrey Pines will definitely boost his confidence, but unless he wins a major, it's going to be 2012 all over again.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Are we heading for a vintage season from Woods?

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