Tiger Woods begins his chase of major No. 15 on Thursday at the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. He won the Tour Championship last fall for his first victory in five years, but he still hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open. He has 14/1 odds to win this week. Where does Woods finish and why?
Sean Zak, associate editor (@sean_zak): Hmmm. Woods keeps us very interested through a grindingly slow pace at a rainy ANGC. He cards under-par rounds each of the first three days, and is in the third-to-last group Sunday. Unfortunately, Rory McIlroy is just too far (five strokes) ahead of him for Woods’s final-round 70 to be anything special. T6 and fun.
Josh Sens, contributor (@JoshSens): I’m with Sean on this one. Today’s stretched out and tightened Augusta doesn’t suit Tiger as well as the old one did (there was something to that Tiger-proofing), but it’s still a second-shot course and Woods’s iron game — to say nothing of his unparalleled grinding skills — will carry him to a top 10. At 14-1, he’s also a better bet to win than he’s been in years. Not a good bet, mind you. But less ridiculously inflated than in the recent past.
Jessica Marksbury, multimedia editor (@Jess_Marksbury): I’d love to present a more compelling scenario, but I think Sean’s prognostication is right on point. Tiger will play well, that’s for sure. We can all feel it, right? But unless he’s putting lights-out, it won’t be enough. T6 feels right — in my head, anyway. My heart wishes for better!
Dylan Dethier, associate editor (@Dylan_Dethier): Heck, he’s contended the last two majors. He’s playing well. He’s trending up. Somebody’s gotta break the monotony of this optimistic hedge-fest. HE’S GONNA WIN, DAMMIT! And not in some fluky, come-from-behind fashion. He’s gonna surge out to a share of the 36-hole lead, build on that in the third round and cruise to victory as his competitors stumble behind him, just like they did at the Tour Championship. Sean Zak will still slight him, calling it another “limited-field” victory. Oh, and it’ll happen on Monday, with the sub-air system still humming.
Luke Kerr-Dineen, instruction editor (@LukeKerrDineen): Outside the top three, inside the top 10. Tiger’s stats and form coming into the event have been solid, admittedly, but it hasn’t exactly been earth-shattering. Of course he has a chance to win. He’s Tiger Woods. But I don’t think he will. He’ll play well enough to get into the mix and it’ll be lots of fun, but I don’t think he’ll ever seriously threaten the very top of the leaderboard.
Jeff Ritter, digital development editor (@Jeff_Ritter): If we all say the same thing, do we cancel the roundtable? I’d love to be an outlier, but I also think Tiger’s going to be a big factor this week, without fully getting over the hump and slipping into a jacket. I just like the way he’s playing and like his attitude this week. He’s ready. Put me down for T4.
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